RSPB Scotland's Molly Martin shares ways to experience spring in your gardens, from balconies and in local green spaces using all your senses.
Spring for all the senses
The changing of the seasons, and particularly the coming of spring is, for a lot of people, a time-keeping device, a marker of the end of cold and dark months, and a reminder of new life all around us. It’s likely you’ve already noticed the days lengthening, and remarked upon how light it is when you’re having your dinner. But have you noticed any of the other signs of spring in your garden? Here are some ways to get all your senses involved.
In spring the colours come alive. From the vibrant green of new leaves, to purples, pinks, yellows and whites of flowers bursting open. In your garden you might have daffodils, tulips, and crocuses, and don’t forget to look out for the smaller things too - winter aconites and primroses are early to flower, and blackthorn is already blossoming.
With the warming of the weather comes the birds and the bees. Migrant birds such as blackcap come flocking over in the quest to find a mate. You might hear great tits calling to attract a female, tawny owls hooting to defend their territory, or even the cheeping of some early babies. Insects also start to wake up with warmer temperatures, so the buzzing of bees is added to the spring soundscape. Amphibians are also on the lookout to start a family, and the croaking of common frogs can be heard.
Wild garlic is coming up in woodlands and gardens, and is easily identifiable! Daffodils have a characteristic and divisive scent, and fruiting plants such as currant bushes give off sweet scents, and conifer needles can be crushed to emit a clean smell.
Horse chestnut buds are slightly sticky to the touch. Pussy willow is covered in fluffy buds during spring which are amazingly soft! Hard shells of ladybirds are smooth, and the jelly of frogspawn can be gently wobbled for a satisfying jiggle.
You should be really careful when foraging for snacks in your garden, but new hawthorn leaves are edible, wild garlic leaves can be used to make pesto, and fresh nettle leaves can be turned into soup. Wood sorrel is found throughout the year and has a crisp, apple-y taste. White dead-nettles don’t sting, and have flowers all year round which have a sweet taste when sucked.
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