Nature Notes – Spring 2022

First Blooms of Midwest Spring

by Jill K. McDonald

We’ve turned the calendar page! It’s March 2022! Signs of early spring in Michiana have begun!

If you’re itching for warmer weather and the beauty of spring flowers, you needn’t wait any longer. Let me fill you in.

Two of my favorite flowers are also two of the first to bloom in the Midwest in spring. Both begin to bloom before the snow is even gone, making them a joyful sight to witness!

Winter Aconite, Photo by Jill K. McDonald

What are they, you ask? The first is Winter Aconite. It’s a brilliant, bright yellow flower that grows just a few inches high off the ground. It typically begins to start showing it’s buds by mid-February. They can even get completely covered by fresh snow, but will survive and thrive once melted. These beautiful flowers bloom until mid-March. 

My second favorite Midwest spring flower is Witch Hazel. These delicate flowers grow on trees, of which there are also varieties that bloom in autumn. They come in soft yellow and deep orange colors. Their blooms have an amazing aroma! 

Witch Hazel, Photo by Steve Bornell of Fernwood

So where might you witness and enjoy these early spring delights? If you’re looking for a great day trip, or need an excuse to meet with friends, Fernwood Botanical Garden is definitely worth exploring! 

Located at the edge of Niles and Buchanan, on Walton Road, Fernwood is a 105-acre botanical garden and nature preserve. For more info on current hours, admission, and all you can enjoy while visiting, check out their website

Where else might you witness early spring blooms? Be sure to check with your local botanical gardens, nature preserves, and state and county parks. A simple internet or maps search will help you discover many unique places to explore!

Wishing you each a delightful and joyful season of spring!

Jill K. McDonald is a freelance nature & travel educator, writer, photographer, and speaker. She can be reached by email at or connect with her on Facebook at:

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