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Visiting The Flower Fields in Carlsbad, California
The History of The Flower Fields.
The original inhabitants of Carlsbad were the Luiseno and Diegueno Indians. In 1798 Father Lausen established Mission San Luis Rey de Francia (Mission Oceanside) for Spain. By 1842 Rancho Agua Hedionda was established when Don Juan Maria Marron was granted 13,311 acres of land by the Mexican government.
By the 1880’s John Frazier, a local settler, dug a well and began offering spring water to the California Southern Railroad and it's passengers. The water was equal to the mineral water found in the Karlsbad, Bohmia area of Europe.The stop became known as Frazier’s Station.
The area expanded and grew over the years with homes and businesses springing up. The development of agricultural in the area changed the landscape and the name was eventually changed to Carlsbad.
In the early 1920’s Luther Gage settled in the South Carlsbad area. Gage brought ranunculus seeds with him that he planted and began growing in his fields next to a small vegetable farm owned by Frank Frazee. Gage started a small business called “Luther Gage Tecolote Giant Ranunculus Bulbs”. Tecolote owls nested on Gage’s property prompting part of the name.
Fire destroyed the Frazee ranch and the family move to Oceanside. To make ends meet Frazee began growing freesia bulbs as they were in demand at the time. Frazee leased cheap land from the city to expanded his crop.
In 1933 Frazee added ranunculus to his crop. He also introduced his son, Edwin, to farming the beautiful flower. Edwin quit high school, at age 16, to work full time on his father’s growing flower farm. Edwin also expanded the fields to Santa Margarita Ranch on what is now known as Camp Pendleton Marine base.
Edwin worked diligently to continually improve his ranunculus crop. Careful selection by Edwin resulted in full or double flowers and unusual colors. Today there are thirteen colors of ranunculus, including a mixture of variegated colors.
By the 1950’s, Edwin was very successful at breeding superior ranunculus bulbs leaving him the only commercial grower in the United States. The brightly colored flower fields at the Santa Margarita Ranch became an attraction for visitors passing by Oceanside on old Highway 101.
In 1965 Frazee decided to expand his ranunculus crop south to Carlsbad overlooking the Pacific Ocean and Highway 101. The soil was sandy, well drained, and the climate mild. The ranunculus and gladiolus thrived. The location brought the vibrant colored flower field closer to motorists traveling between Los Angeles and San Diego.
The beautiful flower fields became a popular but unofficial tourist attraction. The bright colors and variegated varieties gained the attention of photographers including National Geographic magazine. Visitors began helping themselves to free bouquets of the gorgeous gladiolus and ranunculus flowers. Frazee and his workers’ time was soon taken up by politely turning away visitors.
In 1993 Edwin Frazee retired and Paul Ecke Jr. formed a joint venture with a grower to continue growing the beautiful flowers. Ecke looked toward tourism as a way to preserve and keep the ranunculus fields.The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch was born.
In 2004 Edwin Frazee passed away. Every spring Edwin's ranunculus field blooms with a blaze of bright, beautiful flowers reminding us of his presence and providing a colorful tribute to the early settlers and growers of 1920’s Carlsbad.
Today The Carlsbad Flower Fields is a working ranch, cultural landmark, tourist attraction, and an icon of The City of Carlsbad. Over 125,000 visitors from around the world come each year to enjoy the gorgeous flowers of spring. The Flower Fields showcase nature’s beauty and has become one of Carlsbad's most recognizable landmarks.
The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch are in full bloom for approximately six to eight weeks each year - from early March through early May.
There are 50 acres of flowers to walk so wear comfortable shoes.
Take a hike. There are plenty of great hiking trails in Carlsbad and the surrounding areas.
Visit the California Missions. There are 2 in San Diego County.
Be sure to visit LEGOLAND California at One Legoland Drive, Carlsbad, Ca. (760) 918-5346
Are we there yet? What to take on a road trip:
An ice chest with food, snacks and drinks for everyone. Forget sharing.
Don't forget your chargers, headphones, earplugs, meds, and a bag for garbage.
Take along your Kindle and cell phone to keep yourself and the kids occupied on long road trips. Download any e-books or apps that can help you.
Remember to take along a great camera. We found the Sony Nex-5 to be light weight and user friendly.
Freeways, streets, and traffic jams are frustrating. Take a good GPS system with you and visit off season.