Signs of spring in nature


By Charlene Thornhill - Along the Garden Path



Our Ohio weather has been something else – a frozen mix of snow, rain showers, partly cloudy and then the great sunshine.

Our winter seemed to last forever with the first magical snow but by the third, fourth or fifth snowfall, we were all absolutely done with the cold weather.

March 20 is the first day of spring and a welcomed day. The first thing many people think of when they hear the word spring is flowering bulbs. First the beautiful snowdrops, followed by crocus, daffodil and tulips.

The next sign of plant life is the trees that start to bud and flower. First we start to see the silver maples and red maples. Their flowers are small and subtle, so it can be hard to see them. If you have spring allergies, like so many in our family, they will alert you of this sign of spring.

With the opening buds comes airborne pollen. Since trees rely heavily on wind pollination to fertilizer their flowers, trees have to produce a lot of pollen to increase the probability of pollen finding it was to suitable flowers. And so, you get the less favorable sign of spring allergies.

Airborne tree pollen is a huge contributor of springtime allergies along with mold. When the nose starts to run and the eyes itch, it’s only a small price to pay for the long-awaited fresh air and sunshine.

Spring does welcome the return of the Monarch butterflies from their winter migration. It reminds us to plant common milkweed since this is the main source of food for monarch caterpillars.

The birds share our enthusiasm for spring and celebrate its arrival with song. You listen for the robins, sparrows and wrens to fill the air with chirping songs. To keep the birds in your backyard you might want to consider a big bird bath or some sort of metal dish to keep filled with water for the birds. As long as they are able to perch on it to drink, they are content. We have been feeding and enjoying the gold finch, robins, cardinals and 3 types of woodpeckers.

Some wonder, are skunks a sign of spring? Maybe in some places, but in others the fetid smell of crushed skunk is one of the first harbingers of spring. One of the first critters to leave its winter digs; skunks comprise a high percentage of road kills in many parts of the country.

And a sure sign of spring is the smell of fresh cut grass. Soon the grass will awaken from its winter slumber and people will be eager to use any excuse they can get to spend a few moments outside, even if that means mowing the lawn.

All of the signs of spring are here – take the time to enjoy all the wonderful sights and sounds spring brings.

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By Charlene Thornhill

Along the Garden Path

Charlene Thornhill is a volunteer citizen columnist, who serves The Daily Advocate readers weekly with her community column Along the Garden Path. She can be reached at chardonn@embarqmail.com. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.

Charlene Thornhill is a volunteer citizen columnist, who serves The Daily Advocate readers weekly with her community column Along the Garden Path. She can be reached at chardonn@embarqmail.com. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.