Thought-provoking contrasts in Mission Valley.

Beautiful roses planted between the Town and Country Hotel and busy Fashion Valley Road in Mission Valley.
Beautiful roses planted between the Town and Country Hotel and busy Fashion Valley Road in Mission Valley.

This morning, after I took photos of the funny sign at the Town and Country Hotel (see my previous post), I walked north up Fashion Valley Road and turned east on Riverwalk Drive, following the San Diego River. I then passed under Highway 163 via the San Diego River Trail, and arrived at the Hazard Center shopping mall. From there I followed several streets to work.

During my walk between the Town and Country and Hazard Center I took a series of interesting photographs. When I reviewed my photos this evening, I realized they presented complex and thought-provoking contrasts.

Morning sprinklers have irrigated another perfect rose.
Morning sprinklers have irrigated another perfect rose.
A duck in the San Diego River, as seen from the pedestrian bridge between the Town and Country and the Fashion Valley Transit Center.
A duck in the San Diego River, as seen from the pedestrian bridge between the Town and Country and the Fashion Valley Transit Center.
Dozens of tame river ducks like to gather by the bus station to eat crumbs offered by humans.
Dozens of tame river ducks like to gather by the bus station to eat crumbs offered by humans.
Continuing east along Riverwalk Drive, looking at greenery by the San Diego River.
Continuing east along Riverwalk Drive, looking at native greenery by the San Diego River.
Wild, ragged sunflower blossoms ablaze in morning light.
Wild, ragged sunflower blossoms ablaze in morning light.
Fresh green sycamore leaves by the walking path.
Fresh green sycamore leaves by the walking path.
I'm approaching some major construction around where Highway 163 passes under Friars road north of the river. The project is calculated to ease traffic flow.
I’m approaching some major construction near the place where Highway 163 passes under Friars Road north of the river. The project is calculated to ease traffic flow.
Urban development requires work, resources and extensive planning.
Wild grass and urban development.
Heavy machinery sculpting the Earth.
Heavy machinery sculpting the Earth.
Construction worker by stacked fencing.
Construction worker by stacked security fencing.
Ants work busily on a nearby native flower.
Ants work busily on a nearby native flower.
A perfect bloom planted near the Hazard Center shopping center, contrasted with bare concrete.
A perfect bloom planted near the Hazard Center shopping center, contrasted with bare concrete.
A mural on the south side of Hazard Center shows people flocking to the mall.
A mural on the south side of Hazard Center shows people flocking to the mall.
Bronze sculpture at Hazard Center of Bruce R. Hazard - Everyone's Friend. For almost a century R.E. Hazard Contracting Company has built many of San Diego's freeway, road, commercial and subdivision projects.
Bronze sculpture at Hazard Center of Bruce R. Hazard – Everyone’s Friend. For almost a century R.E. Hazard Contracting Company has helped build many of San Diego’s freeway, road, commercial and subdivision projects.
Another nearby sculpture of Bruce's father features this plaque. "Pappy" R.E. Hazard, Sr. 1880-1975. A man's man, paper boy, businessman, horseman, hunter, fisherman.
Another nearby sculpture of Bruce’s father features this plaque. “Pappy” R.E. Hazard, Sr. 1880-1975. A man’s man, paper boy, businessman, horseman, hunter, fisherman.
Be Just and Fear Not. Pappy Hazard, founder of a major construction firm in San Diego, collected old wagons and stagecoaches. Today you can find much of his collection in Seeley Stable, a museum in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.
Be Just and Fear Not. Pappy Hazard, founder of a major construction firm in San Diego, collected old wagons and stagecoaches. Today you can find much of his collection at Seeley Stable, a museum in Old Town San Diego State Historic 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!

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!

Another glorious spring Sunday in Balboa Park!

People walk through Balboa Park's sunlit Alcazar Garden on a beautiful spring Sunday.
People walk through Balboa Park’s sunlit Alcazar Garden on a beautiful spring Sunday afternoon.

I blog about Balboa Park frequently. I hope you’re not getting tired of it. I’m not.

I live downtown, very close to San Diego’s crown jewel, so I walk up to Balboa Park most Sundays. That’s what I did this afternoon.

