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How to Take Advantage of an Early Spring in the Northeast | Regional Report

Nature’s signs for the Northeastern gardener

The groundhog predicted an early spring this year. Should we believe him? Back when Thoreau compiled his lists of flowering times and migration observations, spring arrived in Concord, Massachusetts, a good two or three weeks later than it does there now. Blame (or credit) climate change and urbanization for raising winter temperatures enough to shift spring forward. As early as spring is relative to the mid-nineteenth century, it always feels late to me, especially if it snows on the morning of the equinox, which it did this year. But when maples, crocuses, and forsythia start blooming in March, spring is, in fact, early. Forget the calendar. Spring comes when it comes.

Gardeners have always helped each other make sense of spring’s timing by passing down helpful hints tied to indicator species. All we have to do is fine-tune the folklore to make it relevant to our own gardens. Start by…

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