Natural beauty on a Balboa Park walk.

Starting west across Cabrillo Bridge, looking south toward downtown San Diego.
Starting across Cabrillo Bridge, looking south toward downtown San Diego.

On Sunday I walked slowly through Balboa Park. I began at the Cabrillo Bridge and headed east along El Prado. My wandering feet finally took me down into Florida Canyon.

I discovered many scenes of natural beauty: green canyons, bright trees, yellow hillsides, spring flowers, newly opened roses and even cacti.

Come along…

Near the center of Cabrillo Bridge. Trees in sunlight on the median of State Route 163, also known as Cabrillo Freeway.
Near the center of the bridge. Sunlit trees line the median of scenic State Route 163, also known as the Cabrillo Freeway.
Looking back west along Cabrillo Bridge toward the West Mesa of Balboa Park.
Looking back along historic Cabrillo Bridge toward the West Mesa of Balboa Park.
Near the east end of Cabrillo Bridge, looking down at the Rube Powell Archery Range.
Near the east end of the bridge, gazing down at the Rube Powell Archery Range.
Passing through the California Quadrangle. Palm trees cast shadows on the California Tower.
Passing through the California Quadrangle. Palm trees cast shadows on the California Tower.
Gazing back toward the California Tower from the Alcazar Garden.
Turning back to photograph the California Tower from the Alcazar Garden.
Twisty trunks and shadows near the Timken Museum of Art.
Twisty trunks and shadows near the Timken Museum of Art.
Staghorn ferns on one wall of the Botanical Building.
Staghorn ferns on one wall of Balboa Park’s Botanical Building.
Orchids inside the Botanical Building.
Orchids inside the Botanical Building.
More beauty inside the wonderful Botanical Building.
More natural beauty inside the Botanical Building.
A small yellow flower greets me inside the Casa del Prado. It's the annual spring sale by the Southern California Plumeria Society.
A small yellow flower greets me inside the Casa del Prado. I stumbled upon a sale by the Southern California Plumeria Society.
Perfect beauty somewhere along El Prado.
A bloom along El Prado near the Casa de Balboa.
Walking along El Prado, just above the Zoro Garden.
Walking along El Prado, just above the Zoro Garden.
Like orange flames on El Prado.
Like orange flames.
Looking back west as I approach the Plaza de Balboa at the east end of El Prado.
Looking backward as I finally approach the east end of El Prado.
About to cross over Park Boulevard on the pedestrian bridge, gazing back toward the Fleet Science Center.
About to cross over Park Boulevard on the pedestrian bridge, pausing for a moment to look south toward the Fleet Science Center.
Walking among early spring blooms in the Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden.
Strolling among early spring blooms in the Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden.
In the rose garden, aiming my camera toward the fountain.
In the rose garden, aiming my camera toward the fountain.
Another rose.
Another rose.
Another miracle.
Another.
Gazing east across Florida Canyon. A rainy winter has brought forth lush spring greenery.
Gazing east across Florida Canyon. A rainy winter has brought forth lush spring greenery.
I now move north, into the Desert Garden.
Now I am moving north, into the Desert Garden.
Strange cactus beauty.
Strange cactus beauty.
More surprising beauty.
More beauty.
About to head down a winding path into Florida Canyon.
About to head down a winding path into Florida Canyon.
A hillside bright with cacti and native sunflowers.
A hillside bright with cacti and spring flowers.
More abundant natural beauty.
Nature has painted the hillside.
Slanting cacti.
Slanting cacti.
The beauty of Balboa Park never ends.
The natural beauty in Balboa Park never ends.

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, too? Check out my other website Beautiful Balboa Park!

Spring flowers near Fashion Valley!

It feels like spring!

Yellow mustard is blooming across San Diego’s hillsides, and other early spring flowers are thriving, too! The rainy winter has produced a cheerful show of bright color all around the city.

I walked near the San Diego River by Fashion Valley this morning and found many patches of native sunflowers.

UPDATE!

I think I goofed! I believe most of these flowers are actually garland chrysanthemums, which aren’t native to our region. But they do flourish in San Diego now.

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!

Bright cherry blossoms, after the festival.

The 2019 Cherry Blossom Festival at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park drew huge crowds! I enjoyed stopping by on the weekend and was pleased to see so many people.

The festival is now over.

Late this afternoon I entered the garden again to experience the cherry blossoms in a more tranquil setting. Sunlight slanted through the pink and white flowers, making them shine.

If you love beautiful gardens but dislike crowds, now is the time to go!

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 wrote a very short story about people and cherry blossoms a couple years ago. It’s titled A Short Bloom. You can read it here.

New muralist in San Diego makes her debut!

Naomi GonzalezMartinez (to the right) poses by her new mural in City Heights with her artistic mentor Brise Birdsong.
Naomi GonzalezMartinez (to the right) poses by her new mural in City Heights with her artistic mentor Brise Birdsong.

Today I met San Diego’s newest muralist!

Naomi GonzalezMartinez has painted a colorful mural for #theavenuemuralproject on University Avenue in City Heights. Please check out her new Instagram page!

Guided by Carlos Quezada of Love City Heights, I was able to meet Naomi and enjoy her artwork during a tour of several new street murals along University Avenue. Love City Heights is a group of community leaders working to enliven this culturally diverse San Diego neighborhood.

Naomi’s first mural was created with a little help from her mentor Brise Birdsong, a prolific local artist and muralist whose often humorous street art I stumble upon from time to time during my walks around San Diego.

