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Converted from paper version of the Broad Ripple Gazette (v16n05)
Right in my Own Backyard - spring - by Brandt Carter
posted: Mar. 01, 2019

Right in my Own Backyard header

I finally put my outdoor Christmas wreaths away! Yes, I am anticipating spring. This year you can ready the welcome mat for Wednesday, March 20, at 5:58 EDT. (Yes, I know you will have changed your clocks already!) You may have already celebrated spring on March 1, the meteorological first day of the spring quarter. However, the astronomical spring or vernal equinox that divides the season from winter as the first day of spring is March 20.
Some interesting trivia about this spring event. The March equinox and the Full Worm Moon will occur on the same day, the first time since 1981. This March's full moon will be brighter and bigger; thus, it joins the company of the other recent super moons. Another interesting fact is that there will not be a March 21 spring equinox in the world again until 2101. So take note and observe this phenomenon.
Not only does this day signify the length of day and night nearly equal in all parts of the world, but it ushers in the first season of the year. Days lengthen, temperatures warm, and nature becomes more active. You may want to sharpen your powers of observation:
  • Can you find some worms? They emerge at this time; thus, the name The Full Worm Moon. It may be time to gather a few worms and go fishing!
  • Check out your yard and the parks. The grass is greening, buds are forming, and early wildflowers can be seen. You may also see a perky hellebores (Lenten Rose) blooming. Have you seen a crocus or daffodil yet? Or, are you just seeing the green leaves pushing up through the chilly soil?
  • This is the time to collect sap from maple trees. When cool nights and warm days happen, the sap in the sugar maple trees run. You can visit Holliday Park, Conner Prairie, or Parke County to try your hand at maple syrup making.
  • Early bird gardeners are also inspired to begin planting. Depending on the weather, gardeners may build cold frames or use their own greenhouses where cold weather crops can be safely planted. Look to nature to tell you when to plant:
    • Blooming crocus are your cue to plant radishes, parsnips, and spinach.
    • When the forsythia is in bloom, it is safe to plant peas, onion, and a variety of lettuces.
    • Half-hardy vegetables, including beets, carrots, and chard, can be planted when the daffodils blossom.
  • Wildlife becomes busy. Birds are singing more and some species are even nesting. Some birds are returning and others are migrating through. Chipmunks reappear and raccoons may begin raiding your feeders and garbage cans.
  • Take time to notice how the sun arcs across the sky. It shifts towards the north and is said to be the beacon for migrating birds.
It's a wonderful time of the year. . . a time of rebirth. There are many songs and saying about spring. Here is a favorite diviner of mine: "When the dandelions bloom early in spring, there will be a short season. When they bloom late, expect a dry summer." Let's see if this is true. I'm awaiting spring with anticipation. Get ready, it is coming. Spring has never failed us even if a late snow may dampen our hopes.

Brandt Carter, artist, herbalist, and naturalist, owns Backyard Birds at 2374 E. 54th Street. Visit her web site Email your bird questions to
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Brought to you by: Broad Ripple collector pins
Brought to you by: Broad Ripple collector pins