It truly felt like spring today. The sun was out, the air was warm, flowers were blooming, fountains were splashing, and Balboa Park sparkled in its full glory.

I took so many photos, I’ll be posting many of them on my other website, Beautiful Balboa Park. Those upcoming posts will concern the amazing art collection of the San Diego History Center, and loads of fun artwork that I spotted in Spanish Village. Look for those photos in the next couple days.

Have a great week ahead!

The Southern California Plumeria Society was having their annual cutting sale inside the Casa del Prado. I learned they'll have many more cuttings at the upcoming Fiesta Botanica event in Balboa Park.
The Southern California Plumeria Society was having their annual cutting sale inside the Casa del Prado. I learned they’ll have many more cuttings at the May 26th Fiesta Botanica event in Balboa Park.
Someone plays with a hula hoop in the Casa del Prado's outer courtyard.
Someone plays with a hula hoop in the Casa del Prado’s outer courtyard.
Bright yellow sunflowers in hand blown glass vases in Spanish Village Art Center.
Bright yellow sunflowers in hand blown glass vases in Spanish Village Art Center.
A park squirrel seemed fascinated by this dragonfly sculpture at the edge of a rooftop in Spanish Village.
A park squirrel seemed fascinated by this shiny dragonfly sculpture at the edge of a rooftop in Spanish Village.
Playing sprightly music for passersby near the House of Hospitality.
Playing sprightly music for passersby near the House of Hospitality.
A clay female figure on display in one glass case outside the entrance to the Mingei International Museum.
A clay female figure on display in one glass case outside the entrance to the Mingei International Museum.
A family walks toward the Spreckels Organ Pavilion. It's a perfect spring day to be outside in San Diego.
A family walks toward the Spreckels Organ Pavilion. It’s a perfect spring day to be outside in San Diego.
A bicyclist has arrived for the two o'clock Sunday organ concert in Balboa Park, which is always free.
A bicyclist has arrived for the two o’clock Sunday organ concert in Balboa Park, which is always free.
A gorgeous spring bloom in the Japanese Friendship Garden.
A gorgeous spring bloom in the Japanese Friendship Garden.
Some people emerge from a walk through green Palm Canyon.
Some people emerge from a walk through green Palm Canyon.
I watched a bit of folk dancing by the Cabrillo Dancers inside the Balboa Park Club.
I watched a bit of folk dancing by the Cabrillo Dancers inside the Balboa Park Club.
2018's youthful House of Pacific Relations queens line the stage during a program at the International Cottages.
This year’s youthful House of Pacific Relations queens stand on stage during a program at the International Cottages.
It seems there is now limited time to save the historic Starlight Bowl. If you want to help, please take action and visit savestarlight.org today!
It seems there is now limited time to save the historic Starlight Bowl. If you want to help, please take action and visit savestarlight.org today!
I'm a big supporter of restoring the Palisades section of Balboa Park. Learn more at the Committee of One Hundred's c100.org website.
I’m a big supporter of restoring the Palisades section of Balboa Park. Learn more at the Committee of One Hundred’s c100.org website.
Looking down at the fountain inside the Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden.
Looking down at the fountain inside the Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden.
Thousands of beautiful spring roses are in bloom.
Thousands of beautiful spring roses are in bloom.
Walking over the Park Boulevard pedestrian bridge from the rose and desert gardens, back toward the San Diego Natural History Museum and Plaza de Balboa.
Walking over the Park Boulevard pedestrian bridge from the rose and desert gardens, back toward the San Diego Natural History Museum and Plaza de Balboa.
A guitarist plays in some shade near the splashing Bea Evenson Fountain in the Plaza de Balboa.
A guitarist plays in some shade near the Bea Evenson Fountain in the Plaza de Balboa.

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 natural beauty of Sweetwater Marsh.

Early this afternoon I enjoyed a short walk through Sweetwater Marsh. I’ve already blogged about a guided hike through the marsh here, where you’ll find a bit more detailed information.

My solo walk today was for quiet introspection. And the absorption of natural beauty.

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!

Photos of 2018 Cherry Blossom Festival!

