Golden State Bulb Growers

In the Community

GSBG: Growing Bulbs and Community

Leave a Comment

Golden State Bulb Growers (GSBG) and the Capitola Begonia Festival Have a Growing History

It’s the end of summer and 13 acres of approximately 50 varieties of begonias are in full bloom. The harvesting field has rows filled with large colorful blossoms. The fog roles in from the ocean nearby covering the flowers during the morning and the sun comes out in the early afternoon making this area of the world ideal for growing these beautiful flowers.

It’s around this time that a festival occurs in Capitola, CA. Large groups of people come together and gather millions of blossoms from this field of tubers to fill Capitola with flowers that have made this part of California the Begonia Capitol.

GSBG was originally founded in Capitola under the name Brown Bulb Ranch, and had a major role in making this city the begonia capitol. They have been responsible for breeding some of the finest varieties of Begonias worldwide and have been a major resource for the blooms used in the begonia festival for over 60 years.

Begonia Festival Poster

Obtained from

In 1952, a Capitola citizen by the name of Peggy Mathews noticed the large fields of begonias grew in the summer and died back in later seasons. These fields were not used for cut flowers, so the blooms seemed to be going to waste. Mathews came up with the idea to pick and use these blossoms to decorate floats on the water which led to the creation of the Capitola Begonia Festival.

The Festival is a family centered event. All in the area are welcome to attend for free and participate in the various activities put on. These include a dance, a blossom decorated float parade down a local creek, sand sculpture contests, and others.

In leading up to the festival this year, the city put on multiple events to increase interest in the festival itself. There was a City Wide Yard Sale where potted Begonias were sold to the public along with artistic posters from past festivals. GSBG was able to provide these plants at the request of the city.

On May 9, 2015 an event was held where local residents could purchase a packet with the materials needed to grow their own begonias. These included instructions on how to grow these flowers so the community could have their own plants when the festival came. GSBG provided these packets to support the efforts of the city leaders to grow interest in the festival through participation.

The Festival has occurred each September since 1952 and continues today. Volunteers still come to GSBG and pick the begonia blossoms to use in the celebration.


A Brown Bulb Ranch truck carrying begonia bulbs

GSBG is a family owned company filled with over 100 years of growing history. It is an organization that has given much to the area where it was founded and continues to give today.

For more information on the Capitola Begonia Festival, visit

Helping Plant the Capitola Begonia Festival

Leave a Comment

GSBG and the Capitola Begonia Festival

GSBG will be providing purchasable materials needed to plant begonias at an event put on by the city May 9, 2015 so the community can take part in the Capitola Begonia Festival.

Facebook Post2Laurie Hill, a member of the Begonia Festival Committee for 14 years stated, “This year the Capitola Begonia Festival hopes to spark a local interest in growing begonias… In August we plan to [have] a Begonia and Window Display contest in Capitola Village.”

Begonias need to be planted by May to grow to their full potential by the end of the season.  By providing these materials during this event, GSBG is allowing local members of the community to participate in the Window Display contest.

The event will be held locally at Esplanade Park from 11-3pm.  The materials will cost $10 and will include ideal a begonia tuber, planting soil and container.

GSBG was founded in the local community over 100 years ago and has played a major role it the Begonia Festival’s creation and continuation.  The blossoms used for the festival are picked from the 13 acres of begonias grown in GSBG’s fields.

For more information on the Capitola Begonia Festival, visit

Supporting the Capitola Begonia Festival

Leave a Comment

Supporting the Begonia Festival in Capitola

GSBG will be providing blooming begonia plants for the public to purchase April 18, 2015 in Capitola, CA to support the city’s efforts of increasing participation in the annual Capitola Begonia Festival.

begonia festival Golden State Bulb Growers

Laurie Hill, a member of the Begonia Festival Committee for 14 years stated, “I have noted an increase in community and tour attendance at the festival but a serious decline in the availability of begonias.”  This decline is due to fewer garden centers in the area selling potted begonias.

The city wants people to have access to growing begonias so they can increase enthusiasm for the plant as the annual Begonia Festival draws near.  GSBG was asked to help by providing already potted and growing bulbs and that is what they are doing.  The planted begonias will be sold at an event being held by the city called “Capitola City Wide Yard Sale.”

The Capitola City Wide Yard Sale will be held April 18, 2015 from 8am – 4pm at 602 Capitola Ave Capitola, CA.  Other merchandise will be sold along with the begonias such as Begonia Festival posters and t-shirts.  All are welcome to attend.

For more information on the Capitola Begonia Festival, visit