THERE is a definite buzz in the air, and it's not just the bees coming out of hibernation.
Residents and tourists alike have been soaking up the sunshine across Ararat as flowers bloom just about everywhere you look.
Gardens Lake Cafe owner Marie Tsangas has seen an increase in the number of people taking a stroll or meeting friends for a cuppa in Alexandra Gardens.
"As soon as you've got a little bit of sunshine in the last week of August it was like everyone came out of hibernation," she said.
"People are just everywhere at the moment. It's good to see."
Ms Tsangas said Ararat Rural City Council had done a great job making the gardens more attractive ahead of the warmer months.
"Council did that beautiful little garden there on the island and people were coming to see that," she said.
"The garden is beautiful in spring."
Word about the garden was also getting out beyond the immediate region.
"The gardens are very popular with tourists," Ms Tsangas said.
"You get a lot of caravans and buses that stop because they don't have to worry about parking spaces ... so they they just stop there."
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"They'll say we're travelling to see family in Melbourne so we were told by our neighbour to stop here. It's word of mouth, and our gardens in Ararat are getting talked about in Adelaide or Melbourne."
Resident Jo Rigby was out in the gardens taking in the sunshine with family, friends, and her pooch George.
"It's just such a beautiful park and it's brought so many people together," she said.
"All the kids from our kids' school are here so it's a great way to catch up - and the magpies don't swoop here," she said.
"Spring has sprung."
Student Abbey said it was a great way to spend the school holidays, "out in the sun with friends, catching up."
For those wanting to get back into the garden now that spring has moved in, Hughan Nursery owner Stephen Hughan had some advice.
"Spring is a great time for gardening," he said.
"There is a lot of blossom which encourages people to see the beauty of nature, and a lot of growth after the winter dormant period.
"This is when people really get interested in their vegetable gardens, (planting) lots and lots of summer and autumn vegetables.
"Grass is growing, weeds are growing actively and they need to be controlled.
"You get a few pests and diseases about and they can be controlled quite easily by various methods.
"You've got a lot of fruits developing for autumn harvest and they need a bit of attention.
"You're coming up to the season of late spring and summer where watering is an important task for gardening."
Over at the Alexandra Croquet Club Ararat, members are seeing their own gardening efforts bloom into life.
About 12 months ago club members planted white and purple daisies along the rock wall to the east of the croquet lawns, and now they have blossomed into a riot of colour.
"We replanted all the daisies because they were just bare bricks and a few little isolated flowers," club secretary Barb Shannon said.
"So we've replanted all the daisies - we got some from Hughan Nursery who donated some for us. The rest we got from our own gardens and we eventually want to fill the whole rockery."
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