Discover the first signs of spring

Hellebores and snowdrops

Hellebores and snowdrops

As the garden begins to stir, there are plenty of sensory treats to lure you outdoors. Val Bourne describes her favourite sights, sounds and smells

There’s a wonderful moment at this time of year, when you can feel the actual warmth of the sun on your face for the very first time in months. You look around and find the garden’s beginning to burgeon into life. Before long it’s careering full tilt towards spring, having languished in the winter doldrums for months.
Bees are foraging and there’s a buzz of activity in the air. The birds have paired up and are busy nesting, exploring bird boxes or simply singing away on a branch. And you’re likely to see your first butterfly too, for hibernating peacocks and red admirals, slightly battered by winter, are on the move again.
Everywhere you look there are signs, from the plump buds on the apple tree to the daffodil poised to open its papery bud. A burst of warmth may prompt a crocus to open and show off its orange-red feather duster of pollen, or a winter aconite will unfurl and push aside those feathery protective leaves. Both will be visited by a bee desperate for sustenance.
Spring is stirring all around, on the ground and in the air. Your garden responds because this is the most exciting time of the year. The pleasure of anticipation is intense, because we’ve got it all to come – so now’s the time to spend peering and looking, willing it all to grow a little faster. 

READ MORE Subscribe to our digital edition