01 Apr Blooming Flower Fields in Carlsbad
After graduating from UCLA, JIll traveled the world looking for unique destinations. She’s been writing about her travels for almost 30 years in various publications.
She writes a weekly restaurant review for the Beverly Press and Park LaBrea News. It’s inserted into the Los Angeles Times every Thursday and delivered to subscribers from Hancock Park to Beverly Hills, Hollywood Hills to the Wilshire Corridor.
BY JILL WEINLEIN
Once a year, a sloping hill in Carlsbad, California becomes ablaze in a rainbow of vibrant colorful ranunculus each Spring.
Located between LEGOLAND and the Pacific Ocean, colors of merlot, purple, salmon, pink, gold, yellow and white can be seen from the highway. Thousands of visitors stop to take a tour of the largest argritourism destination in Southern California. Over 60 acres of land are in full bloom starting March 1 until May 13. Last month I drove down to Carlsbad to witness the Tecolote ranunculus in full bloom. They grow from the finest strain of ranunculus seeds, originally from the Asia Minor, located at the top of Turkey. What makes these flowers
unique is the seeds develop into a tuber producing a buttercup shaped flower that is 14″ to 24″ tall. Planted in stages, they only blossom until Mother’s Day. Some of the flowers are cut, while others stay in the field for farmers to collect the seeds and replant in the same field for the next season. Flowers and bulbs are harvested and packaged to sell at the onsite Armstrong Garden store for the public to take and plant at home. Guests visiting the Flower Fields can ride in a wagon pulled by an antique tractor with an audio commentary sharing the history of this one-of-a-kind farm.
Even though ranunculus are the stars, another beautiful sight is a large American flag made with rows of red, white and blue petunias. This is an interactive flower maze made with blooming, colorful and fragrant sweet peas. While exploring the attraction, I discovered the history of the poinsettia, and walked into a large greenhouse showcasing cymbidium orchids in a multitude of colors.
During April and May there are a variety of fun, special events that include live-musical performances, flower arranging classes, photo workshops, tea in the gardens and sunset wine tastings with food in the fields. Later I checked into the Omni La Costa Resort & Spa for lunch and a facial. Each month the Spa offers a variety of unique treatments. During the month of April, the Spa’s treatments include floral enhanced products. First, I participated in a free Art of Aromatherapy class presented on Thursdays at noon. Outside on the patio near the Spa’s outdoor pool, I learned that essential oils offer a multitude of positive and therapeutic affects in mood and health. Jasmine oil is soothing, relaxing and uplifting, while sweet orange oil calms ones nerves and stimulates lymph flow and digestion. At the Spa Cafe they incorporate flowers into some of their Petal to Plate menu items. The crab and papaya salad was decorated with colorful chopped edible flowers. Selecting the Rose and Neroli facial, I discovered these natural ingredients reduce inflammation and the appearance of fine lines. My esthetician Sherry helped make my skin look soft and radiant for a cocktail class at the nearby Sheraton Carlsbad Resort and dinner Twenty/20. First we learned how to make a champagne cocktail named Fizz Blossom made with vodka, lemon juice, lavender flower syrup, sparkling wine and lavender floral sprigs. Moving into the Twenty/20 restaurant for a four-course meal, each “Petal to Plate” dish by Chef Eddie had flowers to heighten the flavors and provide pleasing color. The hamachi crudo was decorated with cilantro flowers, citrus flowers and radish flowers. The fennel arugula salad had fennel flowers and pansies. The mustard flower crusted lamb had arugula blossoms, and the rooibos-orange blossom cake was sprinkled in a mosaic of flower petals. Be sure to visit Carlsbad during the Spring months, when the beachside town and businesses celebrate the beauty of the Flower Field with special floral activities every April and May. Go to https://visitcarlsbad.com for reservations
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