Balboa Park’s magical winter garden.

If there’s one garden in Balboa Park that’s truly magical during the winter season, it’s the Japanese Friendship Garden. Beauty thrives all year long in this very special place.

I visited today. I believe right now it’s the only attraction open in Balboa Park. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced museums to close. Even the San Diego Zoo is now closed.

If you’re feeling a bit down this winter, take a slow stroll through the Japanese Friendship Garden.

You’ll feel alive again.

(Artists take note! The Japanese Friendship Garden is now looking for artists to be a part of their next project, which concerns healing through creativity during the coronavirus pandemic. It appears the deadline for submissions is today! Any and all artists are welcome! Click here to learn more!)

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

The gazebos of Balboa Park’s hidden garden.

There’s a hidden garden in Balboa Park that almost nobody visits. It’s called the Administrative Courtyard.

The Administrative Courtyard is green, peaceful and very beautiful. There are fountains. There are arbors with vines and trees. To me, the most wonderful part of this courtyard garden are the gazebos at its corners. They give this special place personality. They are both cheerful and elegant, welcoming visitors with their bright tiled domes and nearby benches.

As I walked through and around the gazebos on a sunny winter’s day, I found many interesting contrasts of light and shadow for my camera.

If you’d like to find the hidden Administrative Courtyard, head to Balboa Park’s Inspiration Point, east of Park Boulevard, and walk behind the Developed Regional Parks Administration Building. That’s the handsome building that stands with its double towers atop a hill.

This corner of Balboa Park, including the Administration Building and nearby Veterans Museum (originally a military chapel), was once part of San Diego’s United States Naval Hospital, which was built in the early 1920s. When the hospital moved into Florida Canyon, Inspiration Point opened up its wonders to you and me.

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Bright images to counteract darkness.

My last blog post concerning the COVID-19 pandemic in San Diego was unusually dark.

So I’ve decided to counteract the darkness by posting bright photographs!

Most of these photos were taken very recently. They’ve been sitting in a folder in my computer for the right moment. And this is it!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Lingering flames in one autumn garden.

It’s mid-autumn. Winter will be here before you know it. Brilliant color in most gardens will be extinguished. But a few sunny “flames” still linger at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park!

I swung by this afternoon!

The fruit on one large Chinese flame tree between the Exhibit House and Koi Pond have mostly turned brown. But one or two clusters still appear reddish high up in the green leaves.

And small purplish flames are still visible in the Bonsai collection. A beautiful fire remains lit in one carefully pruned bougainvillea!

Unfortunately, too much light has been extinguished elsewhere in Balboa Park for the time being. Most museums are closed again due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Two attractions, the Japanese Friendship Garden and San Diego Zoo, remain open–the outdoor parts, at least!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Sunrise at the Balboa Park rose garden.

Early yesterday morning I took photographs of the sunrise from Balboa Park’s beautiful Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden.

This world-class rose garden overlooks Florida Canyon and offers views of San Diego’s mountains in East County.

Should you ever visit Balboa Park, look for the many flowers next to Park Boulevard. This small bit of heaven can be enjoyed south of the pedestrian bridge at the east end of El Prado.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

A beautiful October day in Balboa Park!

Enjoy these photographs taken this afternoon in Balboa Park.

It’s a Wednesday in early October. The summer tourists are gone. The COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 goes on. Not surprisingly, few people were about.

As always, the park was very beautiful.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Cardiff’s beautiful Harbaugh Seaside Parkway.

Beautiful flowers by the path through old Carpentier Parkway, which is turning into Harbaugh Seaside Parkway.
Beautiful greenery by the path through old Carpentier Parkway, which is being transformed into Harbaugh Seaside Parkway.

In Cardiff-by-the-Sea, the bicycle and pedestrian-friendly Cardiff Rail Trail is a relatively new segment of the much longer Coastal Rail Trail, that when finally completed will link San Diego to Oceanside.

Right next to the Cardiff Rail Trail is a garden-like linear park. From what I can gather, this old park maintained by the Cardiff Botanical Society was originally named the Carpentier Parkway, and is now being revamped, turning into Harbaugh Seaside Parkway. I don’t know that much about the project, apart from a few pages I found searching the internet. The George and Betty Harbaugh Charitable Foundation was also instrumental in creating the Harbaugh Seaside Trails at the north end of Solana Beach between Highway 101 and the train tracks.

Yesterday I walked a short distance through the somewhat ragged but quite beautiful Harbaugh Seaside Parkway. Starting at Chesterfield Drive just east of the train tracks, turning off from the paved Cardiff Rail Trail, I walked north up a winding dirt path between flowers, trees, plaques and a sculpture.

