Transitioning from one season to the next is always exciting for gardeners, but spring brings extra special feelings. If the forthcoming season snuck up on you, don’t worry—we’ve got you covered. Here, we share some ideas for welcoming spring—ranging from small moments of reflection to more time-intensive projects. No matter which you choose, we hope you enjoy the season.

When is the first day of spring?

The first day of spring for the northern hemisphere is on the spring equinox. The spring equinox is when the length of day and night are approximately equal in all parts of the world.

This year it falls on Tuesday, March 19th, 2024.

Take in Your Surroundings

  • Capture the first moments of spring in photographs. And as long as we’re on the topic, why stop at spring? We recommend doing this every season!
  • Go on a walk and view your surroundings with a fresh lens. What’s blooming? What held up over winter? Are there any surprises?
  • Set up a proper spot to lounge and get comfortable in your garden-whether it’s with a hammock, chaise lounge, or comfy chair-and make sure you use it often (not just on the first day of spring!).
  • Create a space for tranquility by incorporating aspects of Zen design into your existing space.

Prunus serrulata ‘Kiku-shidare-zakura’. Photo by: Avalon / Photoshot License / Alamy Stock Photo.

Get Your Hands Dirty

  • Plant a tree! Whether it’s for shade, privacy, or fruit, there are many options out there, so make sure to find the right tree for your space.
  • Start an herb garden so you have fresh herbs all year long. Here are some tried and true favorites that you’ll love having easy access to. (Hot tip: if you get an excess of herbs, drying them is a great way to make the most of your harvest!)
  • Start a vegetable garden and consider companion planting to help your plants help each other.

Go on a bug hunt with your kids or grandkids. Photo by: Justine Guidry.

Commemorate the Season

  • Honor the beginning of the spring by watching the sunrise on the first day of the new season—with a warm cup of coffee or tea and cozy clothes, of course!
  • Make a small bouquet using what’s growing on the first day of spring. If nothing’s blooming yet, consider forcing branches.
  • Plan a spring soiree. Don’t make it too complicated—the start of a new season is a great excuse for a potluck with family and friends!
  • Engage in an outdoor activity such as flying a kite, doing yoga in nature, going on a short hike, or any other endeavor that gets you outside.
  • Complete a garden-related craft or activity with your kids or grandkids to help inspire the next generation of gardeners.
  • Create a fairy garden, and approach it as an ongoing project. You can start it now then add something new at the beginning of each year or each season.

Left: Uplighting on this small tree creates drama and visual interest. Right: An illuminated Japanese stone lantern at the entrance is at once attractive and functional. Design: David P. Best and Barbara Hilty. Photo by: Janet Loughrey.

Add to Your Gardens’ Ambiance

  • Add a water feature to include the tranquil sound of moving water in your garden-whether with a miniature tabletop fountain or a full-on pond.
  • Take it a step beyond sound and make changes to engage all the senses in your garden.
  • Install outdoor lighting to highlight special plants, illuminate a pathway, and extend the time you can spend in the garden after dark.

Give Back to Nature

  • Add a birdhouse or bird feeder to your garden to attract feathered friends. Take it one step further by adding plants for a bird-friendly garden.
  • Entice butterflies by adding nectar plants and host plants for them to enjoy-it’s good for them, and good for your garden.
  • Start a compost bin so you can begin the process of creating your own nutrient-rich soil using kitchen scraps, yard clippings, and more.

Photo by: kryzhov / Shutterstock.

Prepare for the Remainder of the Year

  • Clean your tools (and plan to maintain them this year) so they’re ready for the hard work ahead. Get tips on pruning shrubs and perennials here!
  • Order plants for this year’s garden. If you’re having trouble knowing where to start, check out some Idea Boards created by garden influencers, plant enthusiasts, and Proven Winners staff members.

See 10 Essential Spring Gardening Tasks

Get Inspired

  • Visit a local public garden where you can get ideas and support an institution that serves to educate and inspire! If you can’t make it to one in person, see 10 lessons we’ve learned from famous gardens in the U.S.
  • Attend a local springtime event such as a festival or seasonal celebration. Start looking now to find events near you by searching online, checking event calendars, and asking local garden centers for their calendars.


"The first day of spring could be warm and sunny or cold and snowy. No matter the weather, I always make a habit of going for a long walk outside to celebrate spring. Along the way, I'll keep an eye out for signs of life like buds swelling on the trees or tulips poking through the soil. I also like to get my hands dirty by planting something. That might mean sowing some cool weather crops in my garden beds or creating an indoor dish garden to brighten up my living space. Finally, I like to spend some time reading. Some of my favorite garden books have chapters related to each season, so I'll crack open a book and read it with a nice cup of tea." See more of Bethany's Chicago rooftop flower garden.

