Flower Fields open without flowers

Blooms delayed by cold morning weather

CARLSBAD, Calif. - The Flower Fields in Carlsbad, one of San Diego County's most famous attractions, opened for business Friday but were missing one thing -- flowers.

"The cold mornings we've been experiencing for the last month have really slowed down the bloom for us a little," said Flower Fields General Manager Fred Clarke.

Friday was the first day visitors were allowed to walk through the fields.

"We were expected to see blooming fields. Well, they're not blooming exactly," said La Jolla resident Natalia Valenti, who was still able to show her friends from Russia some of the North County's famous ranunculus flower.

"We have a peppering of color," said Clarke, referring to the few hundred flowers that had bloomed. "There's lots of buds on the plants and if this weather holds up, we'll have gorgeous color in another seven to 10 days."

About 125,000 people will visit the fields this season, and Carlsbad officials said the economic impact reaches the millions of dollars for nearby businesses.

"When this stuff is blooming, it's our calling card. We got our shingle up, right. It says, 'We are open. Come on down!'" said Clarke.

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