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Giant Tecolote Ranunculus - Carlsbad Flower Fields Ca
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© Christine Till
For ten weeks each spring, on coastal farmland in Carlsbad, California, 50-plus acres of Giant Tecolote Ranunculus flowers bloom and transform the landscape into a solid expanse of vibrant, banded color. For those living in the region, color in The Flower Fields signifies the beginning of spring - a reliable and welcome rite of renewal and regeneration. Carlsbad is ideal for growing ranunculus, as this Southern California coastal region provides a mild winter climate, dry summers, and a well drained sandy soil.
Ranunculus (meaning 'little frog' in Latin because they live near water like frogs) is an umbrella term that encompasses about 600 species of plants including buttercups, spearworts, and water crowfoots. This large, poppy-like flowers which bear a resemblance to peonies are often confused with roses, and understandably so, as the large, crepe paper-like flower can resemble a rose in full bloom. As a point of fact, ranunculus were very popular in Europe, considered the flower, before roses took over that distinction . The Tecolote Giant Ranunculus is one of the finest strains of ranunculus plants in the world. This giant gems' exquisitely layered crepe-thin petals and ethereal hues of crimson red, snow white, apricot pink, marmalade orange, plum purple and sunshine yellow is so delicate that at first glance it looks like they are made of tissue paper. This strain of ranunculus, the Giant Tecolote hybrid, was originally a single-petaled flower until Edwin Frazee of California carefully bred in the double form.
The Flower Fields have a lot of history going through a succession of owners starting with the Frazees and now the Ecke's. Surprisingly, the place is not a huge profit maker and was nearly sold off to developers. Land in Carlsbad is very valuable these days, especially 50 acres right near the coast. The city and the Coastal Commission intervened preventing the sell-off and creating a fund to save this spring time treasure for future generations.
For about 10 weeks starting in March, the 50-acre dazzling rainbow of beautiful ranunculus flowers set on a hillside that overlooks the striking California coastline is a feast to the eye. A visit to the Carlsbad Flower Fields will surcharge your entire perception of living in So Cal. It's a worthy trip to make for anyone that can appreciate flowers.
February 14th, 2013
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