Mom and I had hoped to attend a large street fair in Carlsbad, but the timeline of our trip was not going to allow us to stay in Carlsbad an extra day. However, Mom remembered that I had found some information about The Flower Fields, whose ranunculus fields are blooming (and open to the public) until about May 8.
We drove through Carlsbad wondering where we needed to go, expecting to have to drive down a long road to reach our destination (similar to what we would experience visiting a ranch on the East Coast). Then suddenly at a stop light I pointed at acres and acres of multi-colored flower fields coating the hill to our left. Right next door? An outlet mall. California keeps surprising us, always defying our expectations.
These homes were separated from the fields by a well-maintained hedge. Can you imagine having this as a view out of your windows for several months each year?!
The fields were organized into striped rows of different colors across the landscape, but no row was perfectly one color. Visitors had to keep to the wide sandy paths, or tour the fields via wagon. Pickers were scattered throughout the flowers, carefully selecting bundles of tight blooms and slipping them into plastic bouquet sleeves. These bouquets were handed to a truck that held buckets of water, and when the truck was full it would drive down towards the Visitor’s Center. These ranunculus bouquets were either for sale to the tourists, or being prepared for shipment.
There were other gardens and flowers at Carlsbad Ranch, including a rose garden, an “Artist’s Garden” with arches covered in dark purple morning glory and a Sweet Pea Maze. One one path, I found some beautiful hollyhocks, and right inside the exit into the Visitor’s Center were several large orchids with 5- to 6-inch blooms!