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 Monday, March 20th, 2023.

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.
  • Sign up to attend a Garden Life webinar where you’ll get inspiration and ideas to carry you through the year.
  • 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."

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

"If you’re looking for me on the first day of spring, I can pretty much guarantee you’ll find me at my local garden center! I love visiting this time of year. There seems to be so much energy, lots of new flowers and plants, and plenty of people with a shared excitement for the new season! Add in lunch at an outdoor patio somewhere, then going home to my garden to plant everything I purchased at the garden center, and you pretty much have what I would describe as my perfect day! Yay spring!"

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

"I usually spend the first day of spring fertilizing my hydrangeas and roses. This year, however, I’ll be at the Naples Botanical Garden in Florida mixing a little business with pleasure. My daughter has a college lacrosse tournament at a university in the area and the garden is nearby so it’s a win-win! My garden will wait for me."

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

"The astronomical first day of spring usually feels a lot like winter to those of us who garden in Wyoming, where snow until May is not uncommon. The first day of spring, however, does bring the finish line into clear view—roughly two months until our last frost! And so we celebrate spring by admiring Sandhill Cranes, heading back up north for summer, and the first Mountain Bluebirds, returned home for their breeding season.

Despite the persistent snowstorms and continuing cold, the itch to garden is met inside, where hopefully you have a gaggle of seedlings started under grow lights. If you don’t, no need to worry—it’s not too late! Here in the intermountain west, starting tomato seeds is a wonderful way to ring in the first day of spring!"

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

"I’ll be celebrating spring by planting cool-loving annuals like cilantro, lettuce, feverfew, and poppies."

Lindy Bridgman of @smalltowngardenlife, Central IL, Zone 6a

"I’ll be celebrating the first day of spring by planting my summer vegetable garden, specifically tomato plants!"

Joseph Marek of @josephmarek, Santa Monica, CA, Zone 10b

"I will be celebrating spring by being outside and working in the gardens—as long as the weather allows for it! Sometimes we get a surprise snow or ice storm in the D.C. area in the middle of March, so you never know! But how the weather has been going, we expect lots of beautiful spring flowers and colors to be popping up by the first day of spring. We are so excited and can't wait to get back into the gardens!"

Kellie of @strawberryfields_gardendesign, Silver Spring, MD, Zone 7b

"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 March 20th 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!"

Eric and Christopher of @growforme5b, Upstate NY, Zone 5b

"When spring arrives, I like to visit local gardens to see early bulbs and flowering trees in bloom, especially the magnolias. This year, we've had a cold winter and everything is several weeks behind, so they probably won't be flowering on the first day of spring like they usually are. Instead, I'll work in my own garden, which is my happy place."

Janet Loughrey of @pnwpetalpixels, and writer, Oregon, Zone 8b

"In our area, it is way too early to get out and garden and I really can’t plant anything until late May. I do look forward to my houseplants coming out of dormancy and sprouting new leaves, and it’s a good time to assess their health and repot if necessary. And then I just count the days until the plants I ordered way back in January arrive."

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

"The first thing I will be working on is to refresh the front yard with some pretty flowers. I got a climbing rose to grow over a fence, and I’m planning to get hydrangeas for the entryway since the house has a Cape Cod cottage vibe. Spring and fall are my favorite times in the garden."

Shreyas Anand of @thenextdoorgarden, San Diego, CA, Zone 10a

"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

"This time of year, I am so lucky to be able to return to my coastal garden in the U.K., a balmy zone 9b. I can’t wait for this time in my garden to prune roses and tidy the borders, but it’s the opportunity to create colorful spring containers with wonderful spring flowers full of color and scent that I look forward to most. I crave these colors and smells that I’ve missed through the long winter. The pleasure of creating spring containers outweighs all the other seasons—the gardening year has started again!"

Sharon Hadden of @sharonhadden_, U.K., Zone 9b

"The calendar says spring, but here in Austin, TX spring has already sprung. We are busy as can be here at the nursery! Things are blooming, bees are buzzing and butterflies are flying around. We are bringing out new crops daily!"

Vivero Growers Nursery @viverogrowers, Austin, TX, Zone 8b

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