Flower Fields: ‘An Early Bloom'

The ranunculus are lending loads of color to the Carlsbad attraction.

MARCH SHOW: March has so many amazing and notable happenings, from the Easter holidays to the sun shining later at night (thank you, Daylight Saving Time) to the shiny shamrock decorations of St. Patrick's Day. But not everything is by the calendar when it comes to the third month of the year, especially the blooming of famous flowers. Wistaria might make its purply showing a week or two ahead of time, and lilacs a bit later, and trying to predict when oranges -- and those snifferous and spectacular orange blossoms -- begin to make fragrant fireworks can be an exercise in frustration. If you've ever tried to count on a rose opening at a particular time, or some violets, plant a row of buds with the hope that the open in time for a big adjacent event, like a wedding. (It will be stressful, awaiting the petals to mind your schedule.) This is all leading up to the well-known regional fact that the famous ranunculus of The Flower Fields, a garden-riffic attraction in Carlsbad, kind of do their own ranunculusian thing, year in and year out, depending upon the weather and several other horticultural factors. So booking a whole trip just to see them during their traditional open dates -- March 1 to Mother's Day -- requires a lot of hope in your heart, that you'll be there at the optimum moment. And it looks as if that...

OPTIMUM MOMENT... has arrived a bit on the soon-ish side. The Flower Fields report that an "early bloom" has made a strong showing, and the photos taken near the second weekend in March bear out that budly observation. "It's a beautiful season so far!" reads the attraction's Facebook page, so there are still stunning days to come. But if you're making for San Diego -- or heading north to LA and beyond -- and you've got an hour to stroll and snap pics, mid-March would be a fine time to do so. There's lots going on, too, around the destination, from tractor wagon rides to an organic demo garden to the sweet pea maze. It's like a funland for floral fans, with lots to do and buy and admire. But the admiring of those on-their-own-schedule ranunculus is heating up: Best go if you're gonna, for magic is happening in those fields.

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