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 »


  • Belinda Arnold
    April 7, 2021 at 11:46 pm

    When I see the flower bulbs starting to pop out of of the ground and starting to bud!

  • Lealinda
    April 7, 2021 at 10:29 pm

    little wildflowers in the yard, and of course…. daffodils! 😀

  • Lethea
    April 7, 2021 at 6:34 pm

    The first sign of Spring is our gorgeous azaleas blooming!

  • Jenise
    April 7, 2021 at 4:11 pm

    Bluebonnets. Bluebonnets are the first sign of spring for me.

  • L
    April 7, 2021 at 12:02 pm

    The first sign of spring for me is when our nasturtiums start budding. I look forward to seeing the bring orange and yellow flowers of nasturtiums. They’re so vibrant and make you feel happy and hopeful just looking at them!

  • Cherie
    April 7, 2021 at 10:26 am

    I love all of the bird sounds and different species that come to visit me in Georgia. Everything greened up so quickly it’s lovely!

  • Brenda Haines
    April 7, 2021 at 9:41 am

    The sound of lawn mowers in use, the smell in the air and the warmth of the sun.

  • Gretal
    April 7, 2021 at 8:44 am

    I have tried for several days, both on my phone and from my computer, but the giveaway through Rafflecopter never loads. The mobile version link just takes me right back to to the blog post. From a computer, the giveaway says it’s loading, but never does. 🙁

    • Linda Ly
      April 7, 2021 at 5:22 pm

      Sorry, I’m not sure what could be the problem as the form loads for me. Perhaps try it in the latest version of Chrome browser? (As that’s what I’m using.)

  • Edith
    April 7, 2021 at 4:11 am

    The first sight of Spring for me is hearing a few more birds and seeing crocuses sprout

  • Emily
    April 6, 2021 at 11:23 pm

    The first sign of spring is the budding trees! I love seeing this since I know it means in a week or two there will be flower blossoms everywhere.

  • Gloria Wu
    April 6, 2021 at 10:31 pm

    Birds singing, crocus emerging and forsythia popping up like fireworks!

  • Danny
    April 6, 2021 at 6:52 pm

    New leaves on a tree!

  • Rebecca M Cook
    April 6, 2021 at 3:45 pm

    Forsythia blooms! And daffodils. All the flowers

  • Jan
    April 6, 2021 at 3:33 pm

    The first sign of spring for me is seeing the nodes turn green on my apple blossom tree and also the stray cats that come out of hiding

  • Mary
    April 6, 2021 at 3:23 pm

    Definitely rhubarb emerging from the ground!

  • Candice Morehouse
    April 6, 2021 at 3:05 pm

    The first sign of spring here in Tn is the daffodils popping up all along the old farmsteads on my road. Not long after they poke out we start looking for the redbuds abs forsythia to put on their show!

  • Araceli Mellem
    April 6, 2021 at 3:01 pm

    I’m in Southern California so as you know, we don’t get a real Winter. However, the first signs of Spring for me are always the nibbles on my lettuces after birds start coming around again.

  • Christine
    April 6, 2021 at 2:27 pm

    When we get our first California poppy blooms

  • Stephanie Vanlochem
    April 6, 2021 at 2:25 pm

    Bird singing, lighter later in the evening, and warmer days.

  • Betsy Patel
    April 6, 2021 at 1:57 pm

    For me it’s when I hear birds chirping at the crack of dawn (I’m an early riser)

  • Danielle
    April 6, 2021 at 1:46 pm

    Sagebrush and rabbitbrush turning green.

  • Sarah Harker
    April 6, 2021 at 12:50 pm

    The daffodils always start poking through in January here and it makes me THIRSTY for spring, then I have to wait a few months

  • Amy Sanchez
    April 6, 2021 at 12:47 pm

    The first sign of spring in my garden is the daffodils pushing up out of the ground. Seems to happen earlier and earlier each year. Usually around the end of December. And then they bloom in January.

  • Susan Cheng
    April 6, 2021 at 12:40 pm


  • Jennifer
    April 6, 2021 at 12:35 pm

    My yellow crocus is the first to bloom

  • Dandi D
    April 6, 2021 at 12:34 pm

    Daffodils are the first sign of spring around here!

  • Surbhi K.
    April 6, 2021 at 12:25 pm

    First sign of spring is when cucumber is sprouting from seed.

  • Shayna Hutzenlaub
    April 6, 2021 at 12:16 pm

    Here in Central FL my favorite first sign of spring is the Monarch butterflies returning! I truly love the fluttering of little moth skippers, and the buzzing of the bees on the clover! I love the peace of planting seeds into a new fresh spring canvas and watching and waiting for them to pop up. A lovely blue sky and my garden is all I need!

  • ATLGrow
    April 6, 2021 at 11:59 am

    When I see the ladybugs.

  • Carol Anderson
    April 6, 2021 at 9:07 am

    On our farm in Iowa the first hint of spring are the tips of the pussy willow branches bursting with silvery fuzzy decor all their very own!

  • Nicole reiman
    April 6, 2021 at 8:04 am

    Thank you for this opportunity! I love Botanical Interests, I’ve always had great success with their seeds, and I love love love the drawings! Besides crocuses emerging, a sure sign of spring is the family of blue jays returning to our maple tree.

  • Jessi Peine
    April 6, 2021 at 7:24 am

    First signs of spring for me are green on my perennial herbs, the lovage is sprouting, tiny buds of rhubarb and the garlic is shooting up! So many more, crocus and snow drops are popping up now too!

  • Zuzana
    April 6, 2021 at 6:55 am

    Snowdrops here in Central Europe

  • manda shank
    April 6, 2021 at 6:36 am

    The first sign of spring are the beautiful buds on the trees.

  • Lynn Morgan
    April 6, 2021 at 5:56 am

    It was seeing all the flowering trees.

  • Latasha Tasci
    April 6, 2021 at 5:17 am

    Daffodils appear!

  • Jacqueline Williams
    April 5, 2021 at 9:52 pm

    The days getting longer makes me so happy. This year, the first sign was butterflies. The form wouldn’t work for me either.

  • Brooke
    April 5, 2021 at 7:44 pm

    Spring is here when my loquat tree nearly ready to start harvesting, and mountains laurels strong fragrance is strong and fire flies come out to play!

  • Mariah
    April 5, 2021 at 6:23 pm

    Honestly, it’s when I start to notice that the sun is staying out longer than when I get home from work! When I can go on a walk after dinner and still see my way without streetlights, it’s a good day.

  • Paula Garfield
    April 5, 2021 at 5:45 pm

    Here in Utah, my fist sign of spring is the crocuses blooming.

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