CARLSBAD — Free water is every farmer’s dream, but there comes a point when enough is enough. And for the iconic Flower Fields, that time is now.
While perfectly-timed weather for September’s planting season and rain in January will make for some impressive ranunculus flowers come mid-April, the weather has put a damper on the number of visitors, according to general manager Fred Clarke, who spoke alongside Flower Fields owner Liz Ecke earlier this month for media day.
The flower season runs through Mother’s Day on May 14.
But despite the slow turnout from a public still cautious to venture outdoors due to pesky winter storms, Clarke said this has been the best planting season ever at the fields, with thick stems and plenty of water.
“This year has truly been better than the last couple years on germination,” Clarke said. “The fields we plant late in the season and they’re harder to get to germinate well because when we plant is usually when it rains in January. The rain disturbs the seed bed, but this year we were able to get them in. In January … it was a drizzle and that gave us perfect germination.”
The Flower Fields is also expanding its offerings this year by adding yoga, meditation, picnics, craft events, flower arranging, musicians on the weekends, two food trucks (tacos and pizza) and their “famous” strawberry milkshakes, he said.
Additionally, a new mural was installed by San Diego-based artist Thao Huynh French. The untitled piece consists of elements from peonies, lilies, cyrsthanamum, rose petals and ranunculus, the famous flower dotting the landscape of the fields.
French started the mural in January and finished in February, with a couple breaks due to winter storms.
Another growth business for the Flower Fields is the popular “Blueberry Friday,” where guests can pick ripe blueberries on Fridays. The days in between each Friday allow new berries to ripen between pickings.
The Flower Fields will also introduce a new stage across from the barn, which Clarke said will enhance guests’ experience. Hayrides, sweet pea maze, poinsettia flowers and an enhanced butterfly art garden will return as staple attractions.
“People are ready to get outside,” Clarke said. “Because the crop is so uniform and good, the resulting bloom … is looking like one of the best blooms.”
Clarke and Ecke said once the rains subside, they expect huge crowds this year, especially as the flowers begin to bloom in April. But for now, they are at the mercy of Mother Nature.
More photos below: