Have you noticed a sweet scent wafting past your nose as you walk in our neighborhood and wondered if spring is around the corner?

This wonderful aroma most likely comes from the fragrant winter flowering shrubs like the tiny white flowers of the Sweetbox (Sarcoccoca), Witch Hazel, flower clusters of Chinese Redbud (Cercis), or the pink and yellow flowering Dawn Viburnum. Let’s not forget the sweet scented Daphne varieties that are about to bloom.  Other- non fragrant but equally as colorful plants are: Mahonia, Berberis and Edgeworthia. In the forests the first plant to bloom is Indian Plum, beating the surrounding big leaf Maples by budding out first, to receive the light coming through the forest canopy. Next to leaf out is our delicious springtime favorite, the Salmon berry!

 Another sign of spring right now in the more open areas like Boundary Bay dyke are Pussy Willow and Currants, Wild Carrot or Queen Anne’s lace. For the foragers among us, young shoots of stinging nettles and cress varieties are going to be ready for picking in the coming weeks!

Take time to walk around your yard or your neighborhood, you’d be surprised to see what’s growing, like the many varieties of long flowering Helleborus and many others.

As for our trees, watch out for pollen from the Filberts or Hazelnut varieties starting to blow around the neighborhood, unfortunately not good news for allergy sufferers!

Did you know, another sweet fragrance in March/April comes from the infamous Cottonwood trees ? The sticky resin or sap that protects the early buds is very fragrant, they are also called Balsam poplars and the resin has anti-fungal, anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties. The resin from the buds can be directly put on a cut or lesion to speed up healing!


 If you have a favorite photo of a plant, feel free to post it on “thenaturenut.ca” website, this site has just started up and is all about Nature around us, from questions, suggestions, tips, photos of our local flora and fauna to wild edibles, native and invasive plants!

For free Friday morning Nature Walks check my website weekly.


Here are some garden tips,


Time to clean out old used birdhouses get them ready for the new occupants.


Keep feeding your hummingbirds, yes they are everywhere here this winter! Did you know that every time hummingbirds feed at the feeders, they are practically near death from starvation! It takes them an enormous amount of energy to keep warm and fly to and from feeders or flowering shrubs!! They conserve their energy by going into a state of torpor (temporary hibernation) in winter nights.


Easy, no spill recipe for bird feeders:

Use an old cup or mug with handle (ear), mix seeds or raisins, craisins, peanuts, shelled sunflowers, chopped almond, filberts, walnuts, whatever you have and mix with peanut butter and coconut butter, until stiff consistency. Place in cup, hang by string or hook on the handle and enjoy watching the chickadees, nuthatches, creepers enjoy their treat! Little or no mess on the ground!!!


Get outside and smell the flowers!!!