Nature and art at San Diego River Garden!

There’s a very special garden in San Diego that few people visit. It’s called the San Diego River Garden. It’s situated near the center of Mission Valley, a short distance south of the San Diego River.

Every so often I drive past this native plant garden, but I never see a place to park. The stretch of Camino del Rio North beside it is mostly used by people going to and from nearby office buildings, and no street parking is available.

The gate of the San Diego River Garden’s small dirt parking lot is usually shut. The only other way in is to walk along a dirt path beside the road and pass through an entrance in the fence. Which is what I did this morning!

All was quiet. The early morning summer breeze was pleasantly cool. The few picnic benches were empty. I saw no other people. But I did see many active birds. And bright flowers. And lots of flourishing native plants including some cacti. And modest planters holding more greenery. And many winding trails. And Bigfoot! Yes, you heard me correctly! And–to my additional delight–a whole lot of nature artwork created by young students, including painted tiles scattered here and there on the ground and a cool mural on a shipping container!

According to the San Diego River Park Foundation website: “This site used to be a vacant area reserved for future use by the City of San Diego. But thanks to the City and the many volunteers, sponsors, groups that have come out to garden, the River Park Foundation is caring for this 5 acre area to make it attractive for the community.”

If you or your group would like to volunteer and do a little gardening out in the warm San Diego sunshine, or if you simply want to visit this beautiful kid-friendly park or learn more about it, click here!

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 San Diego Memorial Plumeria Garden.

Dr. Jim Knott helps to tend the beautiful San Diego Memorial Plumeria Garden.
Dr. Jim Knott helps to tend the beautiful San Diego Memorial Plumeria Garden.

There’s a garden in Balboa Park that very few people know about. I happened upon the garden today, and was told it’s called the San Diego Memorial Plumeria Garden. You can find it inside the Balboa Park Horseshoe Club.

Some members of the Southern California Plumeria Society (known for their popular plant sales in Balboa Park) have created this garden and lovingly maintain it.

Dr. Jim Knott told me a little about the garden, and showed me three rows of plumerias bordering the outdoor horseshoe pits. I was told the first plumeria was planted in 2008. He’d like to see the garden flourish and assume greater prominence. It’s a wonderful project!

Next time you walk through the southwest corner of Balboa Park, and you pass the Balboa Park Horseshoe Club, look over the fence. You’ll see the San Diego Memorial Plumeria Garden!

UPDATE!

I received a comment with additional information about the history of these plumerias:

“…My name is Robert Chubinsky, I put them there. I was President of Balboa Park Horseshoe Club for a while and planted them starting in 2012. I grew them on my patio in South Mission Beach. My patio was getting crowded, I had over 40 plants many too big for my patio and started planting them. It was my legacy to the park. All that was there before were weeds and dirt with no blocks. I had the outer bank built with the landscape blocks to give an outside border and filled it with dirt and planted the trees…”

Plumeria flowers are beloved by many.
Plumeria flowers are beloved by many.
Stones at the San Diego Memorial Plumeria Garden remember loved ones.
Stones at the San Diego Memorial Plumeria Garden remember loved ones.
A small plumeria nursery at the Balboa Park Horseshoe Club.
A small plumeria nursery at the Balboa Park Horseshoe Club.
A labor of love.
A labor of love.

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!

A most beautiful garden reopens!

The Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park is reopening!

Today was the first day that members could enjoy the garden. Starting on Monday, June 22, this most beautiful garden will be open to the public!

Because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, face coverings and social distancing will be required.

I got off from work early today, so I headed into Balboa Park and found myself at the entrance to the Japanese Friendship Garden renewing my annual membership. Then I stepped into the garden. And I immediately lost myself in the tranquil beauty.

Sunlight touched green leaves. Water sparkled and splashed. Birds took flight as I moved from shadow to light. My mind calmed. I again understood the true beauty of life and this world.

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!

More pots filled with beauty for downtown!

I was walking down Cedar Street this morning when I noticed a worker had placed several large pots on the sidewalk at Third Avenue. In a trailer behind his truck were several beautiful plants.

The Downtown San Diego Partnership is adding even more beauty to the neighborhood!

UPDATE!

Here’s what it looked like when I walked past a few days later…

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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 rambling Sunday walk along Morena Boulevard.

Graphic on wall of Coronado Brewing Company San Diego Tasting Room. WISH YOU WERE beer.
Graphic on wall of Coronado Brewing Company San Diego Tasting Room. WISH YOU WERE beer.

Today I took a rambling walk along Morena Boulevard. These photos start around Knoxville Street in Bay Park and proceed south to the area where Morena and West Morena split.

You might notice few people in the photos. It’s Sunday and many businesses are closed. And of course there’s the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, keeping many at home.

If you ever drive through the Morena District, you’ll probably recognize some of these sights. Many of the old shops and small businesses along the street aren’t much to look at, but there are a few that stand out!

(I took this walk in order to photograph two really great murals in particular. I’ll post those pics shortly. I also wanted to check on the status of a mysterious, possibly historical wooden tombstone by a parking lot that I’d seen years ago. The mystery has deepened, as you’ll see in another upcoming blog post!)