People descend along a path into the beautiful Lower Garden during the 2018 Japanese Friendship Garden's Cherry Blossom Festival.
People descend along a path into the beautiful Lower Garden during the Japanese Friendship Garden’s 2018 Cherry Blossom Festival.

I took many photos today at the Cherry Blossom Festival in Balboa Park. After the morning drizzle subsided, I headed up to the Japanese Friendship Garden where I knew there would be lots of fun, food and breathtaking natural beauty.

Not quite as many blooms as last year–this winter has been drier than average–but still an absolutely wonderful event. Thank you JFG!

Come along with me as we visit the festival…

The 2018 Cherry Blossom Festival at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park, as wonderful as ever.
The 2018 Cherry Blossom Festival at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park is just as wonderful as ever.
Outside the garden, steps from the entrance is a plaque. It's a replica of one in Yokohoma, sister city of San Diego. The left half contains the theme song of the Yokohama-San Diego Friendship Committee.
Outside the garden, a short distance from the entrance is a plaque. It’s a replica of another plaque in Yokohoma, sister city of San Diego. The left half contains the theme song of the Yokohama-San Diego Friendship Committee.
Sheet music and lyrics for San Diego, The Beautiful.
Sheet music and lyrics for San Diego, The Beautiful.

If you’d like to hear San Diego, The Beautiful, click here!

The festival had many exhibitors in the courtyard near the JFG office.
The festival had many exhibitors in the courtyard near the JFG office.
Smiling young ladies were showing visitors how to fold bits of pink paper into cherry blossoms!
Smiling young ladies were showing visitors how to fold bits of pink paper into cherry blossoms!
A poster explains Cherry Trees at the JFG. Most in the garden are Pink Cloud cherry trees. They have recently acquired three more types--Taiwan Flowering, Okame and First Lady.
A poster explains Cherry Trees at the JFG. Most in the garden are Pink Cloud cherry trees. They have recently acquired three more types–Taiwan Flowering, Okame and First Lady.
Cherry blossoms in Japanese culture represent the transience and beauty of life.
Cherry blossoms in Japanese culture represent the transience and beauty of life.

The transience of cherry blossoms inspired a very short story, which I titled A Short Bloom. To read it, click here!

This part of the poster explains the six stages of bloom for cherry blossoms, from green bud to full, glorious bloom.
This part of the poster explains the six stages of bloom for cherry blossoms, from green bud to full, glorious bloom.
Vendors showcasing crafts and artwork at the festival included Tum Tum Arts.
Vendors showcasing crafts and gifts at the festival included Tum Tum Arts.
Some cool artwork by Jed Henry on display at one table.
Some cool Japanese artwork by Jed Henry on display at one table.
I learned a bit about making Washi Dolls from one nice lady at the festival.
I learned a bit about making Washi Dolls from one nice lady at the festival. Her mother makes these.
Japanese crafts include the making of beautiful dolls with washi paper.
Japanese crafts include the making of beautiful dolls with washi paper.
The game of go is played near the Japanese Friendship Garden's koi pond. Funny--by sheer coincidence I watched A Beautiful Mind last night. This mental game bookends the touching film.
The game of go is played near the Japanese Friendship Garden’s koi pond. Funny–by sheer coincidence I watched A Beautiful Mind last night. This mental game–more complicated than chess–begins and ends that inspiring film.
More art by the koi pond--some colorful handmade cards.
More art by the koi pond–some colorful handmade cards.
People head through the Charles C. Dail Memorial Gate to enter the Lower Garden, where many flowering cherry trees await.
People head through the Charles C. Dail Memorial Gate to enter the Lower Garden, where many flowering cherry trees await.
A master gardener at work pruning on the Sunday of the Cherry Blossom Festival.
A master gardener hard at work by the path. He’s pruning some greenery on the Sunday of the Cherry Blossom Festival.
A beautiful stream runs past many clouds of pink.
Now we are in the Lower Garden. In mid-March, the beautiful stream runs past many delicate clouds of pink.
A bit like heaven, perhaps.
A bit like heaven, perhaps.
People stand on the waterfall bridge looking toward the Inamori Pavilion.
People stand on the waterfall bridge gazing toward the Inamori Pavilion.
Walking past an ornamental Japanese lantern to the pavilion, where lots of food awaits!
Walking past an ornamental Japanese lantern to the pavilion, where I knew there would be a lot of food!
Checking out a big selection of Japanese food, including fried squid leg and shrimp tempura.
Checking out a big selection of Japanese food, including fried squid leg and shrimp tempura.
Getting ready to flip some healthy Japanese savory pancakes, or okonomiyaki.
Getting ready to flip some healthy Japanese savory pancakes, or okonomiyaki.
These guys pushing the huge drum would perform later in the day.
These friendly guys pushing the huge drum would perform later in the day.
These guys hold up a sweet fish-shaped taiyaki. Yum! I had one last year, too!
These cool ladies held up a sweet fish-shaped taiyaki. Yum! I had one last year, too!
Every year, the Cherry Blossom Festival promises lots of fun, good food and exquisite natural beauty!
Every year, the Cherry Blossom Festival promises lots of fun, good food and exquisite natural beauty!

