LIFE IN NEW JERSEY: Spring is finally here. If you think I’m a bit late in saying that, then you are correct. Spring in New Jersey starts officially on March 21st or 22nd every year. But it sure doesn’t feel like it then. The weather is still cold and there is always the possibility of snow at this time. The only reassuring sign that the seasons are actually changing is the appearance of crocus bulbs. This is a local flower which starts to pop up, despite freezing conditions including snow. This is one tough little plant!
Even though it may appear otherwise, the crocus bulbs’ sprouting is a well-known sign here, that the end of winter is near and spring is on its way.
Within two weeks of spring’s official start, the outdoors start to change amazingly fast. A number of things happen. The weather gets noticeably warmer and for the first time in a long while, temperatures get above zero degrees Celsius at night . With daylight saving also under way, the daylight seems much longer and the sun has a higher arc in the sky. These changes are very welcome after six months of cold weather and indoor life.
The most striking thing about spring here though is the natural beauty bursting out of gardens and parks, and even onto footpaths. The stark bareness of the long-dormant deciduous trees changes, almost while you are watching it. As their multicoloured leaves start to bud and unfurl, these trees are contrasted with blooms from cherry blossoms, dogwoods, forsythia (yellow bells) and magnolias, that fill the air with scent and flowers. With all these color splashes arriving within a short period, it seems that nearly every suburban street and thoroughfare has a bloom that catches your eye.
New Jersey holds its own special Cherry Blossom festival during the second week of April, to capitalize on the multitude of these pretty trees around Newark’s Branch Brook Park. There are plenty of other outdoor events throughout spring including New Jersey’s spring festivals at Cape May, Hoboken and Hackettstown.
New Jerseyans definitely know how to make the most of warmer weather. Even the local wildlife comes back into action in a very noticeable way. As mentioned in last week’s post (New Jersey Wildlife: Seven Furry Friends in your backyard), you’ll start seeing animals and birds around your house-yard and in all types of natural areas.
One little problem that many people suffer during spring in New Jersey is hayfever. With so many blooms happening and floating pollen everywhere, the chances of getting a runny nose and sneezing bouts, is probably a lot higher than many other places. But it’s definitely worth it to see all that New Jersey greenery coming back to life.
The weather can be quite changeable in spring. It’s almost like Mother Nature has just gotten a new car and is still learning how to drive it. It can be warm one day, with temperatures in the mid to high twenties Celsius (watch out for sunburn), and then on the next day, there can be cold winds and temperatures close to single figures. A bit confusing for the body sometimes but the weather is still mild. And wait for it…… my favourite part: there is low humidity… woohoo!
At this time of year, the locals in New Jersey start to pack away their winter gear, exchanging it for light weather wear. Don’t do it too early, as the cold weather is still here in force for late March and a good part of April. By the end of May though, daytime temperatures start to move towards regular mid-twenties Celsius.
Although it often feels much too short, the spring season here is long enough to experience an entrancing array of color and some very pleasant outdoor weather. Enjoy it while you can because those hotter days won’t be far away when summer starts in earnest.
What New Jersey season is your favourite?