Naomi told me a little about the mural, and the symbolism that it contains. Her family is very important to her, and being of Mayan descent, she incorporated the Mayan logogram that represents a companion spirit. You can see it in the following photograph at the center of the lower tea cup. The next cup up contains elements representing Korea, a place that is special to her. The third cup up contains colors from both the Mexican and American flags.

Other designs in the mural like the flowers and butterfly? Painted just for fun!

A very cool new work of art brightens City Heights!

The colorful mural contains diverse symbols that hold special meaning for the artist.
The colorful mural contains diverse symbols that hold special meaning for the artist.
Naomi GonzalezMartinez poses by her delightful City Heights mural with her family!
Naomi GonzalezMartinez poses by her new City Heights mural with her family!

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!

Festivals, fun and blossoms in Balboa Park!

Dancers entertain visitors to Balboa Park as the House of China celebrates the New Year at the International Cottages.
Dancers entertain visitors to Balboa Park as the House of China celebrates Chinese New Year at the International Cottages.

It’s February already, and beginning to feel a tiny bit like spring!

Visitors to Balboa Park today could enjoy many wonderful experiences: the Chinese New Year Festival . . . the International Dance Festival . . . and even a few early cherry blossoms!

As I walked in sunshine and scattered sprinkles, I took many photos.

Colorful young dancers on stage celebrate the Chinese New Year in San Diego.
Colorful young dancers on stage celebrate the Chinese New Year in San Diego.
Food, culture and sunshine (and some sprinkling clouds) at the Chinese New Year Festival in Balboa Park.
Food, culture and sunshine (and scattered, sprinkling clouds) at the Chinese New Year Festival in Balboa Park.
A glimpse of the El Cid statue in Balboa Park on a spring-like Sunday in February.
A glimpse of the El Cid statue in Balboa Park on a springlike Sunday in February.
Sunshine on bubbles.
Sunshine on bubbles.
There's plenty of bright green down in the Balboa Park Rube Powell Archery Range.
There’s plenty of bright green down in the Balboa Park Rube Powell Archery Range.
A beautiful photo between the House of Hospitality and Casa de Balboa.
A beautiful photo between the House of Hospitality and Casa de Balboa.
Prado Perk's chalkboard indicates it's almost Valentine's Day!
Prado Perk’s chalkboard indicates it’s almost Valentine’s Day!
Athletes in the National Wheelchair Basketball Association gather during a time out during the Third Annual Brad Rich Invitational at Balboa Municipal Gymnasium.
Athletes in the National Wheelchair Basketball Association gather during a time out during the Third Annual Brad Rich Invitational at Balboa Municipal Gymnasium.
The ornamental pear trees are blooming near the Plaza de Balboa.
The ornamental pear trees are blooming near the Plaza de Balboa.
Members of the San Diego Bonsai Club work on small olive trees in the Casa del Prado.
Members of the San Diego Bonsai Club work on small olive trees in the Casa del Prado.
I spotted Captain America in the cafe of the Federal Building, future home of the Comic-Con Museum! (He's actually a cool member of San Diego's Science Fiction Coalition!)
I spotted Captain America in the cafe of the Federal Building, future home of the Comic-Con Museum! (He’s actually a member of San Diego’s Science Fiction Coalition.)
A beautiful spring-like day on El Prado.
A beautiful springlike day on El Prado.
I was welcomed to the International Dance Festival in the Balboa Park Club.
I was welcomed to the International Dance Festival in the Balboa Park Club.
Flags of many nations follow a bagpiper through Balbo Park as the annual International Dance Festival is about to begin.
Flags of many nations follow a bagpiper through Balboa Park as the annual International Dance Festival is about to begin.
Colorful banners approach the Balboa Park Club.
Colorful banners approach the Balboa Park Club.
Folk dancing begins!
Folk dancing is ready to begin!
A banner of the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society.
A banner of the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society.
Meanwhile, folks walk through the always beautiful Japanese Friendship Garden.
Meanwhile, folks walk through the always beautiful Japanese Friendship Garden.
Looks to me like spring is coming!
Looks to me like spring is coming fast!
A few early cherry blossoms are blooming in February at the Japanese Friendship Garden.
A few early cherry blossoms are blooming in February at the Japanese Friendship Garden.
Spring is around the corner!
Yes! Spring is around the corner!

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? Check out my other website Beautiful Balboa Park!

Orchid Society adds beauty to Balboa Park.

A beautiful orchid, like a butterfly.
A beautiful orchid, like a butterfly.

Who doesn’t love orchids?

When I noticed the San Diego County Orchid Society was having their Winter Show and Sale in Balboa Park today, I headed directly to the Casa del Prado. That’s where tables overflowing with colorful, jewel-like blooms awaited the public.

I know next to nothing about orchids. All I know is they affect me in a mysterious way. Like any beautiful thing. Their exquisite forms seem to have sprouted from some perfect, generative, magical place.

Of course, you and I also sprout from that same place.

The San Diego County Orchid Society had their Winter Show and Sale in Balboa Park's Casa del Prado this weekend!
The San Diego County Orchid Society had their Winter Show and Sale in Balboa Park’s Casa del Prado this weekend!
Orchid lovers around San Diego submitted their entries in the hopes of winning Best of Show.
Orchid lovers around San Diego submitted their entries in the hopes of winning Best of Show.

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, too? Check out my other website Beautiful Balboa Park!

Morning in the garden at Waterfront Park.

Another morning. Early sunlight illuminated the beautiful garden on the north side of Waterfront Park.

Near the center of the garden rose Niki de Saint Phalle’s shining Serpent Tree. It seemed to have sprung forth at the dawn of Creation.

Here are photos from a quiet stroll through the garden…

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!