News & Events

What’s the First Sign of Spring For You? (+ A Giveaway!)

Harvest basket filled with lemons, sitting in a flower garden

What’s the first sign of spring for you?

For me, it’s when the birds start singing all day, every day.

Back in Southern California, my yard was alive with starlings nesting in the feijoa tree, feeding on feijoa flowers, and singing their sweet tune all season long.

In Central Oregon, I’m just getting to know our backyard birds and so far I’ve seen scrub jays, stellar jays, flickers, and downy woodpeckers at our feeders. (There are a few more, but I haven’t been able to name them yet.)

Downy woodpecker feeding on a suet
Northern flicker sitting on a branch

Each week they get louder, more active, and more abundant, and it’s like stepping outside into my own aviary.

When I start hearing the symphony in our aspen and willow trees, I know the ground is thawing, the grass is turning green again, the irrigation canal is about to open and fill our cistern—more signs of spring that indicate planting is not too far off.

(And maybe spring is already in full swing for you, but in our finicky climate, we still have frost and hail to contend with for the next few months. There’s a joke in Central Oregon that we’re only in false spring and have another cycle or two of winter coming.)

But the sun is shining and I’m ready to start planting, especially after visiting my mother-in-law’s garden in Northern California last week. It was such a happy sight to see all her nasturtiums and poppies in bloom and her lemon trees dripping with fruit.

Wooden basket with Botanical Interests logo, filled with lemons, in a flower garden
Disclosure: All products on this page are independently selected. If you buy from one of my links, I may earn a commission.

So, let’s celebrate the season with a giveaway that Botanical Interests and I are teaming up to bring to you this week!

If you’ve never heard of Botanical Interests, they’re a Colorado-based seed supplier with one of the best-designed seed packets on the planet. The illustrations are beautifully detailed but it’s what’s inside the packet that’s special (and I’m not talking about the seeds).

Peel back the flaps and you’ll find loads of information on treating common plant pests and diseases, cooking tips, and other helpful and inspiring resources printed inside each packet.

You also get the usual info on the back, like seed starting instructions, maturity dates, and a tiny drawing of what a seedling looks like (so handy if you forget to label them in the garden). I really haven’t found another seed packet like theirs.

Inside view of a Botanical Interests seed packet folded open

So, I’ve hand-picked a collection of 12 varieties of seeds that will suit every climate, including those with short growing seasons, to give away to THREE winners!

Botanical Interests seed packets spread out on a wooden surface

You could win this bundle of seeds:

  • Artisan Tiger Stripes Blend tomato
  • Armenian cucumber
  • Mouse Melon cucamelon
  • California Wonder sweet pepper
  • Cube of Butter summer squash
  • Minnesota Midget cantaloupe
  • Oregon Sugar Pod II snow pea
  • Rainbow carrot
  • Mantanghong watermelon radish
  • Edible Red Leaf amaranth
  • Five Color Silverbeet chard
  • Chef’s Choice mesclun lettuce

Plus, we’re throwing in a large harvest basket (large enough to fit a couple dozen lemons) and a set of 12 oversized wooden plant markers to kickstart your growing season.

Botanical Interests oversized wood plant markers and seed packet spread out on a wooden surface

To enter this giveaway:

  1. Follow @gardenbetty and @botanical_interests on Instagram.
  2. Enter your email in the Rafflecopter form below (if you’re viewing this post on mobile, click here to see the form).
  3. And leave a comment below this post to tell me: What’s the first sign of spring for you? I’d love to know!
Rafflecopter giveaway

While I appreciate all of my readers, this giveaway is open only to people with US addresses (since it ships directly from Botanical Interests).

The giveaway ends at 11:59 pm PT on Saturday, April 10, 2021. Three winners will be chosen at random and notified by email. If a winner does not respond within 48 hours, a new winner will be chosen. Winners will need to provide an address and email for shipping purposes. This giveaway is in no way sponsored, endorsed, or administered by Instagram. By entering, you release Instagram completely of any responsibility, liability and agree to adhere to the terms of use.

Good luck to all! And I can’t wait to see what your garden looks like this year.

About Author

I'm a plant lover, passionate road-tripper, and cookbook author whose expert advice and bestselling books have been featured in TIME, Outside, HGTV, and Food & Wine. The No-Waste Vegetable Cookbook is my latest book. Garden Betty is where I write about modern homesteading, farm-to-table cooking, and outdoor adventuring—all that encompass a life well-lived outdoors. After all, the secret to a good life is... Read more »


  • Stephanie Hargrave
    April 4, 2021 at 7:31 am

    For me Spring is coming with the arrival of the robins and cedar waxwings for the pyracantha berries!

