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 »


  • Amee Meghani
    April 4, 2021 at 9:56 am

    The first sign of Spring in Texas is right after the last freeze. We wear coats on one day and about 24 hrs later, you’ll see people wearing shorts! Our weather here fluctuates so much, but I would say when I hear the birds chirping and when I see twigs in their beaks, I know they are nesting!! (Also…non-nature example – when the sidewalk chalk makes an appearance on the neighborhood sidewalks…IT’S SPRING!)

  • Kirsten
    April 4, 2021 at 9:52 am

    The poor female birds get pregnancy brain and forget to get out of the road, land in front of my moving car, and start yelling a lot more, and that’s how I know spring is coming. The squirrels do this to a lesser degree as well.

  • Beth Williams
    April 4, 2021 at 9:43 am

    Witch hazel, snowdrops and robins!

  • Nicole Fraticelli
    April 4, 2021 at 9:37 am

    Daffodils, birds, and my mother handing me the shovel in the mornings to dig holes in her garden.
    Happy Spring!

  • Gerardine Vargas
    April 4, 2021 at 9:35 am

    Cactus blooms and young hummingbirds leaving the nest.

  • Cheryl
    April 4, 2021 at 9:31 am

    First sign of spring in western Washington is the beautiful daffodils followed by tulips in every color imaginable

  • Myvanwy Morgan
    April 4, 2021 at 9:16 am

    Fields full of yellow wild mustard flowers.

  • Michele Smith
    April 4, 2021 at 9:13 am

    The first sign of spring for me is when the eggs (from our chickens) start coming in droves- we go from nothing to two dozen a week- seemingly over night! That, and the spring flowers peeping out-sometimes right through the snow.

  • Rebecca Reinsmith
    April 4, 2021 at 9:13 am

    Seeing the daffodils and forsythia bushes bloom! Lots of cheery yellow!

  • Allyse
    April 4, 2021 at 9:13 am


  • Sharon
    April 4, 2021 at 9:02 am

    The first sign of spring for me are the buds on the trees starting to come out.:)

  • Linnia
    April 4, 2021 at 8:51 am

    I think the very 1st sign of spring for me is more eggs in the laying boxes. As y’all know, chickens slow down egg production during the winter. So the first thing I notice is my hens laying more eggs. Which makes me very happy! Then….the next thing is the wild daffodils.

  • Lisa
    April 4, 2021 at 8:48 am

    Birds in my backyard

  • Eddy Radar
    April 4, 2021 at 8:47 am

    It here in the Salish sea, the cacaphony of tree frogs croaking at night and in the early morning hours means spring is on the way! That is, if the Canadian geese didn’t eat all of them out of the ponds earlier this year!

  • Jessica Farmer
    April 4, 2021 at 8:44 am

    Overwintered brassicas start forming their delicious flower buds, which we eat as raab!

  • Saralee Leary
    April 4, 2021 at 8:40 am

    Tulips working really hard to push through compacted soil, crocuses, and daffodils!

  • jeannie-kay nerenburg
    April 4, 2021 at 8:38 am

    seeing the herd of deer early in the morning and noting the pregnant deers bellies starting to show.

  • Joy Elizabeth Goode
    April 4, 2021 at 8:31 am

    The very, very green, young tender grass in my lawn before it’s not ready to be mowed (I mow as little of my lawn as possible, leaving most of it in meadow for the seeds to feed the birds {and my chickens} & provide wild habitat….luckily I do not live in a neighborhood that has a HOA to pester me to mow more). I go around to these fresh patches of grass, pull off some of the tops and give them to my chickens as a special spring treat.

  • Lillianleigh Vaughan
    April 4, 2021 at 8:23 am

    Robins and Redbud trees

  • Jan Knight
    April 4, 2021 at 8:21 am

    Houston l had a freak winter storm and most things are dead. This year first sign of spring are the oak trees leaving out in the Amaryllis growing and blooming.

  • Brenda Thomas
    April 4, 2021 at 8:16 am

    My favorite season is spring because everything is coming alive again. I know it is spring when my plum tree buds out in these beautiful white blossoms!

  • Sharon
    April 4, 2021 at 8:04 am

    Seeing the blooming quince plants. First blooms. Knowing spring is here!! Yay

  • Ken Kahn
    April 4, 2021 at 8:02 am

    Here along the banks of the French Broad River just north of Asheville in western North Carolina, it is definitely the sound of the spring peepers. Oh they be small, they be awfully loud.

  • Jamie
    April 4, 2021 at 7:56 am

    My lilies popping up through the soil!

  • Kimberly Quinn
    April 4, 2021 at 7:56 am

    robins hands down not a flower in sight but a robin

  • Kim Lu
    April 4, 2021 at 7:56 am

    The first signs of spring for me are hearing the birds, daffodils and crocuses peeking through and all the neighborhood kids out.

  • Mindy Anderson
    April 4, 2021 at 7:52 am

    Near dawn and birds singing when I head to work (at 6 am!)

  • Jamaica
    April 4, 2021 at 7:50 am

    The narcissus blooming!!!

  • judy mckinley
    April 4, 2021 at 7:50 am

    I really enjoy reading all the other signs of spring too! Mine’s the ethereal song of the varied thrush 🙂

  • Shu-Hsien Lee
    April 4, 2021 at 7:45 am

    First sign of spring in my garden in WA is when my Japanese plum tree starts to bud. Thank you for the give away.

  • Lori Smith
    April 4, 2021 at 7:45 am

    Wow getting TO the comment area was a chore! My first sign of spring is mud. I am in the southern part of Ca central valley, zone 9b, and our “frost” consists of a bit of ice crystals on the car window if you are awake before 6. We had snow once, in 1999!

  • Karen Stavast
    April 4, 2021 at 7:44 am

    The first sign of spring – daffodils popping up! And the apricot tree starting to bud.

  • Debbie Tan
    April 4, 2021 at 7:43 am

    In N. California, the first sign of spring is my husband’s buddy (robin) chirping in the sunrise while we are still in bed. It is getting louder and longer after days. We always said “ Your buddy is back!” Happy Spring!

  • Karen Stavast
    April 4, 2021 at 7:42 am

    The first sign of spring – daffodils popping up!

  • Laura Sharp
    April 4, 2021 at 7:41 am

    I always keep an eye out for those first butterflies! Also when there is the smell of spring in the air!

  • Laurie Kerr
    April 4, 2021 at 7:39 am

    When I see the green buds sprouting on our trees. Next is when all the cherry blossom trees “pop.”

  • Irene Skrybailo
    April 4, 2021 at 7:36 am

    the skunk cabbage is peeking out and my bees begin bringing in their light yellow pollen
    that’s how I know spring has officially arrived!

  • Ligia
    April 4, 2021 at 7:34 am

    In Northern Utah, the first sign of spring is that I start seeing the native bees and the birds flying around!!..Thinking about a nice pollinator garden to keep bees happy and healthy!
    Thanks for the giveaway! great idea!

  • Kathy Blackburn
    April 4, 2021 at 7:32 am

    Hearing the birds sing in the morning, seeing the Crocus, Forsythias, and Eastern Redbuds!

  • Evelyn
    April 4, 2021 at 7:31 am

    When the Robins arrive in “herds ” 🙂

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