Japanese flower arrangement show in Balboa Park!

This weekend's annual show in Balboa Park by Ikebana International features beautiful Japanese flower arrangements.
This weekend’s annual flower show in Balboa Park by Ikebana International features beautiful Japanese floral arrangements.

I know almost nothing about ikebana, the ancient art of Japanese flower arrangement. But I do recognize stunning beauty and appreciate human creativity!

Check out these photos of amazing works of art at the annual Ikebana International flower show in Balboa Park’s Casa del Prado. The show continues through the weekend!

Exquisite displays of ikebana--the art of Japanese flower arrangement--can be seen inside the Casa del Prado.
Exquisite displays of ikebana–the art of Japanese flower arrangement–can be seen inside the Casa del Prado.
One of many stunning works of floral art that one can see this weekend in Balboa Park.
One of many stunning works of floral art that one can see this weekend in Balboa Park.
Freestyle arrangement by Mitsuko Takeya. Materials include fig branch, protea, palm leaves and leather fern.
Freestyle arrangement by Mitsuko Takeya. Materials include fig branch, protea, palm leaves and leather fern.
Arrangement by Noriko McDaniel. The Ohara School of Ikebana. Materials include magnolia, veronica, purple-crest aeonium, wisteria vine and philodendron.
Arrangement by Noriko McDaniel. The Ohara School of Ikebana. Materials include magnolia, veronica, purple-crest aeonium, wisteria vine and philodendron.
Freestyle arrangement by Patricia Fuchs. Sogetsu School of Ikebana. Materials include anthurium, dogwood, pom pom mum, japanese rope.
Freestyle arrangement by Patricia Fuchs. Sogetsu School of Ikebana. Materials include anthurium, dogwood, pom pom mum, Japanese rope.
Landscape style arrangement by Cris Bugarin. Ohara School of Ikebana. Materials include forsythia, camellia, parsley, iris leaves.
Landscape style arrangement by Cris Bugarin. Ohara School of Ikebana. Materials include forsythia, camellia, parsley, iris leaves.
Freestyle arrangement by Judy Cliffton. Sogetsu School of Ikebana. Materials include red bud, white cherry, ranunculus.
Freestyle arrangement by Judy Cliffton. Sogetsu School of Ikebana. Materials include red bud, white cherry, ranunculus.
Freestyle arrangement by Sue Elsayeh. Ichiyo School of Ikebana. Materials include forsythia and daffodils.
Freestyle arrangement by Sue Elsayeh. Ichiyo School of Ikebana. Materials include forsythia and daffodils.
Freestyle tropical arrangement by Inge Johansen. Sogetsu School of Ikebana. Materials include heliconia, ginger, gladiolus, white orchid, variegated ti leaf.
Freestyle tropical arrangement by Inge Johansen. Sogetsu School of Ikebana. Materials include heliconia, ginger, gladiolus, white orchid, variegated ti leaf.
A beautiful, complex work of art composed entirely of horsetail by Hiroko Szechinski.
A beautiful, complex work of art composed entirely of horsetail by Hiroko Szechinski.
Exquisitely arranged beauty, made from elements of the natural world.
Exquisitely arranged beauty, made from elements of the natural world.
A delight to the eye.
A delight to the eye. Gorgeous symmetry.
A bouquet of delicate beauty.
A bouquet of delicate beauty.
A small garden of colorful bursts and delights.
A small garden of colorful bursts and delights.
Intertwining flowers and leaves like a small, magical arch.
Intertwining flowers and leaves like a small, magical arch.
Many eyes at the ikebana show took in the jewel-like creations.
Many eyes at the annual ikebana show took delight in the perfect jewel-like creations.
A pink arrangement that seems to have materialized from a fairy tale.
A pink arrangement that seems to have materialized from a fairy tale.
Stunning colors and contrasts.
Stunning colors and contrasts.
A fantastic arrangement by Rumi Rice. Human creativity and natural materials combine to bring one dream to life.
A fantastic arrangement by Rumi Rice. Human creativity and natural materials combine to bring a dream to life.
A spectacular arrangement by ikebana Grandmaster Akiko Bourland. Materials include loquat, rose, rush.
A spectacular arrangement by ikebana Grandmaster Akiko Bourland. Materials include loquat, rose, rush.
Beauty designed by Keiko Schneider, President of Ikebana International 119.
Lavish beauty designed by Keiko Schneider, President of Ikebana International #119.
A fine vase containing orchids, palm leaves and dry branch.
A fine vase containing orchids, palm leaves and dry branch.
A vertical style arrangement by Barbara Adams. Materials include Mediterranean fan palm and mums.
A vertical style arrangement by Barbara Adams. Materials include Mediterranean fan palm and mums.
Another work of great beauty, by ikebana instructor Debbie Garofalo.
Another work of great beauty, by ikebana instructor Debbie Garofalo.
Pat Schneider combined a simple orchid, peacock feather and palm leaf.
Pat Schneider combined a simple orchid, peacock feather and palm leaf.
Tulips, like colorful fireworks!
Tulips, like colorful fireworks!