  • teresa e whitebear
    April 4, 2021 at 7:28 am

    The early robins. I know spring is on the way!

  • Emilie Shepherd
    April 4, 2021 at 7:27 am

    The first sign of Spring in New Orleans is the blaze of pink, red and white Azalea’s all over the city.

  • Christina
    April 4, 2021 at 7:24 am

    The snowdrops, then the crocuses, then the tiny daffodils and day lilies and hostas begin to peek their green tips out of the ground.

  • Shannon W
    April 4, 2021 at 7:23 am

    The first sign of spring in the high desert is always the flowers on my desert gold peach tree. It is the first of my fruit trees to flower and it always means spring.

  • Marcel
    April 4, 2021 at 7:22 am

    The first sign of spring here in the deep South is when the daffodils start sprouting and we begin waking up to bird songs… The frogs start to come alive at night, and toads being to surprise us by popping up in odd places.

  • Margaret Bowden
    April 4, 2021 at 7:08 am

    Robins and daffodils

  • Sally Christiansen
    April 4, 2021 at 7:08 am

    The first sign of spring in Nebraska are when you see the robins in the yard and the Hellebore’s and Daffodils blooming.

  • Trish Griffin
    April 4, 2021 at 7:04 am

    Wet snow! I live in the Denver area, and March and April are the snowiest months. The snow is very heavy and wet, and waters all the dormant plants.

  • Deb Wertheim
    April 4, 2021 at 7:01 am

    First sounds of spring are the sunlight and the sounds of the birds . I love waking up and just listening to them.

  • Song Chavez
    April 4, 2021 at 7:00 am

    My persimmon tree leaves blossom and orange/lime
    tree flowers start blossoming too. They smell so darn good.

  • Mercedes
    April 4, 2021 at 6:54 am

    The first sign of spring for me is the longer, brighter days, and the clean fresh smell of the spring rain, not the dirty, dreary rains of winter. All the greens coming alive and the birds!

  • Julie I
    April 4, 2021 at 6:54 am

    Just a little North, near Seattle, springs arrival is heralded by the Douglas Squirrels voicing their complaints with increased enthusiasm. This leads to bickering that somehow become romantic pursuits. Flashes of their orange tummies outside my kitchen window, and more noisy fussing (along with the daffodils) have become my signs of spring.

  • Laurie Freehafer
    April 4, 2021 at 6:51 am

    Spring is here when it’s FINALLY 6-8 weeks from our last frost date.

  • Gretal
    April 4, 2021 at 6:45 am

    Spring is returning when the huge flocks of migratory birds stop in to rest on our pond here in eastern Washington before continuing on their journey to their breeding and nesting grounds farther north into Canada.

  • Alice Pratt
    April 4, 2021 at 6:38 am

    Actually, before the Crocuses are patches of Snowdrops.

    • Jim Wright
      April 4, 2021 at 6:56 am

      Robins, witchhazel blooms and snow drops!

      • Melissa
        April 4, 2021 at 11:40 am

        I agree. The Robin’s.

  • April
    April 4, 2021 at 6:37 am

    Flowering plum tree And redbud trees!

    • Analysa
      April 4, 2021 at 7:50 am

      Wild Flowers

  • Jennifer Whitesell
    April 4, 2021 at 6:34 am

    The link to the form opened the same blog page, no form. How do I get to the form?

    My first sign of spring is awakening to the songs of the birds all around our house.

    • Evelyn Bayna
      April 4, 2021 at 1:56 pm

      Me too. No form. Daffodills for sure.

      • Sara
        April 4, 2021 at 8:04 pm

        Same here, No link to form.

        • Linda Ly
          April 5, 2021 at 12:04 pm

          You can try that link again! (Or view the page on a computer.)

      • Lisa
        April 5, 2021 at 6:46 am

        Daffodils also!

      • Linda Ly
        April 5, 2021 at 12:04 pm

        You can try that link again! (Or view the page on a computer.)

    • Linda Ly
      April 5, 2021 at 12:03 pm

      You can try that link again! (Or view the page on a computer.)

  • Alice Pratt
    April 4, 2021 at 6:33 am

    Crocus blooming, the first little bees covered with pollen & buying lots of Pansies!

  • Dorie
    April 4, 2021 at 6:32 am

    The first sign of Sprin in N California is the song of the robins when I wake up in the morning.

  • Elizabeth
    April 4, 2021 at 6:31 am

    Winter aconite and snowdrops, quickly followed by reticulated irises.

  • Nicky
    April 4, 2021 at 6:30 am

    The first sign of spring for me is hearing the blue jays and seeing the daffodils starting to bloom.

