Over 50 acres spread across a coastal hillside above Interstate 5 in Carlsbad (southern California) erupt every spring into splashy ribbons of color. The Ranunculus bulbs bloom early March to May. Actually, very few of the flowers are sold—these plants are primarily grown to harvest the bulbs (approximately 200,000 bulbs per acre).
I see these fields every year and every time I drive by I tell myself, "Gee, I should go walk among these blooms and take a few photos."
The coastal area around Carlsbad (site of the Ranunculus flower fields) and Encinitas (self-proclaimed flower capital of the world) boasts greenhouses and flower fields to rival The Netherlands. Property values, however, have put a strain on the maintainability of flower growing. I have seen more than a few greenhouses in my area leveled to make room for new housing developments.
And again I tell myself, "Gee, I should go walk among these blooms and take a few photos."
Fortunately, the Flower Fields in Carlsbad have evolved into a tourist attraction—they charge admission if you want to walk the fields, admire the blooms, and take pictures. If turning the fields into a tourist destination (hey, Legoland is right around the corner) saves them from becoming housing slab, I’m happy to pay.
And so I did walk among these blooms and take a few photos.
When you visit, you'll get a brochure explaining the history of these flowers, the history of the fields, and more than you'll ever want to know about Edwin Frazee and his Ranunculus flowers. Through selection and breeding by said Frazee, the flowers today are multi-petaled and boast 16 different shades—before today I did not know that.
But don't stop and smell the ranunculi—these beauts have no fragrance.