I had to brush a thin layer of dirt from engraved pavers and stones.

Enjoy these photographs. I’ve transcribed some of the words that I found on plaques and a weathered sign in a kiosk…

The south end of the dirt path leads away from the Cardiff Rail Trail just north of Chesterfield Drive.
The south end of the dirt path leads away from the Cardiff Rail Trail just north of Chesterfield Drive.

I believe this old wooden Welcome to Cardiff By the Sea sign used to stand beside Highway 101.
I believe this old wooden Welcome to Cardiff By the Sea sign used to stand beside Highway 101.

Bird of Paradise

Lord sent me to this world
as a soul trapped in a human body,
like a bird trapped in a cage
I am waiting for the day
that the Lord will fly me back home.
–Rumi

In memory of my daughter
Chantal Paydar

“Carpentier Parkway proves it is possible to provide beautiful, lush, flowered garden landscaping while using 75% less irrigation water without resorting to using desert plants. This park in downtown Cardiff-by-the-Sea covers the area between San Elijo and the railway tracks from Birmingham to Chesterfield and used to be an ugly patch of weeds…”

Dedicated to the memory of Wayne Holden and to the Honor of all the Volunteers who have given time and donations for the Carpentier Parkway. 1999.

The Cardiff Chamber of Commerce commissioned the statue to be sculptured for Wayne Holden, who died at 47 years old… James Pugh, Sculpturer…

A beautiful old tree has two plaques at its base.
A beautiful old tree has two plaques at its base.

There was a lovely lady from Singapore
Whose humor was great and tales were lore
With a laugh so infectious none could ignore
For all that knew her till the age of eighty-four.

In memory of Kathleen Jack 1928-2013

Good Morning Cardiff by the Sea
Darreld Kitaen 10/2/36 – 1/3/19
Happy Days – Love and Peace

In Loving Memory
Richard W. (Dick) Kratzer

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Almost autumn beauty by the river.

It’s almost autumn. Tomorrow we’ll experience the autumnal equinox in the Northern Hemisphere. And the weather feels a bit like it.

I rose early this morning and found myself walking by the San Diego River in Mission Valley, enjoying the cool air. I moved slowly along the river wondering when the sun might break through the gray clouds. Maybe later in the morning.

Even though the very gradually yellowing leaves and gray, wrinkled trunks of nearby cottonwood trees seemed dull under the overcast, in places I found patches of unexpected light. Here and there new green was pushing through. I even found tiny flowers.

Nature in every season is beautiful.

It’s right there in front of you.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Life returns to Balboa Park one strange summer.

It’s late summer. It has been a very strange year.

The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted almost every aspect of our lives. But even though we still wear face masks and keep our social distance, there’s a sense in Balboa Park that a more normal life is slowly returning.

Earlier in the spring and summer the park was eerily quiet. But in the past week I’ve noticed growing numbers of visitors. There seems to be a desire to recover a small part of a disrupted summer.

Some of the museums have reopened. Vendors and street performers along El Prado are back. Picnics on the grass have become numerous. People are once again posing for pictures by the lily pond.

The sunshine and beautiful flowers never went away.

I took these photographs during walks through Balboa Park yesterday and on Labor Day.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Even more changes come to Balboa Park!

Another weekend, another walk in Balboa Park.

I passed through the sunny park about noontime today and noticed even more changes to San Diego’s crown jewel!

First, the Museum of Man has changed its name. It’s now the Museum of Us. Which not only sounds more inclusive, but it strikes me as less stodgy and more personally relatable. Various banners hung about the California Quadrangle reflect the anthropology museum’s recent name change.

Next, I noticed that scaffolding is now up around the House of Charm’s tower and in front of the historic building’s facade. The Mingei International Museum’s huge renovation and expansion continues!

On the west side of the Plaza de Panama a new bronze plaque honors winners of the Patrons of the Prado ICON Award for Arts and Culture. Winners have greatly benefited many of San Diego’s leading cultural institutions.

Then, as I headed through the park, I noticed a fifth new structure is finally rising at the International Cottages. This cottage, when finished, will be home to the House of the Philippines. I took a photo of an informative banner on the construction fence.

Lastly, I took photos of a small but beautiful change that occurred a couple of months ago. But until today I haven’t blogged about it.

At the corner of Park Boulevard and Presidents Way, at the southwest corner of the Veterans Museum parking lot, a small flower-filled succulent garden has been created!

There are so many changes happening in Balboa Park, it’s hard to keep track of them all!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!