Balboa Park’s ornamental pear trees in bloom!

It’s late January. Balboa Park’s ornamental pear trees are in full bloom!

Like a dream, or an Impressionist painting, clouds of white flowers now fill El Prado. The ornamental pears in both Plaza de Panama and Plaza de Balboa are putting on their winter show!

Delicate blossoms fluttering down from the trees appeared to me like gently falling snowflakes…

Thanks for visiting Cool San Diego Sights!

I post new blogs pretty often. If you like discovering new things, bookmark coolsandiegosights.com and swing on by occasionally!

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 walk through San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve.

Several weeks ago I enjoyed a fine, very easy nature walk.

I proceeded from the murals at Harbaugh Seaside Trails (near Highway 101 at the north end of Solana Beach) down the main dirt trail. The trail turned, passed through a tunnel under the railroad tracks, and entered San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve.

I then proceeded north up the Pole Trail (which runs parallel to the train tracks), crossed a couple of bridges, and ended at the San Elijo Lagoon Nature Center at the south end of Cardiff-by-the-Sea.

Come along with me as we look at these protected wetlands and watch for birds and other native wildlife…

Sign at Harbaugh Seaside Trails at start of my walk.

These trails were made possible by Nature Collective.

Beautiful words a short distance from the Harbaugh Seaside Trails murals. Annie’s Bench.

Nearby overlook with views of the Pacific Ocean off to the west.

Beginning our walk in earnest.

Here’s the railroad tunnel.

Artwork at the tunnel entrance depicts birds.

We are looking across San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve.

San Elijo Lagoon in the winter.

Pools of water support much life.

Heading north we encounter a fenced area and sign.

Map of the reserve. To the east there are additional trails to be explored.

A big mound of soil behind this fence.

Sign explains the sandy habitat restoration. The elevated sand dune attracts endangered birds, like the California Least Tern and Western Snowy Plover.

Continuing north.

Vegetated and shallow channels are home to rare indigenous plant and animal species. Birds include Ridgway’s Rail and Belding’s Savannah Sparrow.

Here comes the first bridge!

A profusion of native sunflowers.

That interesting building up and to the left is the Nature Center.

A plaque along the way memorializes Beloved Friend and Engineer Brian A. Martin.

Another footbridge spans a channel of water.

Plaque describes The Buhr Nature Bridge. Gabriel Buhr’s forward-thinking, planning and vision helped make the restoration of the San Elijo Lagoon possible.

Almost to the San Elijo Lagoon Nature Center!

Thanks for visiting Cool San Diego Sights!

I post new blogs pretty often. If you like discovering new things, bookmark coolsandiegosights.com and swing on by occasionally!

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!

Learning to prune roses in Balboa Park!

A small army of rose lovers converged on Balboa Park this morning. The Balboa Park Rose Garden Corps and members of the San Diego Rose Society demonstrated to the public how to prune roses!

As I walked through the award-winning Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden, I saw enthusiastic volunteers who are dedicated to gardening and beauty. And I was grateful to them.

A couple of experts told me no other rose garden in San Diego can compare with our treasured one in Balboa Park.

If you want to help maintain Balboa Park’s incomparable rose garden, check out the next photo, or click that first link!

Thanks for visiting Cool San Diego Sights!

I post new blogs pretty often. If you like discovering new things, bookmark coolsandiegosights.com and swing on by occasionally!

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!

Flowers along Secret Stairs in Valencia Park!

Did you know there are Secret Stairs in Valencia Park, a community in southeast San Diego?

The neighborhood stairs span two blocks, from Churchward Street to Las Alturas Terrace. (Google the stairs and you’ll see their location on Google Maps.)

A year ago four artists came together to beautify the somewhat neglected stairs. They embellished them with colorfully painted flowers and insects, plus a mural!

This article explains all about the Secret Stairs of Valencia Park and their new artwork. Herbert Delong, Shannon White, Isabel Garcia and Shirish Villaseñor were the artists. You’ve seen the work of Isabel and Shirish elsewhere on my blog. Together they call themselves Arte Atolondrada.

In the upcoming photos, I walked the Secret Stairs from south to north. If the steps seem a bit dirty and leafy, keep in mind San Diego has been experiencing winter storms.

Thanks for visiting Cool San Diego Sights!

I post new blogs pretty often. If you like discovering new things, bookmark coolsandiegosights.com and swing on by occasionally!

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!

Elephant and flower in Mission Beach!

At the end of 2021, some very cool art was being painted on two garage doors in Mission Beach. I happened to see the work in progress during this walk. At the time I knew nothing about the artist.

I walked past these two murals again today and noticed they’re completed! And they’re by San Diego muralist Carly Ealey!

It’s an elephant and flower!

You can see this beautiful artwork just north of Ostend Court on Mission Boulevard.

Thanks for visiting Cool San Diego Sights!

I post new blogs pretty often. If you like discovering new things, bookmark coolsandiegosights.com and swing on by occasionally!