  • Lois
    April 4, 2021 at 6:29 am

    The first sign of spring in Upstate New York for me is when the honey bees return to the hive with pollen, even though it doesn’t look like anything is flowering!

  • Heather Green
    April 4, 2021 at 6:29 am

    My favorite first signs of Spring include the majestic melody of my woodland birds and the reemergence of all our woodland creatures.

  • Ashley
    April 4, 2021 at 6:26 am

    Spring is my favorite! There’s all the little signs that spring is coming, but I think my favorite sign that spring is really, truly coming (and not just the false springs we get here in WY) is hearing the birds in the morning!

  • Susan
    April 4, 2021 at 6:23 am

    The first sign of spring is the swelling of the fruit tree buds–the promise of summer goodies!

  • Jan Hedrick
    April 4, 2021 at 6:23 am

    For me, the first sign of spring is the forsythia in bloom!

    • Chuck
      April 4, 2021 at 2:41 pm

      So true! Here in Connecticut that is also the sign that it is safe to plant the grass seed.

  • Nancy
    April 4, 2021 at 6:21 am

    I recently moved to Portland after living in California my entire life. Seasons have been a revelation. I think the first bloom of spring I noticed were the beautiful crocus and will definitely plant this fall.

  • Vv
    April 4, 2021 at 6:17 am

    The first sign of Spring in Florida is when the garden is ready to harvest.

  • Sara
    April 4, 2021 at 6:16 am

    The right green leaves of the neighbors persimmon orchard!

  • Maureen
    April 4, 2021 at 6:14 am

    Daffodils! Then before they could die back on their own 3 nights of hard frost……had to cover my dozen blueberry plants that were just starting to bud.

  • Amy Haroulakis
    April 4, 2021 at 5:17 am

    Daffodils finally popping through the ground in Ohio

  • Cary Bradley
    April 4, 2021 at 4:16 am

    Rhubarb pushing up through the fall leaves is Spring here in our neck of New England. Snowdrops first flower and now daffodils. Roman chamomile test patch for new house Roman Cham lawn looking green and happy is exciting! Last loads of loam being delivered to morrow and spread Tues so garden can begin to be planted in earnest finally. Did not know Botanical Interests offers a hod and other supplies at all! Just started ordering seeds from them in earnest in last year and adore their breadth of varieties of herbs, flowers too. Off to check their supplies offerings. Thanks, Linda!

  • Chantale Taurozzi
    April 4, 2021 at 3:44 am

    In coastal NJ it seems like we have 50° and rain for many months of the year, but the crocus popping up has always been a welcome sign of spring. Last fall I finally planted my own bulbs and put in a raised bed garden. It has been wonderful to grow cold weather veggies under a cover over the winter. Happy Spring!

  • Jodi Anderson
    April 4, 2021 at 3:19 am

    One of the first signs of Spring for me here in Washington state, is when the cherry blossoms start to bloom! I wish that they lasted a little longer, it makes me so happy to see those pink, fluffy, gorgeous trees!

  • Robin
    April 3, 2021 at 5:46 pm

    First sign of spring in Northern Wisconsin is maple sap running, cooing syrup and hearing the sandhill cranes.

  • Joy
    April 3, 2021 at 3:02 pm

    I love seeing the crepe myrtle trees blooming when spring has sprung. It makes my daily walks a bit happier when I see them.

  • Kaitlin Jenkins
    April 3, 2021 at 1:49 pm

    Here in Wisconsin, it’s definitely when we start waking up to the birds singing in the mornings. Another great sign for me is the day I can finally get my greenhouse door open again, after all the snow!

  • Kate Thaete
    April 3, 2021 at 8:56 am

    The first sign of spring for me is when the birds sing in the morning! I love when the bulbs come up but they often get confused by a warm week in winter so they’re not a good indicator!

    • Barbara Knight
      April 4, 2021 at 6:41 am

      The first sign of spring in So Cal would have to be the wildflowers. There’s a hill just down from our house that bursts with colors of yellow and orange daisy like flowers every year. Our granddaughter has always delighted in seeing this annual phenomenon. And of course, the birds are going crazy too! It’s when I can plant my cool weather seedlings that I’ve started in sunny windows, out in the raised beds, along with pea, radish and carrot seeds! I love Spring!

  • Jenny Young
    April 3, 2021 at 8:00 am

    The first sign of spring at my house is the peepers. We have a contest every year to see who will hear the little frogs in the evening first. This year I won! Their chorus is in the evening & usually we first hear them in February. We know spring is still a ways off when we hear them but the sound is so exciting because we know spring is almost here.

    Great giveaway!

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