Not long after I moved to the mountains I read an article in a local magazine which mentioned in passing that springtime comes a little later to the mountains. This is particularly true in the upper mountains where it takes longer for the ground to warm up as the days start to stretch and lengthen.

By mid August this year, I could spot the signs of spring in my neighbourhood. Bright bulbs were beginning to appear and there were buds hinting at further delights to follow in many trees and shrubs. The vagaries of warmth, sunlight and soil allow for a staggered display of bulbs and colours. My morning walks have been a continual delight as one side of a street will have a blaze of daffodils for a couple of weeks, and as they fade a mix of daffodils and snowdrops appear on the other side of the road. My scant collection of daffodils gave me much joy before fading, and I still have delicately scented freesias emerging from their thin stalks.

From my kitchen window I can see a cherry tree. One of my annual delights is to watch it change, ever so slowly, from stark branches to branches with a rippling of buds. The buds swell incrementally before erupting in a joyous bloom of bright white petals, tinged with pink. Hanging out clothes nearby one morning I was struck by a thrumming sound – the blossoms were vibrating with bees. I take photos of the blossoms, from the tight buds to the open blooms, to remind me of its beauty long after the leaves have tickled their way down the branches, scattering the blooms on their way.

Azaleas have been beautiful this year, and the rhododendrons have been vibrant masses of colour. I have a couple in my garden, scattered at the edges. It is always a surprise when they erupt, seemingly overnight, with big flowers that demand attention. In the neighbourhood there is one with soft yellow flowers that I love to look at. A couple of my neighbours have magnificent white daisy bushes. When the sun hits the flowers they are almost blinding, wonderful white beacons. People stop to ask for cuttings, keen to strike some of their own.

In winter I planted a few pansies, dotting them in the yard near windows. Their bright happy petals have lifted my spirits during the shortest days of the year, bringing splashes of orange, yellow, purple and magenta into dull days. They are beginning to fade now, just as the jasmine gets ready to blossom.

What spring delights have you enjoyed this year?

[Azalea hedge erupting in blossoms]