Friday, April 13, 2007

Stop and Smell the Ranunculi

Rows and rows of yellow and red ranunculi dazzle the eyes
Close-up shows the delicacy of barely pink ranunculusOver 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.

Classic white ranunculus contrasts with red
And again I tell myself, "Gee, I should go walk among these blooms and take a few photos."

Human form gives perspective to the ranunculi population
This multi-colored frame shows the range of colors possibleFortunately, 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.

Rich gold color stretches forever in the Ranunculus field
But don't stop and smell the ranunculi—these beauts have no fragrance.


Anonymous said...

WOW! To walk in a field of ranunculus...I think I would pass out from happiness. The flowers are absolutely stunning!

Gemini Art said...

I remember seeing fields of flowers like this when I was a little boy. Your pictures remind me of that image from my childhood. I'd love to see those fields again someday. Love your blog. I've subscribed to it.

Gail said...

Thank you anglofille, cito, and gemini art for leaving comments. Come to San Diego County before the middle of May and you can see these fields for yourselves...

Anonymous said...


Jeff Lowe said...

I know two places where you can walk among the flower fields for free. I wandered a little side path and past what looked like a deserted house and there it to follow on my flickr. in the next day or two. South of the 126...near Fillmore...out past Magic Mountain. The other is the flower fields an hour past Santa Barbara in Lompoc. I find it best to find fields unattended on Sundays.