This year’s Midwest chill has been especially stubborn about turning over the weather reins to those waiting patiently to garden. But the May forecast is finally looking a bit more promising. Enough so that I finally ventured out to my independent local garden centers to give homes to the earliest arrivals. I find that if I wait too long, my favorite plants not only get picked over, but there may be trouble finding replacements for them because of ongoing shipping concerns.

When it comes to spring gardening, I can’t wait to get a fix. I’m willing to buy early and gently cover my babies every single night to protect against late frost if needed. That concern can’t end soon enough. It’s been a long winter. Getting my gardener’s hands on early plants helps me forget about past weather insults.

While I scored some beautiful plants on my visits to two centers yesterday, there are a few annuals rituals I give life to before the plants themselves find their forever place on my porch and in my gardens.

One of the first things I do each year to announce I am welcoming spring regardless of the temps, is to finally throw out that yellowing holiday wreath that once looked so stunning, and quickly replace it with something much more springlike.

I did just that this morning by recycling last year’s favorite warm-weather porch wreath of faux hydrangeas, still in excellent condition. That gardening prep took me just about 15 minutes and set the stage for the rest of the seasonal excitement to come.

I guarantee you that my future trips to garden centers for more plants of all kinds, will definitely take more time than hanging my springtime wreath did. I tend to linger in those beautiful places of nature, breathing in all the stunning beauty that my senses and checking account can possibly absorb on one trip, and capturing stunning natural images. Visiting garden centers is not only a feast for the senses, but it also serves as fuel for good mental health and simple self-care. And who can’t use more of that these days?

Have I mentioned yet just how much I love gardening?

What seasonal gardening rituals do you take part in to announce that spring is here at last?