Ecke, a German immigrant, in Hollywood and Beverly Hills. He purchased 40 acres in Encinitas and eventually grew the farm to 850 acres that spread to Carlsbad — including the site of the Flower Fields, which the Eckes still own, and Legoland’s property, which they previously owned.
When Paul Ecke Jr. took over the business, he gradually moved growing operations into greenhouses — nearly 1 million square feet of them in Encinitas. Ecke Jr. traveled the U.S. by train to market the flower, and saw to it that the poinsettia appeared during the holidays on TV shows such as “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson”— further solidifying it as the holiday flower.
Then, with the advent of air travel, cuttings could be flown to gardeners across the country.
“He started a breeding program in the ‘60s and somewhere along the way they went from cut flowers to potted plants; back in the ‘30s and ‘40s you enjoyed as cut flowers, now you have a potted plant that can last a couple weeks,” Ecke said.
At Weidner’s Gardens — among the handful of local growers keeping the city’s poinsettia history alive — Storm said 75,000 pots are grown annually, about 75 percent of which is sold wholesale.
Also growing poinsettias are Sunshine Gardens and FlorAbunda.
Storm said he continues to purchase poinsettia stock from the former Ecke Ranch, where he also attends a presentation each December about the new varieties. He said he enjoys showing visitors to the gardens those varieties, which this year include a bright pink poinsettia, a red-and-white speckled one and orange and yellow ones.
So abundant is the history of poinsettias in Encinitas that the San Dieguito Heritage Museum is launching an inaugural exhibit about the subject.
“My grandfather would get a new variety of poinsettias by luck and a numbers game,” Ecke said. “Every once in while, a mutation would happen and we would have a white one, or a curly one.”
For many years, the Eckes had an edge on the business because they held the breeding secrets.
“They originated here, we would breed them here,” Ecke said. “When we would have fires and diseases, I felt a big responsibility. If we screwed up, we just canceled Christmas.”
Donald ‘Don’ Lee Marr, age 84, of Carlsbad, NM passed away on Sunday, April 05, 2015. Don was born in Riceville, Iowa on November 16, 1930. He was preceded in death by his parents, Avery Peter Marr and Catherine (Regan) Marr-Hemerson and sister Darlene Marr Haskovic. Don is survived by his wife of 62 years, Joan Marie (Bode) Marr. He is also survived by six children & spouses; Russ Marr & wife Laura of Albuquerque, Jeanine Moore & husband Deryl of Albuquerque, Roger Marr of Oregon, Julie Marr of Texas, Kathryn Tudor of Albuquerque, Joe Marr & wife Mary of Colorado, 10 grandchildren, 20 great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.
Don was born and raised in Iowa. Enlisted in the United States Navy and upon his honorable discharge in 1952 he married Joan, his sweetheart. Soon thereafter he was moving his wife and young family to New Mexico. Once in New Mexico, he lived in Farmington, Albuquerque, Navajo Dam, Capitan and finally moved to Carlsbad in 1997. He was a member of St. Edward’s Catholic Church... http://kchanews.com/2016/04/22/donald-don-lee-marr-84-carlsbad-nm/
Whether you stay a half hour or half a day at The Flower Fields of Carlsbad Ranch, there is something magical about the acres of colorful blossoms overlooking the Pacific Ocean. More than 50 acres feature Giant Tecolote Ranunculus flowers with smaller flower beds of snapdragons, roses and other colorful blooms.
The Southern California fields are a direct result of more than 85 years of floral cultivation. It all began in the early 1920s when Luther Gage settled in the area bringing with him ranunculus seeds.
From early March to early May between 100,000 to 200,000 visitors pay to see the glorious natural explosion of color and scent. Features include the famous banded fields of ranunculus as well as other attractions including a greenhouse with cymbidium orchids, a giant American flag made out of flower and a poinsettia display.
For more information: The Flower Fields.