Bloomers rule in the plant world, but it wasn't always like that. Long ago, other methods of reproduction from spores to cones to asexual methods were the norm with plants. But 100 million years ago, give or take a year or two, flowering plants staged a revolt. They overwhelmed all other forms of plant reproduction, and, as Olivia Judson put it in her excellent column on the subject last week, "the Earth came into bloom."
There were many different kinds of blooms. Some plants set their caps to attract flies. Most of their blooms have an odor of rotting meat. Not something you would want to include in a bouquet for your dining room table.
The majority of plants, however, chose to attract some of the prettiest creatures in Nature - bees, butterflies, and small birds - as their partners in pollination. Their blooms were typically brightly colored and contained sweet smelling nectar, as well as the pollen that actually gets the job done for the plant.
In addition to attracting their tiny helpers, the gorgeous blooms of these plants attract big, lumbering, two-legged admirers, and it is these types of blossoms, rather than the fly-attracting ones, that most participants in Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day choose to share each month.
Here, then, without further ado, is what is blooming in my garden this March Bloom Day.
The planter by the front door now holds geraniums and Veronica peduncularis 'Georgia Blue' rather than the spent violas that lived there all winter.
Viburnum tinus, just added to the front bed, is beginning its bloom.
This anonymous camellia that lives in the front yard shade garden is a late winter bloomer and is still full of unopened buds.
Nearby, an equally anonymous miniature azalea has been in bloom off and on since November. It stopped and rested for a while after our big freeze in January, but now every twig on it has a bud at the end and this one is just ready to unfurl.
This little cyclamen, blooming next to a heuchera, is now on its third winter of bloom. Whoever said these plants were winter "annuals"?
Moving into the sunshine, the Osteospermum 'Sunny Henry' shows a happy face to the world.
These snapdragons are still snappy!
This daffodil is 'Ice Follies.' Recently, I misidentified for a reader, in response to a question, another little narcissus as 'Ice Follies.' I realized my mistake too late to correct it, so I'm correcting it now.
This is the narcissus I misidentified as 'Ice Follies.' It isn't, but I'm not entirely sure just what it is. Like many other plants in my garden, it will just have to be anonymous.
These leucojums live in the same bed with 'Ice Follies' and the anonymous narcissus and they have performed beautifully for me this winter. I do love these delicate looking little blossoms.
These little violas are still showering my world with their purple beauty.
This recently added variegated potato vine has opened many of these pretty little blossoms already.
The loropetalum weathered our winter freezes well and is now opening its fringy flowers in celebration that those freezes are past.
This little dianthus is just beginning its bloom. That's an agapanthus emerging behind it.
Fuchsia geraniums helped to brighten my winter days when practically nothing else was blooming in the garden.
The blueberries are in full bloom now.
The gerberas were another winter day brightener. They bloom for me in orange...
...and in sunny yellow.
'Blue Elf' aloe is beginning to open its flower spike in the xeric bed.
I've fallen in love with this sweet little trailing veronica and have added it to several spots around the garden.
March is apple blossom time in my garden.
This clump of Spanish lavender is where I saw my very first Ruby-thoated Hummingbird of the season today! The male was sipping from these blossoms when I saw him.
The 'Bleeding Heart' shows you why it was so named.
The pace of blooming is picking up and so is the number of pollinators in the yard. Bees, butterflies, and now at least one hummingbird are all here to do those jobs that they've been doing for 100 million years. Let spring begin!