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 »


  • Joanne Fetting
    April 4, 2021 at 5:36 pm

    Hellebores! As soon as the snow starts melting away the beautiful buds are already coming up

  • Jennifer Voris
    April 4, 2021 at 5:25 pm

    We have a pond on our property. When the geese and ducks couples start shepherding their off-spring around that is a sure sign spring is here.

    Thanks for sponsoring the giveaway. It is a very good seed company. I have used their seeds before and they have good germination rates and a generous amount of seed.

  • Dan
    April 4, 2021 at 5:12 pm

    The first sign of spring is the birds coming back to rebuild their nests every year to lay their eggs. Stone fruit beginning their blooms.

  • Uzo
    April 4, 2021 at 4:45 pm

    This isnt the cutest answer but – I know Spring is here when i start sneezing like mad. Lol. When i take my daily walks and see the start of blooms in gardens, i know Spring is here

  • Olivia
    April 4, 2021 at 3:57 pm

    The hellebores peeping through the snow always says that spring is close and then those daffodils and the red pop of the peonies as they awaken from their deep sleep.

  • Jan
    April 4, 2021 at 3:49 pm

    So many things froze in our rare snowstorm in Houston Texas. The Amaryllis are poking their heads out and the weeds are in full glory!

  • Jan Knight
    April 4, 2021 at 3:47 pm

    So many things froze in our rare snowstorm in Houston Texas. The Amarella‘s are poking their heads out and the weeds are in full glory!

  • Jan Knight
    April 4, 2021 at 3:45 pm

    So many things froze in our rare snowstorm in Houston Texas. The Amarella‘s are poking their heads out in the weeds are in full glory!

  • WayAnne
    April 4, 2021 at 3:42 pm

    Seed catalogs and green hills to hike in!

  • Ann
    April 4, 2021 at 3:30 pm

    In Massachusetts where I used to live, crocuses. In North Carolina robins and dandelions.

  • Lisa Cummings
    April 4, 2021 at 3:27 pm

    Here in Southwestern Wisconsin, the signs of spring we look forward to the huge flocks of geese as well and a trickle of sandhill cranes migrating north that fly right over our house which is near the Mississippi flyway.

    It’s thrilling to hear!

    Your blog is amazing- I’m using your frost forecaster download. Thanks for that! Important to have that in our back pocket here in Wisconsin!

  • Debra Jenkins
    April 4, 2021 at 2:45 pm

    The Azalea bushes in bloom let me know spring has finally arrived.

  • Katie and John, A Couple Painters Ltd
    April 4, 2021 at 2:17 pm

    First sign of spring is the fresh deliveries at our local gardening stores! 🙂 And my Pusey willow tree begins to bloom!

  • Cabrini Rudnick
    April 4, 2021 at 2:07 pm

    Tete tete tulips and special sound of singing birds

  • Dena
    April 4, 2021 at 1:51 pm

    We just moved so I would have to say all of the beautiful wild flowers.

  • Kayla
    April 4, 2021 at 1:29 pm

    The green sprouts slowly lifting into daffodils and crocuses, the birds and their babies fluttering and cooing on my windowsill. Brooklyn wildlife coming alive again!

  • Mar Lopez
    April 4, 2021 at 1:13 pm

    I love the nasturtium and salvia blooms along with the birds singing!

  • jennifer
    April 4, 2021 at 12:49 pm

    We live in Alberta, Canada and spring is a fluid term here 🙂 What tells us “real” spring is here is when the crocus’ start to bloom. About the same time our streets start getting cleaned too; our roads are sanded all winter long so each spring there are machines that come along all the roads and sweep up the sand and pebbles (which are recycled for next year) and wash off the left over dust. At the same time I think that all the bunnies that live around our area know that spring is really here too…..we have crocus’ blooming in our yard for 3 days at the most before the bunnies come and eat them. A sure sign that spring is here!

    p.s. no crocus’ yet here, there is still a little bit of snow/ice in yards still. Happy Easter all!