Now let’s walk…

Sculpture of lady tending her garden in front of the Armstrong Garden Center.
Sculpture of lady tending her garden in front of the Armstrong Garden Center.
Another look at the gardening sculpture.
Another look at the gardening sculpture.
Beautiful bloom between the Knoxville Street sidewalk and Armstrong Garden Center.
Beautiful bloom between the Knoxville Street sidewalk and Armstrong Garden Center.
The Cordova Bar. This must be the place!
The Cordova Bar. This must be the place!
Mermaid door handles at the entrance to The Cordova Bar.
Mermaid door handles at the entrance to The Cordova Bar.
Sign on fence near U.S. Karate Academy encourages people to Be Your Best!
Sign on fence near U.S. Karate Academy encourages people to Be Your Best!
Banner on lamp post invites people to Shop for Home Decor in the Morena District.
Banner on lamp post invites people to Shop for Home Decor in the Morena District.
Cool motorcycle graphic on wall of Sidecar Bar.
Cool motorcycle graphic on wall of Sidecar Bar.
There's a T. Rex on the roof of Avian and Exotic Animal Hospital! It must've escaped!
There’s a T. Rex on the roof of Avian and Exotic Animal Hospital! It must’ve escaped!
This cool graphic of a van with a surfboard is on the side of Bird Rock Coffee Roasters.
This cool graphic of a van with a surfboard is on the side of Bird Rock Coffee Roasters.
Clouds and palm trees reflected on angles of window glass.
Clouds and palm trees reflected on angles of window glass.
Now I'm walking along near the Valero gas station.
Now I’m walking along near the Valero gas station.
A colorful mural near the front door of Nico's Mexican Food.
A colorful mural near the front door of Nico’s Mexican Food.
Super cool surfboards hang out beside the front door of Bird's Surf Shed.
Super cool surfboards hang out beside the front door of Bird’s Surf Shed.
Mural at Bird's Surf Shed was painted by Skye Walker in 2014.
Mural at Bird’s Surf Shed was painted by Skye Walker in 2014. Tubular, dude!
Vintage automobile parked alone in corner of a parking lot.
Vintage automobile parked alone in corner of a parking lot.
Looks like a farm around the entrance to Bull's Smokin' BBQ. Fun sculptures greet passersby on West Morena Boulevard.
Looks like a ranch around the entrance to Bull’s Smokin’ BBQ. Fun animal sculptures greet passersby on West Morena Boulevard.
Two bulls and one pig.
Walking beside two bulls and one pig.

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 garden’s spring beauty–that none can see.

The Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park is one of San Diego’s most beautiful places. Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic has closed the garden to the public temporarily.

It’s spring. The world is newly green. Leaves stretch skyward to drink in bright sunlight. Flowers bloom.

Even though our eyes cannot admire the garden at the present moment, there is absolutely no doubt its great beauty persists.

Let’s enjoy some photographs that I took in past springs at the Japanese Friendship 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!

Photos to remember beautiful Balboa Park.

Balboa Park is now temporarily closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. When it might reopen is anybody’s guess.

I didn’t go to Balboa Park this weekend, the way I usually do. I already miss it.

I miss the sunshine and smiles, the gardens and amazing architecture, the fountains and beautiful art, the dancing and music. Over the years, my Sunday visits to Balboa Park have become an important part of my life.

As the warming spring weather greens the grass and trees and opens bright new flowers everywhere, wouldn’t you love to walk through one of the world’s most beautiful parks?

Come along on a random walk back through time, and enjoy some of many colorful photographs that I’ve taken over the years.

The following photos are all new to Cool San Diego Sights. They were originally posted to one of my other blogging websites, which is titled Beautiful 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? Check out my other website Beautiful Balboa Park!

Spring roses appear in Balboa Park!

Winter is almost over. Three days until spring!

Late this afternoon I noticed a few roses have already opened in the Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden in Balboa Park.

Buds are plentiful. Many flowers appear ready to open. The rose garden should become very colorful in the next few days and weeks.

The season of hope and renewal is almost here!

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!

Honoring those who make the world more beautiful.

Beauty fills and surrounds the Botanical Building in Balboa Park. As do words that honor those who’ve made our world more beautiful.

Seeds that were planted many years ago live on and on.

Last weekend I saw and read a few plaques.

Alfred D. Robinson, Founding President of the San Diego Floral Association in 1907, originated the use of a "lath house" for displaying plants at the 1915 Panama-California Exposition.
Alfred D. Robinson, Founding President of the San Diego Floral Association in 1907, originated the use of a “lath house” for displaying plants at the 1915 Panama-California Exposition.

Ruth C. Smith, founder of the City Beautiful of San Diego, has left a legacy of beauty for all San Diegans to enjoy for years to come.
Ruth C. Smith, founder of the City Beautiful of San Diego, who worked to plant 10,000 trees in San Diego parks, has left a legacy of beauty for all San Diegans to enjoy for years to come.

In Memory of Miss Daisy O. Tompkins, Teacher. This world is a better place because of her.
In Memory of Miss Daisy O. Tompkins, Teacher. This world is a better place because of her.

Barbara Hart McLean. Artist, Scientist, Mother, Friend. She loved life in all of its diversity and color.
Barbara Hart McLean. Artist, Scientist, Mother, Friend. She loved life in all of its diversity and color.

Honoring a man whose vision of a Botanical Building became reality, adding beauty to the lives of millions.
Honoring a man whose vision of a “Palace of Lath” became reality, adding beauty to the lives of millions of Balboa Park visitors for over a century.

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!

Early cherry blossoms promise a new spring.

How the seasons fly.

I saw a few cherry blossoms today during a walk through the Lower Garden of the Japanese Friendship Garden. Next month, from March 16 to March 20, my favorite garden in Balboa Park will host 2020 Cherry Blossom Week.

I suppose I’ll be going again.

The few early blossoms are familiar magic.

Spring soon returns.

Another renewal.

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!