March 2014 - Carlsbad CA
We checked out at 10 AM (clocks had sprung ahead) and drove the five minutes to the Flower Fields located beside the factory outlets.
This was very high on my list of places to visit!
We had been following their website to determine when the flowers were in a good bloom this week.
Check out their web site.
Today, the fields are a direct result of over 85 years of floral cultivation that began when Luther Gage, an early settler and grower settled in the area in the early 1920’s. Mr. Gage brought Ranunculus seeds to the area and began growing them in his fields next to Frank Frazee’s small vegetable farm in South Oceanside. This started a business called “Luther Gage Giant Tecolote Ranunculus bulbs”. The name “Tecolote” came from the owls that nested on his property.
We started in the rose garden.
When fire destroyed the modest Frazee Ranch on the inland shore of Agua Hedionda Lagoon, the family was forced to move to Oceanside where Frank Frazee began growing freesia bulbs to make ends meet. At that time, freesias were in high demand, and Frank took advantage of cheap land leased by the city to expand his crop. In 1933, the elder Frazee added ranunculus to his crop and introduced son Edwin to the art of seeding, cultivating and irrigating the pretty but less popular flower. At the age of 16, Edwin Frazee quit high school to work full time on his father’s burgeoning flower operation.
They are renown for the Tecolote® Giant Ranunculus, which is one of the finest strains of ranunculus plants in the world. The ranunculus flower is native to Asia Minor and is a member of the buttercup family. This unique blossom also is known as a Persian Buttercup or Ranunculus Asiatic.
Over 50 acres are devoted to raising the ranunculus bulb crop; approximately five acres are used for other specialty flowers.
The best time to view the flowers is usually mid-March through Mid-April. However, these dates may change if the bloom is either early or late due to weather conditions, etc
A portion of the flower crop is sold as cut flowers. The remainder of these flowers are grown to provide the ranunculus bulbs. These workers were picking flowers for sale.