Golden State Bulb Growers

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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *