The calendar says that spring is officially here, but it doesn’t really look like it yet. Today’s tip touches on a branch of science called phenology, meaning when climatic conditions correlate with plant and animal behaviors. Some say spring has arrived when you spy a robin. I say it doesn’t start until certain plants are “springing” back to life.

The first tree that truly symbolizes spring for me is the Amelanchier. Did you know that Amelanchier trees are sometimes called Serviceberries because in the olden days, winter snows would prevent travel on roads? Once the Serviceberries were in bloom, settlers knew the roads would be passable and preachers could finally travel to perform services like weddings and funerals.

When the flowers open on an Apple Serviceberry you’ll know that warmer days are here to stay and birds will be swooping in to eat the insects that are attracted to them.

Finally, Corneliancherry Dogwoods aren’t easily fooled by a few warm days. When the bright yellow clusters of flowers are peeking through the buds, I know spring is a sure thing.

It’s a fun activity to keep a garden journal documenting these changes in nature.

Learn more about why Timing is Everything.