By Alan Devall
CARLSBAD, Calif. (Reuters) - People took pictures amid waist-high blossoms in every imaginable hue of orange, pink, yellow and purple at California's famous Flower Fields in Carlsbad as it opened to the public.
The attraction was closed for most of 2020, due to pandemic-related restrictions, but plummeting coronavirus cases and California's move to the orange tier of lockdown restrictions means the fields can once again welcome a limited number of visitors.
"I am so happy we're open again," said general manager Fred Clarke. "Last year we were nine months in and we had to mow the crop down."
The fields, 34 miles (55 km) north of San Diego, showcase more than 70 million flowers, creating an annual spectacle when they bloom.
"It does feel like things are easing a little bit. It's just great to see the beauty and just get out and enjoy a day with my wife," said Artie Creighton, 53, from Corona, California.
"This is one of the first times that we've been out in a long time."
The Flower Fields, which are open to the public until May 9, are also a working farm that sells flowers, which end up at florists and supermarkets, Clarke said, explaining how they breed their own variety of ranunculus.
"We're hybridizing ranunculus and every year trying to improve the quality, the size of the flower, the brightness of the color, the uniformity of the crop," he added.
"So every year we believe it's getting better and better."
(Reporting by Alan Devall; Writing by Omar Younis; Editing by Karishma Singh and Aurora Ellis)