Bethany Bey of @chicagogardener, Chicago, IL, Zone 6a

"I’m hoping to be in the gardens getting them prepped for the season—though there’s a 50/50 chance there will be snow on them. Spring clean-up is first, removing any winter debris. We edge the gardens, and apply an application of PlantTone fertilizer and then a topdressing of cow manure. Then on to filling pots with potting soil, spring shrub pruning, and—my favorite—planting up the containers with cool-loving plants to welcome spring! If there’s snow, I’ll be finishing up designs, sharpening tools, and making lists for spring preps and plantings."

Renee Clermont of @secondnaturedesignsmv, Martha's Vineyard, MA, Zone 7

"Although the official first day of spring is later in March, here in California in zone 9b, we start seeing signs of spring much earlier. By the time spring has “officially” sprung, I’m ready to celebrate the warmth by planting my warm-season annuals. I love petunias, sunflowers, and coleus and love getting them in the ground or in pots so I can start enjoying some color in my garden!"

Janey Santos of @digplantwaterrepeat, Central CA, Zone 9b

"The weather on the first day of spring is always uncertain but hopefully I’ll be harvesting lettuce, spinach, radishes and pak choi from my low tunnels in my raised beds! If it goes the way I’ve imagined it all winter, it will be the earliest I’ve ever had fresh veg! I’ll be tidying up and feeding the climbing roses and pruning the panicle hydrangeas too!"

Heather Blackmore of @heatherhereshegrows, Chicago, IL, Zone 5b

"As we ring in the first day of spring here in Wyoming, we often find ourselves still firmly in the grip of Old Man Winter, with two more months of impending snow. This year, however, has been pleasantly mild compared to years past. We are already enjoying the first bits of green, as bulbs are bursting forth with eager enthusiasm-green shoots of tulips, daffodils, irises, and garlic dot our landscape. If this weather continues, the soil may even be warm enough on the first day of spring, to sow my peas, which will germinate in soil temps as low as 40 degrees F! Should the weather take a turn for the worst, I will celebrate the promise of the season ahead by continuing my indoor seed sowing marathon. The first day of spring is, in fact, the perfect time to sow tomato seeds in my area!"

Morgan Amos of @coffee.and.chlorophyll, Central WY, Zone 5a

"I’m so antsy to plant! I plan to celebrate the first day of spring by refreshing my container gardens! Even though we still have the threat of frost until late April here in Richmond, VA (Zone 7A), there are plenty of cold-hardy plants that can be enjoyed right now. I’ll be on the lookout for Kimberly queen ferns (Nephrolepis obliterata), coral bells (Heuchera americana), pincushion flower (Scabiosa caucasica), creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia), bacopa (Sutera cordata), and violas. While I may cover them with frost cloth if the forecast hovers around 32 degrees, it will be worth the extra effort to enjoy some lush spring flowers and foliage after a long winter!"

Steph Green of @contained_creations, Richmond, VA, Zone 7a

"March for me is always the signal for spring! With bulbs coming up fast, it’s time to cut back the garden, as I leave it standing through winter for interest, food, and protection for wildlife. I pick a section of the garden each day and clip it back, leaving the debris in the garden to naturally feed the soil. Once the plants are up, you’ll never see it! It’s all about getting my hands dirty this time of year. And it’s so fun to see what’s made it through the long winter."

Brad Johnson of @garden.evolution, Northeast OH, Zone 6

"With warmer temperatures this year, I'm celebrating spring with lots of new tropical indoor plants for my home and seed starting for my cut flower garden this year. I've been growing a lot of the same houseplants for several years and have so many through propagation that I was inspired to try houseplants that are new to me or I didn't have the best luck with in the past. We learn by doing, and I'm up for the challenge this year! I'm also in the thick of starting seeds for my cut flower garden through winter sowing and indoors under grow lights. It's going to be a gorgeous growing season—I can't wait to start planting!"

Stacy Ling of Bricks 'n Blooms, Northern NJ, Zone 6a

"At Margaret Valley, we celebrate the first day of spring by getting our clients gardens cleaned up and ready for summer by pruning, fertilizing, and planting cheerful spring planters to enjoy in the new season ahead. Lastly, we make sure we stop and enjoy the beauty that is surrounding us! Every spring I'm reminded that with every new season, there are new beginnings, and that inspires us to try new things to make each year better than the last! Just like Margret Atwood says, “In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt!”"

Samantha Ulasy @margaretvalleylandscaping, Kelowna, BC, Canada, Zone 5b

"On the first day of spring, I will be camping on the Oregon coast with my family. While we are being sprayed with sea air, by sweet baby seedlings will be nestled snuggly under the warmth of the grow lights in my seed room. Thanks goodness for automated plugs. I set my lights to exactly how long I want them on for, and I can leave them for a week without batting an eye. The first day of spring, I will have seedlings in all different stages. My sprouted ranunculus corms should be ready to plant out the first week of April, along with some other hardy annuals that were started in February. March 19th is approximately seven weeks before our last frost date, so I will have either just started, or about to start the majority of my summer cut flowers and veggies. Even though it will likely still be fairly cold, the sight of those little green stems brings me so much joy—and the anticipation of summer blooms."

