ON SUNDAY, March 21, it is Mother’s Day, and sons and daughters will be thanking their mothers with cards and flowers.

On that date it is also the first day of spring, although, this year, it came earlier than normal, even though we had snow some weeks ago.

The daffodils and crocuses are already showing their blooms, and the blossom of the trees, especially the Blackthorn, is weeks ahead of its usual time.

The leaves on the horse chestnuts are 12 days earlier than they were 30 years ago. And the song-birds are already tuning up for their dawn chorus!

The month of March gets its name from “Martius”, which means “of Mars”, who was the Roman God of War.

The following month of April is from Aprilis, the Latin for “to open out”, as in the case of the flowers and blossom.

Spring is quite an exciting time in nature, for so much is happening. The hedges are showing little buds of green, while the daffodils curtsy in the slight breeze to the arrival of what we hope will be a warm season.

Daisies have begun to whiten the fields, while the crocuses beam out their white, orange and purple colours.

March and April also sees the wood anemones in great profusion in the woods and hedges.

As the snowdrops make their departure after their January to March appearance, so the primroses arrive for their stay until May. They are full of nectar and so are visited many times by the bees which will shortly be maturing to carry out their summer duties.

Another flower in this area is the sweet violet, which arrives in April with its nine species, and, as it likes chalk soil, it is fairly abundant in the Basingstoke district.

In the years before the Town Development Scheme of the 1960s, local folk would walk across the old Basingstoke Common, admiring the blaze of yellow buttercups which carpeted the ground, and strolling over to the Black Dam ponds to watch the young water fowls learning how to cope with life in those days of the early spring.

Also in March, the calandines and marsh marigolds brightened up the watersides which, in those days, were extensive, as there were several large ponds in that area.

Closer to town there was the brilliant hue of tulips which lined the pathway near the municipal buildings in the War Memorial Park, which were the pride of Mr Parry, the park keeper, who lived in the little lodge in Hackwood Road – which is now the site of the ring road.

Animal life becomes more active in the spring, especially bats, dormice, and hedgehogs, which penetrate well into the town. The grey squirrel can be seen in most places where there is a clump of trees, although over the past few years the local council’s policy to cut down or trim many of the trees has caused a decline in these lively creatures.

In Western Way, on the South Ham estate, the line of trees on the east side once produced some beautiful blossom in the spring, but these are only a shadow of themselves now.

We must not forget the tiny insects which also come to life in the warmer days, such as the spiders, who have been sleeping during the cooler weeks of winter. Soon the flies will be bustling around, the cabbage butterfly will be seeking a place to rest in its flight from one garden to another.

Over the years various poets have given prose to the season, and the one that must come to mind more than any other is surely William Wordsworth’s Daffodils.

“I wander’d lonely as a cloud That floats on high o’er vales and hills, When all at once I saw a crowd, A host of golden daffodils”.

So much is coming to life, especially in the countryside, and this evolution has been happening for thousands of years.

Nature around us has an aura of wonder, so let us enjoy it, not destroy it.