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 »


  • Shay Shuster
    April 5, 2021 at 5:37 pm

    The first signs of spring for me in Big Bear, Ca are definitely the daily singing of birds! I love waking up to the sound of them. We get “false” or “rehearsal” springs here too, with usually a last snow in May!

  • Barbara Liszcz
    April 5, 2021 at 12:04 pm

    The first signs of spring are the sounds of birdsong in the morning, baby crocuses randomly popping up and the bright blues of Glory-of-the-Snow showing their lovely faces. Spring is the best! Thanks for this chance, Linda and Botanical Interests. 🙂 Happy Spring to all!

  • Carol McMillan
    April 5, 2021 at 10:33 am

    The first sign of spring here in Anderson, MO are the tiny wild crocus springing up in my lawn.

  • Jasmine
    April 5, 2021 at 10:20 am

    Here in Maine, some time in March you see that first day to hit the 50s… and everyone is driving home from work with the windows down!

  • Ben Talbert
    April 5, 2021 at 9:53 am

    I love Spring and having recently moved from Seattle which doesn’t have much of a spring I am enjoying the four seasons of Albuquerque. My first signs of spring are when our daffodils and lilac bloom. Even with a colder, darker spring, the tulip farms in the Seattle area are stunning, and the daffodils in bloom remind me of all that.
    By the way, I already purchase a lot of their seeds as my local nursery, Jericho Nursery, sell them

  • MaryJo Carroll
    April 5, 2021 at 8:05 am

    Red winged blackbirds.

  • Peggie Arvidson
    April 5, 2021 at 7:22 am

    Bluebirds – when they start hitting the feeders and checking out the bluebird house – we know – spring is on the way. Sure there’s a bit more cold, yet, once they’ve picked the nest, it’s a matter of time

  • Mary Howard
    April 5, 2021 at 7:19 am

    One of the first signs of spring where I live in Western Washington is when I hear the first croak of the “peeper” frogs that live in the wetlands behind our house. The chorus starts out quietly with just a few voices, but over then next couple months develops into quite a din :). Two other signs are the blooming of my hellebores and fragrant daphne.

  • Tanya Gephart
    April 5, 2021 at 7:14 am

    We have a few random tulips in our yard. When I see the leaves of those tulips start poking through I know spring is near.

  • Robin
    April 5, 2021 at 7:02 am

    The first sign of spring for me is the Lenten Roses budding up. Its early, but I know then that spring is on its way!

  • Heather Norseman
    April 5, 2021 at 6:54 am

    When the crocus and plums start blooming!

  • Kyle Sommers
    April 5, 2021 at 6:53 am

    I would say that for me, the first signs of spring are getting seed catalogs in the mail, and starting the seeds for the garden inside. In northwestern Illinois, spring may start anywhere from February to late May.

  • Marianne West
    April 5, 2021 at 6:47 am

    In central vermont after the snow finally melts it’s seeing the tulips and daffodils popping through the soil and of course the spring peepers.

  • David Kramer
    April 5, 2021 at 6:29 am

    When I was MUCH younger growing up on our small family farm in Michigan, the wild pussy willows popping open were the first signs of spring. I would cut several branches and bring them home for my mother (long gone now and I miss her) to put into a mason jar.

  • Jessica
    April 5, 2021 at 5:58 am

    Yellow forsynthia blooms!

  • Pam
    April 5, 2021 at 5:40 am

    my siberian iris!

  • Becky
    April 5, 2021 at 5:40 am

    The first sign of spring here is the sound of peep frogs. It’s like nature is beginning to come alive again!

  • Elisabeth
    April 5, 2021 at 5:34 am

    in northern Minnesota it’s the song birds coming back for me! Which happened a little over a week ago.

  • Kay
    April 5, 2021 at 4:40 am

    In SWFL two of the signs of spring are the arrival of Spring Breakers and the blooming of my outdoor orchids!

