Inspiration found in small scenes of beauty.

Whenever I forget to look closely at the world, I miss the hidden beauty. And the unexpected inspiration.

These photographs were all taken today at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park.

This special garden’s breathtaking beauty has inspired a several very short stories. I wrote A Short BloomThe Child and the Koi and Waterfall Tears while sitting quietly by the stream that bubbles through the canyon.

I hope these photos–these small scenes of beauty–inspire you, too.

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? Follow my special blog which I call Beautiful Balboa Park!

Do you enjoy beautiful things? Visit my other photography blog which I call A Small World Full of Beauty.

The fantastic, amazing Harper’s Topiary Garden!

People ride past what is possibly the most amazing, fantastic front yard in all of San Diego!
People ride past what is possibly the most amazing, fantastic front yard in all of San Diego!

I walked through Middletown yesterday on a mission. I wanted to pay a visit to the locally famous Harper’s Topiary Garden!

What a fantastic, amazing creation! This private front yard on a hillside has been transformed by the residents into a eye-popping landscape of weird animals and delightful designs. I felt as though I’d stepped into a small world touched by magic.

This is one super cool sight that is undeniably extraordinary!

Human imagination coupled with passion can actually turn wildest dreams into reality!

Mission Hill Garden Club asks How Does Your Garden Grow? I'll bet it's nothing like the Harper's Topiary Garden!
Mission Hill Garden Club asks How Does Your Garden Grow? I’ll bet it’s nothing like the Harper’s Topiary Garden!
Harper's Topiary Garden seems to be a combination of a vegetable Noah's Ark and an army of unearthly creatures paralyzed by magic.
Harper’s Topiary Garden seems to be a combination of a vegetable Noah’s Ark and an army of fantasy creatures paralyzed by magic.
A green guy in a sombrero takes a siesta. Perhaps this is his dream.
A green guy in a sombrero takes a siesta. Perhaps this is his dream.
A funny rabbit stands and points among many topiary creatures.
A funny rabbit stands and points among many topiary oddities.
It appears that Edna Scissorhands is kept quite busy.
It appears that Edna Scissorhands is kept quite busy.
Harper's Topiary Garden is a marvel of human creativity.
Harper’s Topiary Garden is a marvel of human creativity.
Those who drive up this street might be in for a great surprise!
Those who drive up this street might be in for a great surprise!
Cats and critters with long ears lounge in the sun near the top of the wonderfully weird garden. I think I also see a robot.
Cats and critters with long ears lounge in the sun near the top of the wonderfully weird garden. I think I also see a robot.
Perhaps the garden was inspired a bit by the fantastic worlds of Dr. Seuss, who lived in nearby La Jolla.
Perhaps the garden is inspired a bit by the fantastic worlds of Dr. Seuss, who lived in nearby La Jolla.
A most fantastic topiary garden. A treat for the eyes!
A most amazing topiary garden. A treat for the eyes!

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!

California Native Plant Society in Balboa Park.

People check potted greenery during the California Native Plant Society's Fall Plant Sale in Balboa Park.
People look at potted greenery during the California Native Plant Society’s Fall Plant Sale in Balboa Park.

Yesterday the California Native Plant Society had their Fall Plant Sale in Balboa Park. I stumbled upon the cool event during my random walk through the park.

Lots of people were looking at all sorts of potted plants, perhaps thinking of making a purchase for their yards. Residents of San Diego are encouraged to use native flora for landscaping. San Diego has a cool arid climate, and like the rest of Southern California our growing city has a limited supply of water.

Many plants and flowers native to the San Diego region were for sale in the outdoor courtyard of the Casa del Prado.
Many plants and flowers native to the San Diego region were for sale in the outdoor courtyard of the Casa del Prado.
Balboa Park's iconic California Tower is seen through an archway at the Casa del Prado.
Balboa Park’s iconic California Tower is seen through an archway at the Casa del Prado.
Many packets of seeds were also for sale.
Many packets of seeds were also for sale.
Fred Roberts, a local botanist, artist and author had some of his beautiful bird art for sale at one end of the long table.
Fred Roberts, a local botanist, artist and author had some of his beautiful bird art for sale at one end of the long table.
He also created these flower shirts.
He also created these flower shirts.
One good thing about native plants is they don't require very much water. We live in an arid climate!
One very good thing about native plants is they don’t require much water. San Diego has an arid climate!

If you’d like to see some photos of the House of Spain’s lawn program in Balboa Park yesterday, which included lots of colorful dancing, I posted those 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 fun photos for you to share and enjoy!

More stunning beauty in the Botanical Building.

The Botanical Building in Balboa Park is a garden paradise. I love to walk through it, searching right and left for small scenes of stunning beauty.

This afternoon I managed to capture some good 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!

Do you love Balboa Park? Please visit my special blog which I call Beautiful Balboa Park!

Your donation improves beautiful Tweet Street Park.

A recently improved section of Tweet Street Park on Cortez Hill. Volunteers help make this downtown neighborhood more beautiful.
A recently improved section of Tweet Street Park on Cortez Hill. Volunteers help make this downtown neighborhood even more beautiful.

Do you love Tweet Street Park on Cortez Hill? I feel very fortunate that I get to walk through the narrow but lush park almost every single day.