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!

Garden Stewards beautify Balboa Park!

Many volunteers were out this morning working to beautify Balboa Park.

As I walked through the park, I noticed a group of Garden Stewards in the flower beds of the Alcazar Garden. They were removing spent plants that were past their bloom–yes, it’s almost winter.

Thank you Garden Stewards and other volunteers who help to maintain Balboa Park, San Diego’s crown jewel! You can volunteer, too, by clicking the above link!

Thanks for visiting Cool San Diego Sights!

I post new blogs pretty often. If you like discovering new things, bookmark coolsandiegosights.com and swing on by occasionally!

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!

Holiday floral beauty inside the Marston House!

For this 2022 Holiday Season, the Marston House in Balboa Park is doing something very special. The interior of the historic home has been decorated with many beautiful flower arrangements!

I learned today that the gorgeous floral displays, which can be found in most rooms, are new for the holidays this year. The flowers will dazzle Marston House visitors through the end of the year. If you’ve never been inside the Marston House, you need to go on a tour. Learn more by clicking here.

I once went on an informative tour and blogged about it here.

Today I learned that George W. Marston‘s wife, Anna, was active with the San Diego Floral Association, and the beautiful displays in the sitting room, brimming with lighter colors, were inspired by her love of flowers. (See above photo.)

I also learned George Marston considered yellow and gold the colors of California. The arrangements in the Marston library (the following two photos) reflect this.

The interior of the old house isn’t brightly lit, which poses a problem with my camera. I’ve adjusted the images to bring out the beauty as best I can.

Thanks for visiting Cool San Diego Sights!

I post new blogs pretty often. If you like discovering new things, bookmark coolsandiegosights.com and swing on by occasionally!

It’s easy to explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on this website’s sidebar. Or click a tag. There’s a lot of stuff to share and enjoy!

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!

Amazing poinsettia Christmas tree in Balboa Park!

An amazing 15 feet high Christmas tree made of 390 poinsettia plants now stands in Balboa Park!

The Christmas tree was installed at the San Diego History Center on Monday. I saw it today, and it’s impressive!

On a wall near the festive red “tree” is a display explaining San Diego’s historical connection to the poinsettia, the World’s Favorite Holiday Flower.

As many San Diego residents know, Paul Ecke’s famous ranch in Encinitas cultivated and hybridized poinsettias for much of the 20th century, producing different colors and variations that have become popular around the world. At one time, the Ecke Ranch sold nearly 90 percent of the holiday plants in the United States.

Flowers and other nursery plants remain a very important part our local economy. As a matter of fact, the poinsettias in the San Diego History Center’s beautiful Christmas tree were grown by Weidners Gardens in Encinitas.

If you visit Balboa Park for the holiday season, especially during December Nights, be sure to step into the San Diego History Center, which is located inside the Casa de Balboa!

Thank you for visiting Cool San Diego Sights!

I post new blogs pretty often. If you’d like, bookmark coolsandiegosights.com and check back from time to time.

It’s easy to explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on this website’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There’s a lot of stuff to share and enjoy!

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!

Birds, Bees, Flowers and Trees in Balboa Park!

A very cool event was held in Balboa Park today. Birds, Bees, Flowers and Trees, presented by the San Diego Floral Association, filled El Prado, a nearby segment of Village Place, and the Casa del Prado courtyard!

The fun, educational event featured gardening information, organizations working to protect the environment, creative kids activities, plant sales, and fascinating displays provided by different San Diego garden clubs and associations!

I walked along, taking it all in. One thing I learned is that Kate Sessions, Mother of Balboa Park, was a co-founder of the San Diego Floral Association! (That would explain my final two photographs.) Oh–I also learned the new waterfall at the Japanese Friendship Garden should be operating in a matter of a couple weeks!

The Birds, Bees, Flowers and Trees event is today only, until 4 pm. As I post this blog, you still have a little over a half hour to check it out!

If you couldn’t make it, enjoy these pics…

Thank you for visiting Cool San Diego Sights!

I post new blogs pretty often, so you might want to bookmark coolsandiegosights.com and check back from time to time.

You can explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on this website’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There’s a lot of stuff to share and enjoy!

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!

Ocean Beach memorial to Shoeshine Willie.

A memorial to a beloved Ocean Beach man now appears on the small building where he repaired and polished shoes for decades. William L. Washington “Shoeshine Willie” passed away early this year. The memorial contains two short poems written by Aaron Bryant.

Years ago I remember seeing Shoeshine Willie working in his modest shed next a parking lot and Ocean Beach bus stop. At the time I thought it was unusual for a shoeshiner to be active in a day and age when the profession has all but disappeared. I now wish I had spoken to him.

If you’d like to see this touching memorial, head over to the corner of Newport Avenue and Cable Street. I noticed it during my last walk in OB.

Here’s an article concerning William Washington and what he meant to the community.

…He was Ocean Beach’s bright Shining light…He’s still here in spirit…

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!