An outlet mall and car dealership now block the view. But if you look quickly, you can still catch a glimpse of the flowers as you zip north through Carlsbad. The owners sold half the land to developers after we left San Diego. However, the city has apparently promised to retain the remaining flower fields, which are open to the public from March 1 until early May every spring.
En route back home from San Diego, last week, I decided to stop and take photos of the ranunculus. Luckily I arrived at 9:30AM, because an hour later the parking lot was full of drivers trolling for a spot. There was a short ticket line when I got there: adults $14, seniors $13 and kids $7. For an extra $3 I could have ridden on an old tractor that takes passengers around the perimeter of the fields and drops them at the top. I opted to walk on my own.
The fields were nothing short of spectacular. Variegated flowers are planted at the foot of the hill, followed by wide swaths of single color-plants: yellow, white, pink, red, and orange. The effect is breath-taking. Selfie sticks were in abundance as people couldn't get enough of taking pictures of themselves in front of the fields.
I found a maze covered in sweetpea vines, away from the rest of the fields. I entered and soon got stuck. Yikes! Thank goodness two youngsters were running through, so I followed them out. I then made my way up the hill, so I could see the fields and ocean beyond. Again, the view was just glorious.
Unfortunately, everyone has to pass through an area filled with booths festooned in handmade geegaws, t-shirts, and jewelry before entering the fields. Plus everybody is forced to exit through an Armstrong garden supply store. Far too commercial and touristy.
Still, I was completely in heaven as I wandered on my own for an hour.
If you love flowers, gardening, and/or color, you must take a trip to see the ranunculus of Carlsbad, if not this year then certainly next. . .