San Diego hero beautifies our city.

An unselfish, unsung hero in San Diego has dedicated countless hours of hard work to making our city more beautiful.

I’m speaking of Joseph Ciavarella. For five years he spearheaded the improvement and beautification of Tweet Street Park, a neighborhood park atop Cortez Hill.

During my walks over the years I often saw Joe in the park spreading mulch, pruning, cleaning up debris, and planting flowers and other greenery. I would express my appreciation, and he was always modest.

Joseph Ciavarella’s quiet optimism, his effective community organizing and relentless hard work, along with the important contributions of Friends of Tweet Street volunteers and San Diego Parks and Recreation, have turned the Tweet Street linear park into the amazing lush garden that it is today.

Joe moved away from Cortez Hill not long ago. His last day at Tweet Street was Arbor Day. I noticed today that the Downtown San Diego Partnership planted a tree in his honor.

That tree will grow and become ever more beautiful over time, bringing a little joy to the lives of so many people.

That’s was Joe did.

Check out the “Friends of Tweet Street Park” Facebook page here.

Donate to the Friends of Tweet Street via a new web page provided by the Downtown San Diego Partnership here.

Thank you.

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!

La Mesa Community Garden coming to MacArthur Park!

A community garden is coming to La Mesa!

I was walking through La Mesa’s spacious MacArthur park on Sunday when I saw a sign announcing the La Mesa Community Garden. So I directed my feet that way!

The garden, located off Memorial Drive near the La Mesa Municipal Pool, will be a place where local residents can grow their own healthy food and connect with nature and each other. The garden’s small building, which used to be the clubhouse of the now defunct Sun Valley Golf Course, features fun artwork and nearby picnic tables. The community garden occupies the old golf course’s putting green.

If you happen to live in La Mesa, you might want to check out the information contained in a couple of the upcoming photographs!

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!

Spring roses in Old Town San Diego.

Today I went for a slow, easy walk through Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.

After turning down a path behind several historic buildings, I noticed bright spring colors in a garden that few visitors see. A straggly, uniquely beautiful rose garden can be enjoyed behind the reconstructed La Casa de Machado y Wrightington, which today is home to the Tafoya and Son pottery shop.

For lovers of roses, this a wonderful little place to seek out. The roses even have signs that identify the varieties.

I took a few photos of the newly opened roses.

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!

Historical marker at Kate Sessions nursery in Pacific Beach.

If you’ve driven down Garnet Avenue in Pacific Beach, you might have noticed a couple of enormous old trees at the corner of Pico Street, just east of Soledad Mountain Road.

By the sidewalk stands an easily overlooked historical marker. It reads:

KATE OLIVIA SESSIONS’ NURSERY SITE

1857-1940

THIS PLAQUE COMMEMORATES THE LIFE AND INFLUENCE OF A WOMAN WHO ENVISIONED SAN DIEGO BEAUTIFUL. ON THIS SITE SHE OPERATED A NURSERY AND GAINED WORLD RENOWN AS A HORTICULTURIST. SHE WAS THE FIRST WOMAN TO RECEIVE THE INTERNATIONAL MEYER MEDAL IN GENETICS.

CALIFORNIA REGISTERED HISTORICAL LANDMARK NO. 764

PLAQUE PLACED BY THE CALIFORNIA STATE PARK COMMISSION IN COOPERATION WITH THE PACIFIC BEACH WOMAN’S CLUB.

JULY 7, 1961

Kate Sessions is probably best known as the Mother of Balboa Park. In addition to owning other nurseries and growing fields in San Diego, she maintained a small nursery in a corner of Balboa Park (originally called City Park) under an 1892 agreement with the City of San Diego. She was required under the lease to plant 100 trees in the park each year. Most of the older trees in Balboa Park that you see today were planted by her hand.

The colorful jacaranda trees seen around San Diego were also introduced to the city by Kate Sessions.

I recently blogged about the very first camphor tree planted in North America. She’s the one who planted it. The historic camphor tree stands just west of Balboa Park in Bankers Hill near a beautiful historic house. To revisit that old blog post, click here.

Here are a couple more photos that I took this weekend by the historical marker…

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!

Early spring in the Zoro Garden.

Spring sprang two days ago.

Late this afternoon I descended into Balboa Park’s sunken Zoro Garden.

The day’s final rays of sunshine were filtering down to flowers planted along the stone walls and walkways.

