Seven Signs of Spring in Connecticut

Forget meteorological winter or astronomical winter. When does spring really come to Connecticut and how do we know?

We all have our favorites – not walking the dog with a flashlight in the morning, red-winged blackbirds calling, piles of snow are melted, snow drops in bloom…

As a New England transplant from the mid-Atlantic, the season that I miss most is spring. In Delaware, we have spring – with a beginning, middle and end – not a flash of warmth and then the heat of summer. So I’ve learned to adapt to a New England spring and prolong the season with my seven signs of spring:

  1. Mud, wallow in it. Aside from keeping a bucket and mop by the kitchen door, there’s no getting away from it, so you may as well enjoy it.
  2. Planting peas on St. Patrick’s Day. Not sure if it’s good luck, but anything to get my hands into the soil again works for me.
  3. Taking a chance on a late season cold snap. I still balk when I hear the old timers adage: Don’t plant anything else until the last full moon in May – though a longer growing season may be one of the few upsides to climate change. I admit that I enjoy playing a game of chance with the weather and plant a few things because I can’t keep my hands out of the mud (oh, I mean soil).
  4. Red maple trees – watching the red haze from the red maple flower buds in the forests get brighter and brighter as I drive along Connecticut’s highways.
  5. The woodcock’s spring courtship display – both song and dance; something Aldo Leopold called the “Sky Dance.” Who can resist a bird nicknamed the Timberdoodle?
  6. Skunk cabbage poking up through icy patches and snow. Did you know that this plant is actually exothermic? It gives off heat and is able to grow in the very early spring through still frozen patches. It may not be the prettiest, but it is definitely one of the harbingers of spring.
  7. The frogs – I regularly drive over the Frog Bridge in Willimantic and watch for the removal of their red, winter scarfs every spring. Oh yeah – and then there’s the real ones…


The days are longer, the air is crisp and the sun is warmer on your back. Enjoy!