Even though it may seem hard to believe, California for much of the twentieth century and periods before was a large agricultural zone. Areas like “Orange County” and “Lemon Grove” were named because of the large commercial agricultural operations that occurred in those areas. As a matter of fact, Disneyland was constructed on one hundred and sixty acres of land that was occupied by orange groves and walnut trees. While most of this land has been swallowed up by urban development, large agricultural zones remain today in the Central Valley, and through the Coachella Valley regions. While a number of state parks in California cover the historical heritage of these agricultural ventures, San Diego is also home to a yearly agricultural spectacle of flowers at the Carlsbad Flower Fields.
The Carlsbad Flower Fields began in the early 1920’s when a Carlsbad resident, Luther Gage, began cultivating ranunculus. Subsequent to his early cultivation, Frank Frazee, and his son, Edwin Frazee began to also cultivate the flower, which led to the varieties that exist today, as well as the colors. In 1965, Edwin Frazee moved his ranunculus cultivating and growing operation to the present site in Carlsbad, where they overlook the Pacific Ocean. Every spring, from mid-March through mid-May, some six to eight weeks, fifty acres of Carlsbad hillside is covered with the multi-colored blooms of Gage, Frazee, and Ecke’s long term cultivation.
Directions: The Carlsbad Flower Fields are located at 5704 Paseo Del Norte, California, 92008. This location is located within a quarter mile of the Interstate 5, and from March through May, is a visible spectacle from the freeway.
Entrance Fees/Tips: The Flower Fields is first and foremost a working ranch on private property. While it is open to the public from March through May, visitors must pay an entrance fee of $14.00 for adults, $13.00 for senior citizens, and $7.00 for children ages 3-10. The basic entrance fee allows visitors to explore the flower fields on foot, which may be dusty or muddy, depending on the conditions. As with any outside event or experience, visitors should plan properly in terms of what footwear they bring.
With over fifty acres of flowers, there is a wide area for visitors to explore and walk through. Visitors who are less inclined to walk can ride in a wagon pulled by a tractor for an additional fee. From personal experience, let me say that the latter option is quite popular with small children who love farms and farm equipment. In addition to the flowers, since 1999 Armstrong Gardens have partnered with the Ecke Ranch to operate a small village with additional activities, and information about the flower fields. Along with the growth of Carlsbad, and Southern California, the popularity of the Flower Fields has grown, and the attraction receives on average, some 100,000 to 200,000 visitors during the six to eight weeks it is open. While this is a lot of people during a short period of time, the large expanse of flowers provides visitors with plenty of space. And, while it should be apparent to anyone who’s looked at the above photos, this is a great place to take photos, explore, or just relax amidst seasonal blooms.