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!

I’ve written a very short story about delicate cherry blossoms, and the passage of time. It’s titled A Short Bloom. Click to read it!

A beautiful environmental Sea Wall in Hillcrest.

A beautiful mural in Hillcrest behind Artist and Craftsman Supply depicts flowers and sea life.
A beautiful mural in Hillcrest behind Artist and Craftsman Supply depicts flowers and sea life.

Walk around to the rear parking lot at Artist and Craftsman Supply on Fourth Avenue in Hillcrest and you’ll discover a very colorful mural. It was painted in 2016 by Jet Martinez during the Sea Wall: Murals for Oceans festival in San Diego, an environmental street art project organized by the PangeaSeed Foundation.

This beautiful spray paint mural concerns the impact of floriculture on ocean ecosystems. Many flowers are grown in San Diego’s North County. In floriculture, pesticide runoff into the ocean can be a problem. Fertilizer runoff into the ocean can also cause harmful effects, including massive algae blooms and hypoxic (low-oxygen) areas.

Colorful street art painted by Jet Martinez during the 2016 Sea Wall Murals for Oceans festival.
Environmental street art created by Jet Martinez during the 2016 Sea Wall: Murals for Oceans festival.
The left part of the mural. Like an underwater garden.
The left part of the mural. Like an underwater garden.
A fish in the ocean needs a clean environment to live.
A fish in the ocean needs clean water to live.
A bright orange fish swims past jewel-like flowers.
A bright orange fish swims past jewel-like flowers.

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 fun photos for you to share and enjoy!

Photos of the amazing Cherry Blossom Festival!

Walking through a profusion of pink flowers at the Japanese Friendship Garden during the 2017 Cherry Blossom Festival in Balboa Park.
Walking through a profusion of pink flowers at the Japanese Friendship Garden during the 2017 Cherry Blossom Festival in Balboa Park.

Wow! Here come photos of the amazing annual Cherry Blossom Festival, which is taking place this weekend at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park.

I recommend a visit! You’ll see lots of jaw-dropping beauty, devour lots of yummy food, and enjoy many fun and fascinating aspects of Japanese culture.

If you shy away from crowds, it’s probably best to arrive in the morning just as the festival opens. This event becomes more and more popular every year!

Tomorrow–Sunday–the festival is open from 10am to 6pm.

