The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch are a direct result of nearly 85 years of floral cultivation that began with Luther Gage, an early settler and horticulturist that settled in the area in the early 1920’s. Mr. Gage brought Ranunculus seeds to the area and began growing them in his fields next to Frank Frazee’s small vegetable farm in South Oceanside. In 1933 Frank Frazee also started growing ranunculus and introduced his son, Edwin, to the art of seeding, cultivating and irrigating the pretty but not yet popular flower. At the age of 16, Edwin Frazee quit high school to work full time on his father’s burgeoning flower operation.
The ranunculus is native to Asia Minor and a member of the buttercup family. Originally the flowers were single petal and ranged in shades of red and yellow. The beautiful colors and fullness of the flowers you see now are due to the careful selection done by Edwin Frazee over many years. If nature provided a full flower or an unusual color, Mr. Frazee would save the seed and plant them the next year. This resulted in full flowers in thirteen beautiful colors including picotee, (a mixture of variegated colors) that we have growing in The Flower Fields today.
Edwin Frazee made several moves over the years but in 1965 he moved his ranunculus along with gladiolus growing operation to the current site, land owned by the Ecke Family of Encinitas. Paul Ecke, Jr. brought in Mellano and Company, another long-time flower growing family, to take over the growing of the beautiful ranunculus. The stage was set for the enduring preservation and promotion of this enchanting cultural emblem of Carlsbad. Hence, The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch was born!
From its humble beginnings in Luther Gage’s flower beds to one of San Diego County’s most enduring and recognizable landmarks, The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch continue to showcase nature’s artistry and to symbolize the diligence of a couple of the region’s most important and colorful pioneers.