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Exquisite flower arrangements at ikebana show.

The highlight of my walk through Balboa Park today was the San Diego Wabi Spring Flower Show. My feet often halted as I passed dozens of exquisite Japanese ikebana flower arrangements. My camera couldn’t stop snapping. As you will see, the beauty was indescribable.

This annual event, which is held for one weekend inside the Casa del Prado, provides a breathtaking exhibition of the traditional Japanese art, as taught by the Ohara School of Ikebana. In addition to the many heavenly flower arrangements, there were demonstrations by local ikebana masters for those who are interested in learning about or practicing this ancient art form.

Many of these photos are close-ups of flower arrangements. I tried my own “hand” at artistic composition.

I’m so envious of the talent displayed at this show. Every careful work of floral art was a poem for the eyes.

The San Diego Wabi Study Group Annual Flower Show, with beautiful ikebana arrangements and demonstrations, was held this weekend in the Casa del Prado in Balboa Park.
The San Diego Wabi Study Group Annual Flower Show, with beautiful ikebana arrangements and demonstrations, was held this weekend in the Casa del Prado in Balboa Park.
Many superb examples of exquisite ikebana Japanese flower arrangement pleased the eyes of delighted visitors.
Many superb examples of exquisite ikebana Japanese flower arrangement pleased the eyes of delighted visitors.

Watching a demonstration of traditional ikebana flower arrangement. Every work in this ancient art form is like a visual poem.
Young eyes observe a demonstration of traditional ikebana flower arrangement. Every work in this ancient art form is like a visual poem.

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!

Art in Bloom at Japanese Friendship Garden.

You might have noticed I personally love the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park. It’s so peaceful and beautiful. The garden always refreshes my mind and sparks my creativity. It’s one of my favorite spots to write short stories. (I hope to have a new one finished soon!)

When I learned a new cultural exhibition would open today in the garden’s handsome Inamori Pavilion, I knew at once that I had to check it out. The exhibition is called Art in Bloom – Floral Art of Japan.

The diverse pieces of artwork on display feature exquisite flower designs. By reading several signs in the exhibit, I learned about the symbolism of certain flowers in Japan. For example, I learned the camelia represents spring.

After feasting my eyes on the Art in Bloom exhibit, I walked up a winding path through the Lower Garden and carefully searched the grove of Japanese cherry trees for spring blossoms. None yet! One of the knowledgeable master gardeners informed me we have several weeks to go!

(Don’t forget to attend the certain-to-be-amazing 2018 Cherry Blossom Festival. This year it will be held on March 9 through March 11.)

Here’s a pic taken outside the Inamori Pavilion, followed by photos of a few works of the floral art inside…

Flowers at the Japanese Friendship Garden near the Inamori Pavilion, where the Art in Bloom exhibition is located.
Flowers at the Japanese Friendship Garden near the Inamori Pavilion, where the Art in Bloom exhibition is located.

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!

Wishing you all a beautiful New Year!

The world contains unending beauty. As the years roll on, much comes and goes, but beauty remains.

So now I’d like to close out another blogging year by wishing you all a Beautiful New Year!

Where did I head today to harvest some stunning photos? To the amazing Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park, of course!

Come with me…

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!

Happy New Year!