Over the past weeks and months, I’ve noticed smiling volunteers busy pruning, planting, removing trash, and adding new beauty to our downtown park. They are the Friends of Tweet Street Park! They welcome new community members!

A couple days ago I talked to Joe Ciavarella as he was working on one section of the park. I learned that Cortez Hill residents and anyone interested in beautifying this special corner of downtown San Diego can make a tax deductible contribution that benefits the Friends of Tweet Street Park. Funds obtained go to the purchase of gardening tools, new plants and materials that are used for a variety of landscaping improvements.

If you’d like to make a donation, visit this page.

Positive people doing positive things make each corner of this world a whole lot better!

In addition to hard work, improving the park requires the purchase of tools, plants and other material. Anyone can now easily make a donation!
In addition to the work of volunteers, improving the park requires the purchase of tools, plants and other material. Anyone can now easily make a donation!

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!

Are you a blogger? Do you want to help make the world a better place? You might want to join Bloggers Lifting Others Generously.

A plant in Balboa Park now extinct in the wild.

Balboa Park's knowledgeable Ranger Kim Duclo points out an extremely rare specimen of Deppea splendens in the Botanical Building.
Balboa Park’s knowledgeable Ranger Kim Duclo points out an extremely rare specimen of Deppea splendens in the Botanical Building.

I learned something really amazing last Sunday in Balboa Park. I had joined one of Ranger Kim Duclo’s park tours as it was in progress, and I followed the group into the Botanical Building.

Near the center of the Botanical Building, Ranger Kim stopped beside a beautiful green tree and told us it was one of the rarest plants in the entire world!

Deppea splendens was originally discovered in 1973 by botanist Dennis Breedlove. He found it growing in a single spot in Mexico’s southern mountains. Fortunately Dennis gathered some seeds. Because when he returned in 1986, the plants had all been destroyed. The area had been developed into farmland.

Ranger Kim told us that specimens of Deppea splendens now grow in relatively few places–mostly in special havens like Balboa Park. He also said that one day the plant might be reintroduced into the wild, much as the California condor was saved locally from extinction and successfully returned to its natural habitat.

May that day come!

A look at the thriving Deppea splendens inside Balboa Park's lush Botanical Building.
Photo of a thriving Deppea splendens inside Balboa Park’s lush Botanical Building.
The distinctive flowers of Deppea splendens, a plant that is now extinct in the wild. This public domain photograph is from Wikimedia Commons.
The distinctive flowers of Deppea splendens, a plant that is now extinct in the wild. I found this public domain photograph at Wikimedia Commons.
These beautiful green leaves might be reintroduced into the wild one day!
These rare, beautiful leaves might be seen once again in the wild!

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 fascinating photos for you to share and enjoy!

Photos of San Diego Bonsai Club exhibition.

Many beautiful works of bonsai art could be viewed today in the Casa del Prado in Balboa Park.
Many beautiful works of bonsai art could be viewed today in Balboa Park.

Here are more photos that you might enjoy! I took them this afternoon at the San Diego Bonsai Club exhibition, which was held inside the Casa del Prado in Balboa Park.

The art of bonsai has always fascinated me. A tiny, carefully tended tree can speak so much about life. About time and human struggle, about balance and poise.

It’s funny how artists can create a profound feeling of untamed natural beauty using orderly, controlled methods. It is absolutely contradictory. But there is much in art–as in life–that is hard to explain.

A sign outside the Casa del Prado directs visitors to an exhibition by the San Diego Bonsai Club.
A sign outside the Casa del Prado directs visitors to an exhibition by the San Diego Bonsai Club.
Demonstrations were part of the event. These friendly people were patiently working on their bonsai trees and explaining the process.
Demonstrations were part of the event. These friendly people in the Casa del Prado’s inner courtyard were patiently working on their bonsai trees and explaining the process to those who were curious.
The many tools of a bonsai gardener.
The many specialized tools of a bonsai gardener.
One member of the San Diego Bonsai Club created a cool display that contrasted her bonsai with photos of trees in local landscapes.
One member of the San Diego Bonsai Club created a cool display that contrasted her bonsai with photos of trees in local landscapes.
Like any other good art, bonsai evokes emotion. Nature inspires the bonsai artist. Styles can include Windswept, Formal Upright, Informal Upright and Forest.
Like any other good art, bonsai evokes emotion. Nature inspires the bonsai artist. Styles can include Windswept, Formal Upright, Informal Upright and Forest.
This bonsai Prostrata Juniper has been trained and pruned to appear ancient--the product of wild nature.
This bonsai Prostrata Juniper has been trained and pruned to appear ancient–the product of wild, tempestuous nature.
A tiny Japanese black pine is one object in a small room-like scene.
A tiny Japanese black pine is one object in a small room-like scene.
A fine work of art created by a lover of bonsai.
A fine work of art created by a lover of bonsai.
An ornamental porcelain berry arranged in an beautiful pot.
An ornamental porcelain berry arranged in an beautiful pot.
These tiny succulents are in a tiny wheelbarrow!
These tiny succulents are in a tiny wheelbarrow!
Visitors to the San Diego Bonsai Club exhibition in Balboa Park enjoy looking at a small, very beautiful oriental sweetgum tree.
Visitors to the San Diego Bonsai Club exhibition in Balboa Park enjoy looking at a small, very beautiful oriental sweetgum tree.

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 fun photos for you to share and enjoy!