  • Lillian
    April 5, 2021 at 2:45 am

    The first sign of spring for me is the crocus peeking up through the snow….. my favorite with their purple blooms

  • Pam Clark
    April 5, 2021 at 12:08 am

    The first sign of spring is when my chickens start laying more eggs.

  • OS
    April 4, 2021 at 11:54 pm

    The first rain. The smell of spring for me.

  • Cristyane
    April 4, 2021 at 10:11 pm

    First signs of spring seeing all the different types of birds coming back.

  • Lorrie Gray
    April 4, 2021 at 9:55 pm

    The song of birds that wake me, now I know spring has sprung!

  • MP. :)
    April 4, 2021 at 9:41 pm

    First signs of spring for me: My daffodills start to bloom, the Quaking Aspen gets its first buds, the horses, pigs and sheep start shedding, the cottontail rabbits are everywhere with the bucks chasing the poor little does AND the pesky SAGE RATS are out in full force!!! Spring IS in the air!!!

  • Lisa Williford
    April 4, 2021 at 8:24 pm

    Well, here in New Orleans – it’s what we call the “Pollening” . . . when every horizontal (and some vertical) surface is COVERED in green pollen. The other (and more fun) first sign is the start of crawfish season and the easy availability of boiled crawfish everywhere! Yum!

  • Bonnie Mulligan
    April 4, 2021 at 8:14 pm

    The first sign of spring is an eruption of phlox around the roadways.

  • Ca
    April 4, 2021 at 8:00 pm

    I know sprig is coming when the almonds start to bloom. Lovely

  • Nancy Eding
    April 4, 2021 at 7:39 pm

    One of the first signs of Spring for me is seeing the Starflowers and Crocus blooming beneath my mailbox. And while they are some of the earliest things to bloom here in St. Louis, they do so well before Spring has officially sprung. So, when I see a fair amount of green grass and particularly, dandelions blooming, I know Spring has arrived! And also by this time the robins and cardinals are singing to each other and, of course, the bunnies are out and “busy”. And, for my dear departed mother, it was the blast of yellow from the Forsythia that ushered in Spring for her.

  • Dawn T.
    April 4, 2021 at 7:23 pm

    Flowers on the mango trees

  • Brandi Young
    April 4, 2021 at 7:08 pm

    It already feels like summer here in Phoenix, but my earliest signs of spring is when my desert willow tree and elm tree begins to fill in the bare branches with green leaves.

  • LynB
    April 4, 2021 at 7:02 pm

    Daffodils pushing through the ground but also here in the east the spring ‘peepers’.. love those things!

  • Lillian
    April 4, 2021 at 6:54 pm

    It’s when the tulips and daffodils start to come out.

  • Jessica
    April 4, 2021 at 6:46 pm

    I’m in central Texas and sometimes I have a difficult time telling 🙂 The red buds blooming, seedings, ducklings, and chicks showing up in stores and volunteers sprouting up in my garden!

  • Kathryn Broyles
    April 4, 2021 at 6:41 pm

    For me, its the green of the Hyacinth poking out from the ground, and then finally the blooms that come with the Daffodil.

  • Kelsey
    April 4, 2021 at 6:37 pm

    The first sign of spring for me is “popcorn” popping on the trees. I love seeing the trees wake up with blossoms after a long winter.

  • Margaret
    April 4, 2021 at 6:23 pm

    Snowdrops, Robins, and Gardeners World returned on

  • Josephine Howe
    April 4, 2021 at 6:03 pm

    Rhubarb starting to sprout and the Hellebores (Lenten Roses) blooming. Of course, now the daffodils are blooming in all their glory. It would be amazing to have flowers all winter long like in No. Cali.

  • Schasta Hibbs
    April 4, 2021 at 5:53 pm

    Flowering pear trees, redbuds, and daffodils.

  • Karen Lo
    April 4, 2021 at 5:46 pm

    My verrryy first sign of spring is when my chickens start laying after resting all winter!

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