ST. LOUIS – As the calendar changes to March, spring starts to creep into our thoughts. But this year, it is also creeping into our yards thanks to warm temperatures. 

With a few notable exceptions, like right before Christmas, the winter of 2022 and 2023 has been mild. In fact, it was the twelfth warmest on record for St. Louis, and 2023 has seen the fifth-warmest start to a calendar year. February’s temperatures alone averaged six degrees warmer than average. That mild winter, paired with increasing sunlight, has things starting to bloom.

“We’re starting to see more of the daffodils, more of the spring bulbs, the witch hazel,” said Daria McKelvey, a supervisor with the Kemper Center for Home Gardening at the Missouri Botanical Garden.

McKelvey says things are about two weeks ahead of schedule. She showed us a Merrill Magnolia full of beautiful white blossoms. In 2022, it didn’t pop out until about March 17. Crocus and other spring flowers are popping up in backyards. However, early spring can be cold, windy, and sometimes snowy, and that’s a concern for these tender blossoms.

“They can get a little cold damage on the petals. Also, with the wind coming in, that’s going to knock some of them off,” McKelvey said. “So, they may not be as showy as they are as we progress into spring.”

Flowers emerging can also create a temptation to get out into the backyard garden, but don’t do it just yet.

“You can start with your cool season vegetables, that’s okay. But any of your flowering plants, you house plants, keep them indoors. We’re not there yet,” McKelvey said.

As we do get farther into spring, and you start planning your garden, you are encouraged to reach out to or visit the Kemper Center for Home Gardening for information and tips on making your 2023 garden your best one yet.