Niches: Spring Blooms

Nature tends to find niches, empty pockets of space or time, and fill them with life. Maple saplings find the niche in the sidewalk cracks, an unoccupied place where they can sprout. Deer wander into your backyard during the middle of the day, a niche in time when the humans leave to work and can’t stop them from munching on the rose bushes. With permaculture, we learn to recognize these niches and use them in design.

Weeds find a niche in rich decomposing leaf litter leftover from last fall.

For example, consider early spring. Buds form on the trees, and we anxiously wait for the first blossoms. But no color yet.

But we can have color if we design it.

Some flowers bloom in the early spring, just as the snow begins to melt, and then die back for the season before your grass grows tall enough to mow. By planting these early-blooming flowers, you can fill a niche in time and beautify the ground.

Which Flowers?

For my local area (Zone 6a), I’ve noticed these early spring perennials seem to thrive:

  • Crocus
  • Daffodils
  • Puschkinia
  • White Violets
  • Squill

(I’ll continue adding to this list as I notice more.)

Which flowers you should plant vary from location to location. Find out what grows best in your area. Talk to local experts, do an internet search, or simply walk around your neighborhood this spring and take notes of which flowers blossom early.

Have a favorite early-spring flower? Share in the comments!

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