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…

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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!

The gazebos of Balboa Park’s hidden garden.

There’s a hidden garden in Balboa Park that almost nobody visits. It’s called the Administrative Courtyard.

The Administrative Courtyard is green, peaceful and very beautiful. There are fountains. There are arbors with vines and trees. To me, the most wonderful part of this courtyard garden are the gazebos at its corners. They give this special place personality. They are both cheerful and elegant, welcoming visitors with their bright tiled domes and nearby benches.

As I walked through and around the gazebos on a sunny winter’s day, I found many interesting contrasts of light and shadow for my camera.

If you’d like to find the hidden Administrative Courtyard, head to Balboa Park’s Inspiration Point, east of Park Boulevard, and walk behind the Developed Regional Parks Administration Building. That’s the handsome building that stands with its double towers atop a hill.

This corner of Balboa Park, including the Administration Building and nearby Veterans Museum (originally a military chapel), was once part of San Diego’s United States Naval Hospital, which was built in the early 1920s. When the hospital moved into Florida Canyon, Inspiration Point opened up its wonders to you and me.

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Lingering flames in one autumn garden.

It’s mid-autumn. Winter will be here before you know it. Brilliant color in most gardens will be extinguished. But a few sunny “flames” still linger at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park!

I swung by this afternoon!

The fruit on one large Chinese flame tree between the Exhibit House and Koi Pond have mostly turned brown. But one or two clusters still appear reddish high up in the green leaves.

And small purplish flames are still visible in the Bonsai collection. A beautiful fire remains lit in one carefully pruned bougainvillea!

Unfortunately, too much light has been extinguished elsewhere in Balboa Park for the time being. Most museums are closed again due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Two attractions, the Japanese Friendship Garden and San Diego Zoo, remain open–the outdoor parts, at least!

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!

Sunrise at the Balboa Park rose garden.

Early yesterday morning I took photographs of the sunrise from Balboa Park’s beautiful Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden.

This world-class rose garden overlooks Florida Canyon and offers views of San Diego’s mountains in East County.

Should you ever visit Balboa Park, look for the many flowers next to Park Boulevard. This small bit of heaven can be enjoyed south of the pedestrian bridge at the east end of El Prado.

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!

Cardiff’s beautiful Harbaugh Seaside Parkway.

Beautiful flowers by the path through old Carpentier Parkway, which is turning into Harbaugh Seaside Parkway.
Beautiful greenery by the path through old Carpentier Parkway, which is being transformed into Harbaugh Seaside Parkway.

In Cardiff-by-the-Sea, the bicycle and pedestrian-friendly Cardiff Rail Trail is a relatively new segment of the much longer Coastal Rail Trail, that when finally completed will link San Diego to Oceanside.

Right next to the Cardiff Rail Trail is a garden-like linear park. From what I can gather, this old park maintained by the Cardiff Botanical Society was originally named the Carpentier Parkway, and is now being revamped, turning into Harbaugh Seaside Parkway. I don’t know that much about the project, apart from a few pages I found searching the internet. The George and Betty Harbaugh Charitable Foundation was also instrumental in creating the Harbaugh Seaside Trails at the north end of Solana Beach between Highway 101 and the train tracks.

Yesterday I walked a short distance through the somewhat ragged but quite beautiful Harbaugh Seaside Parkway. Starting at Chesterfield Drive just east of the train tracks, turning off from the paved Cardiff Rail Trail, I walked north up a winding dirt path between flowers, trees, plaques and a sculpture.

I had to brush a thin layer of dirt from engraved pavers and stones.

Enjoy these photographs. I’ve transcribed some of the words that I found on plaques and a weathered sign in a kiosk…

The south end of the dirt path leads away from the Cardiff Rail Trail just north of Chesterfield Drive.
The south end of the dirt path leads away from the Cardiff Rail Trail just north of Chesterfield Drive.

I believe this old wooden Welcome to Cardiff By the Sea sign used to stand beside Highway 101.
I believe this old wooden Welcome to Cardiff By the Sea sign used to stand beside Highway 101.

Bird of Paradise

Lord sent me to this world
as a soul trapped in a human body,
like a bird trapped in a cage
I am waiting for the day
that the Lord will fly me back home.
–Rumi

In memory of my daughter
Chantal Paydar

“Carpentier Parkway proves it is possible to provide beautiful, lush, flowered garden landscaping while using 75% less irrigation water without resorting to using desert plants. This park in downtown Cardiff-by-the-Sea covers the area between San Elijo and the railway tracks from Birmingham to Chesterfield and used to be an ugly patch of weeds…”

Dedicated to the memory of Wayne Holden and to the Honor of all the Volunteers who have given time and donations for the Carpentier Parkway. 1999.

The Cardiff Chamber of Commerce commissioned the statue to be sculptured for Wayne Holden, who died at 47 years old… James Pugh, Sculpturer…

A beautiful old tree has two plaques at its base.
A beautiful old tree has two plaques at its base.

There was a lovely lady from Singapore
Whose humor was great and tales were lore
With a laugh so infectious none could ignore
For all that knew her till the age of eighty-four.

In memory of Kathleen Jack 1928-2013

Good Morning Cardiff by the Sea
Darreld Kitaen 10/2/36 – 1/3/19
Happy Days – Love and Peace

In Loving Memory
Richard W. (Dick) Kratzer

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!

Dappled beauty at Japanese Friendship Garden.

This afternoon I enjoyed a new exhibition of beautiful cultural artifacts at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park. The exhibition, featuring pieces in the collection of the Mingei International Museum, concerns Japanese maneki neko, which are beckoning cat figurines believed to bring good luck.

Beforehand and afterward, I walked about the garden. Everywhere I turned I saw dappled light and shadow–in trees, on rocks, on the grass. So I took these photographs of the surrounding beauty…

If you love the Japanese Friendship Garden and would like to walk with them as they grow, read the above sign.

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!

Neighbor releases butterflies in San Diego park!

A neighbor in San Diego’s Cortez Hill community has released butterflies in a city park. She accomplished this with a paintbrush and stencils!

Take a look!

I learned from Joe Ciavarella of Friends of Tweet Street Park that the beautiful butterflies–and birds, flowers and dragonflies–you see in my photos were painted on planters and stones recently by Victoria Villavicencio, who periodically visits Cortez Hill.

Tweet Street Linear Park at the top of Cortez Hill becomes ever more inviting over time, thanks not only to the friendly workers of San Diego’s Parks and Recreation Department, but to unselfish community volunteers who devotedly plant, tend and clean the garden-like park.

From one who lives a few steps away: 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!

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!