In Carlsbad, spring has basically arrived. The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch made their colorful debut Monday after being closed for almost a full year.
Whether you’ve been before or visiting for the first time, the sights and smells will mean a little more this year.
One military family heard about the fields on social media.
“Them being able to be out and be able to play and be children, that’s one of the things that we look for, so perfect spot," the mother said.
This time last year, the fields were force to close to the public due to pandemic safety regulations. The fields had only been open for two weeks before the shut down.
Cut flower sales, the bread and butter of the business, took the biggest hit, according to general manager Fred Clarke. Stay-at-home orders kept workers out of the fields, and most shops canceled their orders. Eventually, Clarke had to make the tough decision to save water and clear the flower fields.
“Never in my lifetime would I have thought that I would be mowing down acres of beautiful flowers. But we did,” said Clarke.
Clarke said they were able to keep a few blooming and even sold a few before the end of last year’s season. One year later, visitors can't wait to see the full fields safely. Masks, a health check-in at the entrance and online-only tickets sales are a few of the safety measures in play.
“So the online ticketing and the online purchases of tickets, I think we are going to be able to manage that and have a really safe place for people to come and enjoy really something extraordinary,” said Clarke.
The staff’s sequential planting program plants the flowers in stages to extend blooms throughout the season, so several hills are bare at the moment by design.
Mask requirements might also change the experience a little, but they didn’t bother Cheryl Bechler and Charissa Clark who drove in from the San Fernando Valley.
“Just put your face in the flower and you’ll smell it fine. So it works, you just gotta adapt,” said Clark.
For now, the grounds are quiet and peaceful while weddings and field trips are on hold.
“You’re able to social distance out here. It’s not like going to restaurants, which we don’t do anyway. You know it’s too difficult. There’s so much space. I think this is perfect,” said Bechler.
The season lasts through May 9.