This year March 20th marks the spring equinox and the first day of spring. Determining the exact date for the first day of spring depends largely on when the sun is positioned over the equator. For the northern half of the earth the date can be the 20th or the 21st.
No matter what the calendar day, spring is around the corner and it's time to begin gearing up for the gardening season. Now more than ever it's important to keep the environment in mind as we make plans for the future. As gardeners, we're all concerned about the changes in our climate, and many of us have noticed that some of our plants are blooming earlier than they used to.
Since 1955, scientists who have been tracking "spring" have noticed that native plants are leafing out and blooming an average of 6 days earlier than they were 50 years ago. Gardeners and other "citizen-scientists" have also been tracking spring's arrival; you can view the results at Project Budburst.
Although these early blooms may be occuring because of global warming, for gardeners it can seem like a benefit — it means a longer growing season. Yet as gardeners who care about the earth, we should all think about the environmental effects of our actions and ways we can minimize our carbon footprint and our contribution to global warming.