Flowers

Carlsbad Flower Fields: Meet the man behind the colorful displays

250,000 visitors enjoy 10 weeks of wonderful flower displays between March 1 and Mother’s Day every year.

CARLSBAD, Calif. — From March 1 to Mother’s Day, people from all over the world enjoy ten weeks of wonder at the Carlsbad Flower Fields. In this Zevely Zone, I met the man behind the magic.

“There is something about the Flower Fields. There is this power that it has that it exerts on you. You can’t help but smile,” said Fred Clarke, General Manager of the Carlsbad Flower Fields. Spring has sprung and so has the spirit of the longtime flower grower. “You know to boil it down to the fewest words possible? What the Flower Fields does is elevate your mood,” said Fred. “These are ranunculus flowers it took me a long time to learn how to pronounce it, don’t ask me to spell it, ha, ha.”

About 25 years ago, the legendary Ecke Family and the City of Carlsbad set aside the 55 acre parcel to as an agricultural gift for the community in perpetuity.

Every year, Fred and his team turn these fields from brown to beautiful. “It’s a labor of love and it’s a labor of a lot of labor too,” said Fred.

The ranunculus are known as the Persian Butter Cup. “Here is the seed head here you can see one getting ready to form. Every single flower that you see out here is an individual. Every flower was planted from one seed,” said Fred. The ranunculus is a unique flower in two distinct ways. “You know we are probably looking at 20 million flowers right now, do you smell anything? There is no fragrance to ranunculus,” said Fred.

The flowers are wind pollenated which means there are no bees. “Can you imagine if there was bees out here? How many would there be? It might be good for honey production but it wouldn’t be good for our visitors,” said Fred.

A quarter of a million people visit the Carlsbad Flower Fields every season. “I don’t think you can describe it,” said Kathy and Larry Link. The couple says you can’t find flowers like these right now in their state of Minnesota, especially while wearing shorts. “Actually the snow is just starting to melt,” laughed Larry.

“Well it’s probably the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen in my life,” said Susie and Ron Harvey. We asked the couple to try to quantify the rainbow of color. “How many flowers do you think they have here?” I asked. “Oh, I need the math person I am in sales, he was in math,” said Susie. “There has got to be many hundreds of thousands,” said Ron. “Millions,” countered Susie. “I don’t know, millions is an enormous number,” said Ron.

“When you are in these flowers, it overwhelms you,” said Fred. As for the math, he told us it has been a banner year for blossoms. “Look at this, this must be the ninth wonder of the world, I don’t know what the eighth wonder is but that right there is the ninth,” said Fred.

You may not be able to stop and smell the flowers but if you wanted to count them, there are eighty million flowers!

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“Eighty million? Eighty million? You were really off,” said Susie. “I don’t know I’d like a recount, I think there may be a little fraud here,” laughed Ron. To which I said, “We are now going there!”

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The Carlsbad Flower Fields are open until May 8th. Visitors can also enjoy tractor wagon rides and the Sweet Pea Maze. For ticket information click here.

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