The annual Cherry Blossom Festival takes place all weekend. If you're in San Diego and you read this blog in time, make sure to go!
The annual Cherry Blossom Festival takes place all weekend. If you’re in San Diego and you read this blog in time, make sure to go!
Japanese art, gifts and crafts can be found all around the garden during the festival.
Japanese art, gifts and crafts can be found all around the garden during the festival.
Many people gravitate toward the covered patio near the koi pond.
Many people gravitate toward the covered patio near the koi pond.
Colorful koi, symbols of longevity in Japan.
Colorful koi, symbols of longevity in Japan.
Some attending the Cherry Blossom Festival try their hand at the ancient game of Go.
Some attending the Cherry Blossom Festival try their hand at the ancient game of Go.
The strategic game of Go originated in China over 2500 years ago. Boards for the Japanese version are often prized for their beauty.
The strategic game of Go originated in China over 2500 years ago. Boards for the Japanese version are often prized for their beauty.
Some super smiles at this table!
Some super smiles at this table!
Gazing beyond the beautiful Light of Friendship at many vendor tents during the festival of cherry blossoms.
Gazing beyond the beautiful Light of Friendship at many vendor tents during the festival of cherry blossoms.
Lots of fun Japanese stuff is for sale at the event.
Lots of fun Japanese stuff is for sale at the event.
Yoshi's Jams are completely organic! So was that smile!
Yoshi’s Jams are completely organic! So was that smile!
This cool guy had genuine samurai swords for sale.
This cool guy had genuine samurai swords for sale.
Some ladies at one table were demonstrating Japanese brush painting. A special exhibition in Balboa Park's Casa del Prado will take place March 25 and 26.
Some ladies at one table were demonstrating Japanese brush painting. A special exhibition in Balboa Park’s Casa del Prado will take place March 25 and 26.
Exquisite Japanese artwork created by a careful, inspired hand.
Exquisite Japanese artwork created by a careful, inspired hand.
People head through the Charles C. Dail Memorial Gate and toward the Lower Garden, where most of the blossoming cherry trees await.
People head through the Charles C. Dail Memorial Gate and toward the Lower Garden, where most of the blossoming cherry trees await.
We descend into beauty.
We descend into beauty.
Walking into heaven.
Walking into heaven.
Spring cherry blossoms line the walkways and the gentle stream that runs through the garden's canyon.
Spring cherry blossoms line the walkways and the gentle stream that runs through the Lower Garden.
A purple parasol and pink flowers.
A purple parasol and pink flowers.
Lots of food could be found around the Inamori Pavilion. These guys were preparing Okonomiyaki--yummy Japanese pancakes.
Lots of food could be found around the Inamori Pavilion. These guys were preparing Okonomiyaki–yummy Japanese pancakes.
Inside the Inamori Pavilion, a variety of marionettes are on display. The Edo Marionettes will perform at the Japanese Friendship Garden on April 30.
Inside the Inamori Pavilion, a variety of marionettes are on display. The Edo Marionettes will perform at the Japanese Friendship Garden on April 30.
I was drawn to these tents in the garden, where there was even more food!
I was drawn to these tents in the sun-splashed garden, where there was even more food!
Preparing Taiyaki, Japanese fish-shaped cakes.
Preparing Taiyaki–Japanese fish-shaped cakes.
I'd never eaten Taiyaki before, and it was really good!
I’d never eaten Taiyaki before, and it was really good!
But, of course, the Japanese cherry trees are the star of the show. Crowds walk through bursts of pink flowers and enjoy the green grass.
But, of course, the Japanese cherry trees are the star of the show. Crowds walk through bursts of pink flowers and rest on the green grass.
Visitors to the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park enjoy the annual Cherry Blossom Festival!
Visitors to the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park enjoy the annual Cherry Blossom Festival!

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 might enjoy reading my new short story The Child and the Koi.

A sudden discovery of beautiful art!

An amazing drawing of a human eye. Window to the soul.
An amazing drawing of a human eye. Window to the soul.

A professional henna tattoo artist was set up near Seaport Village, and as I walked by I was struck by a drawing that she was patiently working on. You can see it in my second photograph.

Jaya Tulasi is a super nice person who let me see some of her artwork. Her drawings are so elegant and precise that they truly are stunning. It’s like looking at small pieces of perfection. She likes to draw while waiting for henna customers. All I can say is, keep on drawing! Wow!

Jaya is based out of San Diego and Los Angeles. Please check out her website!

This elegant drawing of a sunflower stopped me in my tracks. Patience combined with talent.
This elegant drawing of a sunflower stopped me in my tracks. Patience combined with great talent.

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 short hike in San Diego National Wildlife Refuge.

There was no need to alter this photo in the slightest way. The colors appeared astonishingly bright this morning in the sunlit mountains and hills east of San Diego.
There was no need to alter this photo in the slightest way. Nature’s colors appeared astonishingly rich this morning in the sunlit mountains and hills east of San Diego.

