You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Wed, Mar 14, 2012 : 6 a.m.

The scent of spring - watch for small signs of seasonal change

By Jim and Janice Leach


Janice Leach | Contributor

When I stepped outside on Monday morning to fetch a tool off the back porch, I finally smelled spring.

We certainly have had some mild days in the last week, both sunny and warm, but Monday was the first time I smelled the scent that means spring to me. It’s some perfect mixture of temperature and humidity, combined with a little bit of plants waking up and soil stirring. Although the dryer sheet manufacturers might try to imitate “fresh spring scent”, their concoctions always fall short of the real thing.

The mild winter — made milder still by the generous walk-shoveling habits of our new young neighbors, for which we have been very grateful — has made me leery of this weather. Could it really be spring — or is it merely some sort of tease or set-up; when we've relaxed enough to put away our snow shovels and salt, will real winter bury us? I'm sure we are not completely done with wintery weather, but I think the signs point to the fact that spring is here to stay.

When we lived in the city of Toronto, I had a colleague who walked to work for exercise from his home each day to his office on College Street and back. Henk's hour-long walking habit took him past the valley and parks as well as the skyscrapers and streetcars.

One day after he arrived at work, he exclaimed excitedly about the appearance of the delicate "yellowish-green" of spring; the color appears only briefly, and then the seasons tumble into full spring, when the buds on the trees and shrubs quickly give way to green leaves. He singled out one of the benchmarks of spring that had previously slipped by without my noticing.

Now I watch for the flash of "yellowish green" so that I don't miss it. Like the scent of spring, it's another one of the signs that winter is giving way to spring and that gardening season is not far behind.

What are the signs of spring that warm your heart and give you hope?

Janice and Jim Leach tend a backyard plot in downtown Ann Arbor, where they try to grow as many vegetables and other plants as possible. For the last four years, they've published gardening tips, photos and stories at their 20 Minute Garden website.


Sarah Rigg

Thu, Mar 15, 2012 : 12:48 p.m.

When I was growing up, I would bring my mother a boquet of dandelions and that was a sure sign that spring was here. As an adult, we just noticed a robin in our back yard yesterday.