Signs of Spring
It's a month after Spring Equinox, and across Canada, we're all looking for the signs of spring in our neighbourhoods. But while most of the rest of the country keeps their eyes out for that hint of green among the trees, spring in Powell River is a little different. Our grass is greener in the winter than the summer (though it doesn't really grow between November and March!), and we have many leafy trees and bushes, like larches and rhododendrons, that keep their green leaves all year round. So it's not green we look for here on the upper Sunshine Coast, but other signs that spring is just around the corner.

One of the first thing we keep an eye out for are the blossoms.

A triptych of photographs of cherry blossoms

For us, the colour white doesn't really mean winter, because we so rarely have snow on the ground for more than a week. Instead, we look for the colour white as one of the first signs of spring. Around town, gnarled old trees and smooth young ones begin to flower with white and pink blossoms before even their leaves bud. Cherry, peach, and other stone fruit trees give us the white drifts that we don't see in the winter. It starts with one or two, and a day later the whole tree is covered in beautiful flowers. As you drive around town, you can also see the results of selective grafting, as there are trees with both white and pink flowers on different branches. The blossoms come well before other flowers, but they're not far behind!

Four photographs of early spring flowers

Once the blossoms show their faces, we begin to look for other colours too. They take a little longer, but by the beginning of April, flashes of purple, yellow, fuschia, and other colours catch the eye as you drive through neighbourhoods or down Marine Avenue. Daffodils and lupines come first, and by this time of April, the camelias start to flower, and within a few days, our gardens will turn from merely green with some brown deadfall to green with a riot of colour. These early flowers don't last through the season, but they are harbingers of what is to come. And when we see them start, we know it's time to get to work.

Four images of Powell River businesses with garden centres

In mid-March, the billboard outside Canadian Tire usually changes to remind people to start their vegetable and annual seeds soon, Mother Nature and Springtime Garden Centre change their hours to be open seven days a week, and by early April, every grocery store opens up a small garden centre with soil, herbs, flowers, and other garden supplies to tempt you with the idea of fresh garden vegetables while you're picking up your food for the week. 

Even people who aren't really gardeners when they first move to Powell River can't resist the siren call of warm sunshine, plants that grow so readily, and the long growing season from April to, well, April (we'll talk about winter gardening in a few months!). And even if you don't really have much of a green thumb, it's wonderful to walk around your neighbourhood and enjoy the work of those who love it. So if you're somewhere where you've just had another snowfall, just remember that there are places where white in the springtime doesn't mean cold and wet, it means the promise of beauty and fruit to come. 

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