My 9:00 hike this morning turned out to be shorter than expected. That’s because I was the only one to show up for a scheduled nature hike in a beautiful section of the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge. Following directions, I parked a few minutes early at the Par 4 trailhead in Jamul, near the Cottonwood Golf Course. I kept checking my watch, hoping the US Fish & Wildlife Service ranger would arrive. I was looking forward to identifying the spring wildflowers and flowering plants along the trail. But it wasn’t to be. I suppose the event was cancelled due to yesterday’s rain.

I didn’t walk far because I didn’t want to adversely impact the still wet trail. Near the trailhead the footing was packed and firm, and my shoes barely made an impression, but perhaps a quarter mile into my hike there was just too much mud to continue.

As you can see, the hills of San Diego are bright green! This winter has been very rainy. During the summer the green in these photos will vanish as the native grasses, sagebrush and scrubby chaparral dry out in the relentless Southern California sun.

During my short hike, I did capture a few photos of tiny flowers and a bird! I’m sorry to report that I can’t properly identify them. Perhaps you can!

Sign at the Par 4 trailhead includes information for hikers and those on horseback. The trail follows the Sweetwater River in Jamul.
Sign at the Par 4 trailhead includes information for hikers and those on horseback. The trail follows the Sweetwater River in Jamul.
The San Diego National Wildlife Refuge Complex includes four areas designed to protect wildlife in Southern California.
The San Diego National Wildlife Refuge Complex includes four areas designed to protect wildlife in Southern California. (Click image to enlarge.)
There are patchy wildlife refuges in some of San Diego County's undeveloped areas. This map shops where they are located. The Par 4 trailhead is near the top of the bigger green blob.
There are various wildlife refuges in San Diego County’s undeveloped areas. This map shows where several managed by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service are located. The Par 4 trailhead is near the top of the bigger green blob.
A wet trail heads west over a green landscape. Many birds were seen flying across the open space.
A damp trail leads west over a green landscape. Many birds were seen flying across this open space. The morning’s short hike was made pleasurable by a fresh cool breeze and warm sunlight.
Beautiful tiny yellow flowers and raindrops on green leaves. What this plant is, I don't know. Leave a comment if you do!
Beautiful tiny yellow flowers and lingering raindrops on green leaves. What this plant is, I don’t know. Leave a comment if you do!
I spotted this little bird perched on a twig near the hiking trail.
I spotted this little bird perched on a twig near the hiking trail.
I tried to identify this small bird, using my California Birds pocket guide, but I couldn't decide. If you know, leave a comment!
I tried to identify this small bird using my California Birds pocket guide, but I couldn’t decide. If you know, leave a comment!
I'm no expert, but I did find these tiny jewel-like lavender flowers to be beautiful.
I’m no expert, but I did find these tiny jewel-like lavender flowers to be beautiful.
Dramatic white clouds in a blue sky. Natural beauty in San Diego's East County the day after a big storm.
Dramatic white clouds in a blue sky. Natural beauty in San Diego’s East County the day after a big storm.

After this very small hike, I drove along Highway 94 to Campo, winding my way through bright green rocky mountains. Then I headed back toward San Diego via Buckman Springs and Pine Valley, without any particular notion of where to stop. Then it occurred to me: Why not hike Cowles Mountain today? So I did, as you’ll see in the next blog post!

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 few cherry blossoms have opened in Balboa Park!

A cherry blossom has opened in mid-February at Balboa Park's beautiful Japanese Friendship Garden!
A cherry blossom has opened in mid-February at Balboa Park’s beautiful Japanese Friendship Garden!

Look what I discovered this afternoon while walking through Balboa Park’s Japanese Friendship Garden. A few cherry blossoms have opened!

I spoke to one of the master gardeners and he thinks there might be quite a show of beautiful cherry blossoms this year, because of our rainy winter. So everyone in San Diego who loves springtime and breathtaking displays of dreamy flowers should probably go to the Japanese Friendship Garden’s 12th Annual Cherry Blossom Festival! It takes place Friday, March 10 through Sunday, March 12.

I’ll be there!

A solitary burst of pink on a mostly bare cherry tree. A wet winter might produce a an amazing show of spring blossoms.
A solitary burst of pink on a mostly bare cherry tree. This unusually wet winter might produce an amazing show of spring blossoms.
Gray cherry trees in winter, but spring is around the corner!
Gray cherry trees in winter, but spring is around the corner!
Early cherry blossoms appear in Balboa Park.
A few early cherry blossoms appear in San Diego’s wonderful Balboa Park!

