Yesterday, almost a month after I saw the season’s first crocuses and snowdrops blooming in nearby gardens, I saw this year’s first wildflowers: a tiny cluster of trailing arbutus or mayflower (Epigaea repens) at Goose Pond here in Keene.

Trailing arbutus leaves are evergreen, so their foliage has been brightening New Hampshire woods for weeks. But the first appearance of fragile flowers is a notable event. These tiny flowers mean we’ve turned the corner toward spring. Although we still can get an isolated April snow shower, May is imminent. This means it’s time to hang up this winter’s snowshoes and break out the blackfly netting.

Straight on the heels of yesterday’s wildflowers, this morning the violets in my backyard are in bloom with both white and purple blossoms. The neighbor’s forsythia bushes have erupted in a tentative first glimmer of yellow flowers, and the lilac in my own dooryard is covered with tiny darkening buds. Flowers, it seems, don’t need a calendar to tell them what time of year it is.