W.E. Johns wrote, "One of the most delightful things about a garden is the anticipation it provides."
Spring is the season where things begin to change for the better in the natural world around us, and our anticipation builds. The sap is rising, the buds are swelling, and every day we notice new developments. There seems to be an aura that surrounds plants and shrubs that are on the verge of their bloom time. There is a confidence in the air. Is it generated by the plants that, like pubescent children, emit signals of momentous futures? Or is it generated by the onlookers like us who, seeing the filmy green leaves, are consumed with the prospect of long awaited flowers?
Each of us has our own personal method by which we confirm the onset of spring. For me it is when my ground-hugging yellow aconites bloom; others ache for that first burst of arching gold forsythia, or for the redbuds and dogwoods to paint the skies with color. For many it is the first snowdrop, crocus or yellow daffodil, spotted maybe in an old garden where for years neighbors have come to expect the first bloom.
A sweepstakes fan I know regularly emails fellow gardeners the happy news of where, and by whom, the first bloom in town was seen. It is welcome news for the flower deprived. As winter is vanquished and spring tiptoes into town, the anticipation like many of the best things in life is sweet.