Skye Hamilton @hamiltonhousedesigns, Southwest ID, Zone 7a

"Here in the greater Seattle area the first day of spring may be heralded by sun or snow, so gardeners have to be pretty flexible with their plans and expectations! However, I do always make time to simply walk around my 5-acre garden to witness the moment. The slow unfurling of a fern frond, a fattening daffodil bud, or an early woodland primrose are all cause for celebration. Gathering a posy of tiny flowers for the table is an easy way to bring that moment indoors. It may not be an extravagant summer bouquet, but it is just as vase-worthy."

Karen Chapman of Le Jardinet, Seattle, WA, Zone 6b

"I’m looking forward to a warm, early morning stroll in my Maine gardens. Hopefully I will be greeted by the lovely ‘Glenda’s Gloss’ hellebore (pictured), along with some charming ephemerals. But the reality is, there will probably still be snow covering the garden beds and I will need to shovel snow off ‘Glenda’ to see her gallant effort to break dormancy. Sigh."

Kerry Ann Mendez of Perennially Yours, Maine, Zone 5

"On the first day of spring, my corgi Wesley loves to stop to pose with all the blooming flowers we see on our walk! It’s a good reminder to take a minute and enjoy the changing of the season."

Dayna Springfield of @gardendesignmag, Redlands, CA, Zone 9b

"On the first day of spring it’s a sure thing to find me in the garden primarily cleaning up leaves in the beds and pruning hydrangeas."

Melissa Lallo Johnson of @fancyflowerfarmer, Kansas City, MO, Zone 6

"We will be celebrating the first day of spring by welcoming the crocus in our garden! Our final frost date is usually the first week of May, so mid-to-late March is still pretty cold for us here. Seed starting will be in full swing in our basement greenhouse, and fun fact—the first day of spring is also Eric's birthday, so there will be lots of good food and cake involved too!" See more of Eric & Christopher's contemporary cottage garden.

Eric and Christopher of @growformegardening, Upstate NY, Zone 5b

"The sun is rising with the sound of birds, buds on trees and shrubs are swelling, and daffodils are poking through the soil. These subtle signs of spring are getting me excited for the upcoming season. Here in Massachusetts, the first day of spring can be pretty chilly. Should it be warm and sunny, my idea of a perfect first day of spring would include a drive to a couple of my favorite nurseries or garden centers. The scent of soil and plants is soothing to my soul. There are lots of spring tasks to get done out in the garden. From pruning and fertilizing, to putting out my bird baths, and potting up seedlings, it's a really busy time of year. I'm really looking forward to more time outside, and the projects that spring will bring."

Steph of Hooked & Rooted, Southeast MA, Zone 6b

"On the first day of spring, we plan to celebrate by spending time outside in our garden enjoying several garden tasks. Spring weather in the PNW can be very unpredictable with rain, hail, sunshine, and snow showers occurring all on the same day. If it’s sunny or overcast, we’ll get outside and take photos of what’s blooming, then we’ll check on how many of our spring-blooming bulbs are about to pop because we are bulb fanatics, and maybe we’ll plant a cooler-season flower container if we don’t have anything to prune. If it’s raining, snowing, or hailing, then we’ll wait a half hour and it’ll be sunny again!"

Sean and Allison McManus of @thespokengarden, Tacoma, WA, Zone 9a

"As March 20th, the first day of spring, draws nigh, and warm thoughts of the new growing season fill the air, I can hardly contain my excitement! This year, I plan to host even more garden parties, starting with one to celebrate the spring equinox, as dining alfresco is one of my favorite pastimes. It presents the opportunity to combine my passion for gardening, cooking, and design with intimate garden-themed parties, with delightful tablescapes, and to serve homemade sumptuous meals in a natural setting. I look forward to spring and the endless possibilities with glee!"

Julia Benn of @julbeartgardens, Zone 7a

"Shopping for plants is one of my favorite things. I love growing plants from seed and just got new seeds from my favorite sources. I'm a bit late on sowing my spring wildflower meadow because of our cold, wet winter, but plants have a way of catching up to Mother Nature's curve balls. I look forward to longer, warmer days, and can already see my garden changing almost daily."

Janet Loughrey of @pnwpetalpixels, and writer, Portland, OR, Zone 8b/9a

"In my growing zone, I can’t plant frost-tender plants in the garden until late May. But I do look forward to my houseplants coming out of dormancy and sprouting new growth. They seem to know that spring is here, even if the temperatures feel more like winter."

Anne Balogh, writer for, IL, Zone 5

"Some of my favorite things about spring are cutting flowering tree branches to bring inside and pruning, fertilizing, and mulching my potted plants. This spring I’ll be expanding a sunflower planting that I made for my elderly neighbor last year—she loved it and it was so easy! I love every minute of new life all around that is spring."

Denise Kelly of Variegata Studio and horticulturist, Santa Rosa, CA, Zone 9b

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