Searching for Signs of Spring

Caring for our newly-sprouted dicots (plants with two embryonic leaves)

This is a very exciting time of the year for any New Englander with a green thumb, including some of our city’s youngest gardeners found at Stanley Elementary. With most of the snow melted away, a walk around our garden beds quickly tells us that Old Man Winter has left behind beautiful, moist earth that will soon become home to many seeds and transplants.  Furthering our excitement was the discovery of tiny sprouts in our Chinese cabbage*, Brussels sprouts, and kohlrabi trays this past Tuesday, just one week after planting them!

To get reacquainted with our garden space, Cece and I took the kids outside for a bit of exploration. Using our five senses- sight, hearing, taste, touch, and smell- the children discovered signs of new life and remnants of last fall’s harvest.

Kids roamed the space freely, hearing the calls of birds, the crunching of dry grasses below our feet, and the passing of rush-hour trains shuttling workers out of the city and back home to the suburbs. The scent of damp earth- a sweet, grassy smell- filled our noses and reminded us of the need to soon prepare our beds for planting.

We felt the softness of Lamb’s ear and vibrant green and brown mosses scattered around the marsh.

We saw evidence of last year’s bounty, including the dried leaves, flowers and seed pods  of hydrangea bushes (we also saw signs of new life- buds, seen above), Brussels sprout stalks, and the papery, yellow aftermath of unharvested cherry tomatoes.

So it seems easy enough to see, hear, touch, and smell the signs of spring, but how did we taste life, you ask? Students had no trouble finding both spicy chives and flavorful thyme (above, right) to sample!

Perhaps most telling of spring’s arrival was our discovery of purple and white crocuses beside the garden beds!

While we’ll continue to look for the tell-tale signs of spring in the garden, this activity can continue just about anywhere outside. What signs of spring have you seen in your yard and neighborhood?


*We received mislabeled seeds; what we thought was broccoli was actually Chinese cabbage! We will plant some broccoli next week but keep the cabbage, too.

Images by Rebekah Carter (2011).


About healthywaltham

Healthy Waltham is a civic group committed to improving the quality of life for people who live, work, and learn in Waltham. Based on the Healthy Communities movement spreading across Massachusetts, Healthy Waltham embraces the principles of community involvement, shared community values, a vision for the future, and community based solutions. Healthy Waltham's Garden Blog intends to inform students, parents, and city residents about our activities in the public schools, community centers, and around town. Questions and comments should be sent to
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