Proof of Spring: The Sun is Back


Delicate, but hardy enough to poke through snow, snowdrops are a must in the very early spring.

Not that the sun really ever went away, short winter days are all the earth’s axis fault. But the days are noticeably longer. House plants start to come back to life, with sturdier leaves and stems. Sun streaming in through a south window actually feels hot. Green things—dormant for four months—are nudging back into life. Indoor geraniums have buds, small ones, but I’m not complaining.

mass of snowdrops in February

Small, but cheerful, snowdrops en masse under shrubs assure us that spring is coming..

Seeing snowdrops popping up in gardens is sublime. They are the rarest flora in our Ontario climate: flowers that bloom in February, for gosh sakes. If your garden lacks snowdrops, I urge you to write a note on your calendar to plant some in September. (Go now! Do it!) They are one of the best rewards for surviving a Canadian winter, and why we don’t all have a million of them in our gardens is a mystery. A further plus: They do multiply.

Another subtle, reassuring sign of spring, especially if snow is still on the ground is the yellowing-up of the willows. Just like Goldfinches, willow branches become noticeably more yellow, in late winter, way before buds start swelling.

Dandelions make great food for pollinators. Beehives depend on their early blooms.

Finally, one of the truest harbingers of spring: the lowly dandelion. Bees who are woken from their winter slumbers will soon be making, dare I say, a bee-line for these fragrant yellows in warm patches all over the city. Leave them in your lawn, please. Dandelions make a magnificent pollinator breakfast.

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