I didn’t see any butterflies. Not yet! But I did see early spring color, and the promise of many more flowers to come…

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!

Balboa Park’s hidden Australian Garden.

The nation of Australia presented the City of San Diego with many beautiful plants in 1976 for the United States Bicentennial. These plants can be found in Balboa Park’s seldom visited, little known Australian Garden.

Should you drive into the heart of Balboa Park by turning from Park Boulevard onto Presidents Way, you’ll glimpse the top of the Australian Garden to your right. To see most of the native Australian trees and shrubs, however, you must drive or carefully walk down winding, slightly steep Paseo de Oro, which motorists pass just before they reach the large parking lot behind the Spreckels Organ Pavilion. Look for the Gold Gulch Remote Parking Lot sign. There’s no sidewalk!

You can also reach the Australian Garden by walking south down Gold Gulch Trail, which begins near El Prado at the Zoro Garden. The trail passes under the Space Theater Way bridge near the Fleet Science Center and continues along the east side of the Japanese Friendship Garden. Once you see a fenced area where the green Balboa Park shuttles are stored, you’re there!

Plants in the Australian Garden, according to this page, include: “Grevellia, Acacia, Callistemon, Banksia, Hakea, Stenocarpus, Leptospermum, Melaleuca, and Eucalyptus.” There are no signs in Gold Gulch Canyon at the garden, but apparently there are plans to create trails in this area of Balboa Park and erect an informational kiosk.

In 1935, this small canyon was the home of Gold Gulch, a popular attraction at Balboa Park’s California Pacific International Exposition. According to Wikipedia, Gold Gulch was an “Old West mining town-ghost town re-creation for fairgoers to experience the atmosphere of a mining boomtown… Gold Gulch inspired and influenced subsequent Western theme parks…Examples include the Calico Ghost Town…and the “Ghost Town” section of Knott’s Berry Farm… and Frontierland by Walt Disney.…”

The above photo of the “hidden” Australian Garden was taken from a point above the canyon, behind the WorldBeat Cultural Center and Centro Cultural de la Raza.

This blog now features thousands of photos around San Diego! Are you curious? There’s lots of cool stuff to check out!

Here’s the Cool San Diego Sights main page, where you can read the most current blog posts.  If you’re using a phone or small mobile device, click those three parallel lines up at the top–that opens up my website’s sidebar, where you’ll see the most popular posts, a search box, and more!

To enjoy future posts, you can also “like” Cool San Diego Sights on Facebook or follow me on Twitter.

Cherry blossoms appear in Balboa Park!

Spring must be around the corner, because pink clouds of cherry blossoms have appeared in Balboa Park’s beautiful Japanese Friendship Garden!

I arrived at Balboa Park late this afternoon, after a long walk elsewhere in San Diego. Luckily I captured the last rays of sunlight filtering into JFG’s Lower Garden, with its many Japanese cherry trees.

Enjoy a few photos…

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!

Balboa Park’s magical winter garden.

If there’s one garden in Balboa Park that’s truly magical during the winter season, it’s the Japanese Friendship Garden. Beauty thrives all year long in this very special place.

I visited today. I believe right now it’s the only attraction open in Balboa Park. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced museums to close. Even the San Diego Zoo is now closed.

If you’re feeling a bit down this winter, take a slow stroll through the Japanese Friendship Garden.

You’ll feel alive again.

(Artists take note! The Japanese Friendship Garden is now looking for artists to be a part of their next project, which concerns healing through creativity during the coronavirus pandemic. It appears the deadline for submissions is today! Any and all artists are welcome! Click here to learn more!)

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 succulents and cacti of Seaport Village.

I discovered a little bit of history yesterday!

You know all those beautiful old succulents and cacti you see in Seaport Village, particularly around the plaza containing the main fountain?

As I walked around the circular plaza I happened to spy a painted tile on top of one planter wall.

Words explain: The beautiful succulents and cacti you are enjoying here were selected and planted by Mr. Chuck Ito of Leucadia, California. 1980.

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!

Greek community’s olive tree in Balboa Park.

Visitors to Balboa Park walking between the Desert Garden and Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden might notice a single olive tree. It grows a short distance from the winding pathway, near some logs at the edge of Florida Canyon where people can sit while listening to ranger talks.

What they probably won’t observe is a plaque describing the tree. The plaque, which is not easily seen from the busy walkway, explains the olive tree was donated to the City of San Diego by the local Greek community in November 1976.

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!