This California display blooms on a hill overlooking the sea.
I thought of her during a visit to The Flower Fields, overlooking the beaches of Carlsbad, California. There, 50 acres of blossoms wash the hillside with an unparalleled spectrum of color, offering visitors—and their mothers—much more than cut flowers in a vase. Bright reds, whites, oranges, pinks, and purples stand out against the deep hues of the Pacific, at the bottom of the incline. This working flower farm opens to the public in the spring perfect timing for Mom’s special day in May.
Botanist Luther Gage first brought ranunculus, also known as Persian buttercup, to Carlsbad in 1921, when he returned from England with a batch of seeds. But the Frazee family is most responsible for the town’s -vibrant coastal hillsides. Edwin Frazee, whose father worked with Luther, realized that ranunculus bulbs thrive in a mild climate with sandy, well-drained soil, just like that found in sunny Carlsbad.
Carlsbad’s residents didn’t want to see their beloved attraction disappear. After fervent requests, the Coastal Conservancy granted the city $1 million to subsidize the fields. Today, in partnership with the Paul Ecke Ranch, the fields produce up to 8 million bulbs annually, which are distributed all over the world.
As I look around, I see dozens of families, young and old, scattered throughout this blooming oasis. Maybe it’s because springtime is in the air and Mother’s Day is around the corner, but it seems the fields leave visitors with smiles 50 acres wide.
Prices: adults, $10; seniors (age 60 and older), $9; children (ages 3–10), $5; ages 2 and under enter free.
Season passes: adults, $20; seniors, $18; children, $10.
Wagon rides: adults, $5; children, $3.
Contact: Call 760/431-0352 or visit theflowerfields.com.
Originally published May 2006