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!

Do you love Balboa Park? Follow my special blog which I call Beautiful Balboa Park!

Plants that attract birds, butterflies in San Diego.

Purple Trailing Lantana (Lantana montevidensis) attracts hummingbirds, butterflies, and a wide range of feeding insects and birds.
Purple Trailing Lantana (Lantana montevidensis) attracts hummingbirds, butterflies, and a wide range of feeding insects and birds.

Tweet Street park on Cortez Hill has a sign with some very useful information. It shows shrubs and trees that attract local San Diego birds and butterflies.

Please refer to the information on the sign and my photo captions. As you can see, some of these plants are native to San Diego. All are beautiful and would fit nicely in most San Diego gardens. And all naturally attract winged life. Even in the heart of the big city.

A sign in the Tweet Street linear park on Cortez Hill shows beautiful plants that attract local San Diego birds and butterflies.
A sign at the Tweet Street linear park on Cortez Hill, a neighborhood in downtown San Diego.  It shows beautiful plants that attract local birds and butterflies.
Jacaranda (Jacaranda acutifolia) is a flowering tree that attracts hummingbirds and butterflies. The trees host insects that are a food supply for insectivorous birds such as finches.
Jacaranda (Jacaranda acutifolia) is a flowering tree that attracts hummingbirds and butterflies. The trees host insects that are a food supply for insectivorous birds such as finches.
Toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia) is a San Diego native. White flowers in March attract hummingbirds and butterflies. In winter, red berries are food for many different birds.
Toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia) is a San Diego native. White flowers in March attract hummingbirds and butterflies. In winter, red berries are food for many different birds.
Southern Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora "Samuel Sommer") provides shade and perches for birds. The fragrant white flowers attract bees and hummingbirds.
Southern Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora “Samuel Sommer”) provides shade and perches for birds. The fragrant white flowers attract bees and hummingbirds.
Butterfly Bush (Buddleja davidii "Purple Passion") has flowers that are a rich source of nectar, attracting hummingbirds and butterflies.
Butterfly Bush (Buddleja davidii “Purple Passion”) has flowers that are a rich source of nectar, attracting hummingbirds and butterflies.
Ornamental Strawberry (Fragaria chiloensis) has flowers, fruit and seeds that make a good food source for many birds.
Ornamental Strawberry (Fragaria chiloensis) has flowers, fruit and seeds that make a good food source for many birds.
Prostrate Rosemary (Rosemarinus officinalis "Prostratus") is an herb that attracts bees, butterflies and insects that many birds eat.
Prostrate Rosemary (Rosemarinus officinalis “Prostratus”) is an herb that attracts bees, butterflies and insects that many birds eat.
Deer Grass (Muhlenbergia rigens) is a native clumping grass abundant with seeds that birds eat. The high grass tufts also serve as shelter.
Deer Grass (Muhlenbergia rigens) is a native clumping grass.  It’s abundant with seeds that birds eat. The tall grass tufts also serve as shelter.
Rockrose (Cistus "Sunset") attracts birds and insects with its magenta color and fragrance.
Rockrose (Cistus “Sunset”) attracts birds and insects with its magenta color and fragrance.
Copper Canyon Daisy (Tagetes lemmonii) is native to Mexico and attracts butterflies with its strong lemon-mint fragrance.
Copper Canyon Daisy (Tagetes lemmonii) is native to Mexico.  It attracts butterflies most of the year with its strong lemon-mint fragrance.
Torch Lily (Kniphofia uvaria) also known as Red Hot Poker, produces sweet nectar that hummingbirds love.
Torch Lily (Kniphofia uvaria) also known as Red Hot Poker, produces sweet nectar that hummingbirds absolutely love.
Lily of the Nile (Agapanthus africanus) is a popular perennial that attracts both butterflies and hummingbirds.
Lily of the Nile (Agapanthus africanus) is a popular perennial that attracts both butterflies and hummingbirds.

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 fun and useful photos that you can share and enjoy!