  • Felicia Matthews-Springer
    April 4, 2021 at 12:39 pm

    The first sign if spring for me is when I see the leaves of the wild Spanish Bluebells appear in beautiful bunches. They grow tucked into corners, under bushes, and along edges. No one asked them to grow there, but they persist, year after year. I almost forget that I’m waiting for them through the winter. But once they appear and come into bloom, I’m always filled with joy and hopefulness.

  • Lindsay
    April 4, 2021 at 12:38 pm

    We planted bulbs last year, so this year the first sign of spring was the narcissus coming up <3

  • Megan Patten
    April 4, 2021 at 12:31 pm

    I love your website and I love your emails more! Also I love following you on Instagram. Your the best, thanks for the giveaway!

  • Celina
    April 4, 2021 at 12:25 pm

    When buds start showing up on trees! Almond, peach, plum, and pear blossoms!

  • Gwen
    April 4, 2021 at 12:09 pm

    In rural western NY, it’s definitely the robins. They arrive early to mid-March when the snow is still here. The crocus pop up at the end of March and early April when the days are longer and the sun starts to warm the soil. Both are wonderful signs of the promise of what lies ahead!

  • Lora Ashworth
    April 4, 2021 at 12:05 pm

    Dead nettles and Daffodils!

  • Thomas
    April 4, 2021 at 11:38 am

    The movement of the bird and their behavior!

  • Candace Godwin
    April 4, 2021 at 11:31 am

    The masses of robins returning and seeing the garlic beginning to poke through the it’s winter straw blanket!

  • Heather G
    April 4, 2021 at 11:20 am

    Crocuses and red-winged black birds here in southeast WI!

  • Srobi
    April 4, 2021 at 11:11 am

    When the birds return and sing outside my bedroom window!

  • cathleen c mckinney
    April 4, 2021 at 11:02 am

    The first sign of spring for me in Northern California is enjoying all the bulbs
    in my garden.

  • Cozy eats
    April 4, 2021 at 10:45 am

    I love when to see new growth on the fig tree!

  • Cyndi Perkins
    April 4, 2021 at 10:38 am

    Robins, Goldfinch getting their bright yellow plumage, green grass, trees budding

  • Lindsey Ferris
    April 4, 2021 at 10:23 am

    The first sign of spring for me is when the snow FINALLY melts and the birds are coming back around. Can’t wait until the temps warm up enough to get our garden started this year!

  • Torrie @ To Love and To Learn
    April 4, 2021 at 10:20 am

    Definitely the usual signs like the crocuses and narcissus greens poking up, but the first real spring fever hits for me when I start getting the seed catalogs and seeing the seed starting supplies at all the local stores!!

  • Eileen Kustin
    April 4, 2021 at 10:18 am

    The first sign of spring to me is when my fig trees have buds! Always fascinating to watch the progression of renewal in my yard.

  • Rachel Schmidt
    April 4, 2021 at 10:15 am

    It’s the daffodils in my yard! There are so many other signs of life too and they all bring me such joy!

  • Lois Nembhard
    April 4, 2021 at 10:13 am

    The first sign for me is sitting in my office and suddenly realizing that I’m hearing birds chirping happily outside the window. It’s always such a pleasant realization. The less pleasant sign is hearing my neighbor mowing his lawn and realizing it’s *that* time again.

  • Jamie
    April 4, 2021 at 10:06 am

    The first sign of spring in So Cal is when I see Great Egrets in our backyard. There’s such a great peacefulness at the sight of them.

  • Kari Sjobakken
    April 4, 2021 at 10:02 am

    When the hummingbirds came back to their feeder, every day and ALL day, let me know Spring has Sprung!

  • john
    April 4, 2021 at 9:59 am

    In Marin County, NorCal, something is blooming all year. A neighbors apple blooms progressively earlier each year. This year buds broke before Thanksgiving. Spring’s harbinger are the butterflies, but data over 45 years for Central Valley butterflies (23 species) reveal earlier emergence af adults. My metric of Spring or our definition of Spring may need to be modified if this warming trend continues.

  • Sheila Fox
    April 4, 2021 at 9:57 am

    The first sign of spring for me is when the daffodils start to emerge from the ground! Can’t wait to see their bright yellow flowers!

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