Preparing a maypole in Balboa Park!

The House of Sweden in Balboa Park is having their Midsummer Celebration this afternoon at 2 pm!

As I walked among the International Cottages this morning, I saw members of the House of Sweden preparing their beautiful maypole. And a nearby garland!

The celebration this year will be on a smaller scale than usual, as we try to finally shake free of the waning coronavirus pandemic.

It’s June 20, and a flowering spring has led to summer. Once again regenerative nature will be celebrated by many hands.

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!

Ghostly branches of a cottonwood in spring.

In late spring and early summer the branches of a cottonwood tree can become very ghostly!

I walked under a Fremont cottonwood by the San Diego River this morning. My eyes were intrigued by the windblown white “cotton” that had collected on its own gray limbs and branches.

Check out the upcoming photos. Those drooping white puffs that resemble cotton candy are actually a fruit called achene. Seeds are dispersed by the wind.

I’m no botanist, so I don’t pretend to understand much about it.

I do know, however, that these seeds can plant themselves in a fertile imagination. The cottonwood’s fuzzed branches appear ethereal, like phantom forms from some unearthly 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!

Bright yellow bursts of evening primrose!

This morning by the San Diego River I saw huge bursts of yellow flowers. It’s late spring–that time of year when Hooker’s evening primrose blooms!

Enjoy some photos!

(If you’re curious about that little red structure in the last two photographs, it’s the USGS stream gaging station at Fashion Valley. It contrasts nicely with the reddish stems and bright yellows!)

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!

Rose Creek depicted on new Fire Station 50!

Monumental public art debuted late last year, when the new San Diego Fire-Rescue Department Station 50 opened in University City. I saw the artwork for the first time on Saturday and took these photographs!

The huge metal sculpture on the building’s side represents “blue” Rose Creek running through “coppery” Rose Canyon, which the fire station is positioned above!

The artist, Susan Zoccola, has an assortment of great photos on her website, including images taken at night when the sculpture is lit. (I had to take my own shots into the sunlight. A little photo editing produced the results you see here.)

At first sight I thought the bluish wire-like tubes that compose the river represent smoke! Or perhaps the tall grass by the sidewalk! But, no. The vertically arranged river runs across perforated copper layers that intentionally appear like a topographic map–the type of map firefighters often use.

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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 new Moreton Bay Fig tree platform.

On Sunday I finally stepped onto the new platform that recently opened in Balboa Park under the huge Moreton Bay Fig tree, north of the San Diego Natural History Museum. The shady platform with welcoming wooden benches made of old logs was built by the Friends of Balboa Park.

The platform is the perfect place to relax, eat a snack or read, while listening to a strumming guitarist, or birds in branches, or happy laughter from nearby picnickers.

I took a photograph from the Moreton Bay Fig’s new platform of a sign down by some huge roots. The sign describes the history of this impressive, very beautiful tree.

I’ve transcribed the above words:

A Legacy of the 1915 Exposition

This Moreton Bay Fig Tree was planted over a hundred years ago in a formal garden created for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition. While it has not moved, its surroundings have changed. The garden, designed for the Southern California Counties Building was later replaced by the San Diego Natural History Museum.

It has grown to be the largest Moreton Bay Fig in Balboa Park and one of the largest in California. It exceeds 70 feet in height, the canopy extends 125 feet in width and the trunk is 16 feet in diameter.

Balboa Park becomes even more wonderful as the years roll on…

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 beauty of blooming Cleveland Sage.

I took these beautiful photos of blooming Cleveland Sage near the San Diego River this fine spring day.

Our city’s California coastal sage and chaparral habitat is home to several native species of sage, but none, in my opinion, is more pleasing to the senses than Cleveland Sage, sometimes called Fragrant Sage–for good reason!

The Cleveland Sage bursts with purple flowers from April to August. Few local wildflowers are more showy. In the hot days of summer the hardy perennial will appear dried out and scraggly, but the perfume lives on.

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!

Nature and art at Chollas Creekside Park.

Nature’s beauty and fine public art can be enjoyed at Chollas Creekside Park, located in southeast San Diego’s Chollas View neighborhood. The curved linear park, which preserves important natural habitat in an urban setting, can be found near the northwest corner of Market Street and Euclid Avenue.

A couple weekends ago I visited this beautiful community park for the first time and, by using the pedestrian bridge over Chollas Creek, walked the pathways along both sides of the dry creek bed.

I saw spring flowers. I saw new green leaves. I saw many birds.

I also paused to admire the Chollas Realm Gateways at either end of the park. The public artwork was created by local artist Roman de Salvo and installed in the summer of 2019.

At the center of Chollas Creekside Park, I circled Visualize Biodiversity. The 10-foot Corten sculpture is shaped like a barrel cactus. Patterns of butterflies and insects around its circumference light up at night. Created by artist Deedee Morrison, it was also installed in 2019.

You’ll see in my photos that I also climbed up to a lookout point above Chollas Creek, where there’s a great view of the entire park. With a little imagination one can visualize the surrounding area as it was before the city sprang up and streets and buildings covered the landscape.

Chollas Creek and Chollas View take their name from the Cholla cactus. Cholla were numerous here, once upon a time.

Chollas Realm Gateway, by artist Roman de Salvo, 2019.
Birds of Chollas Creek include California gnatcatcher, red-tailed hawk, Bell’s vireo, and cactus wren.
Visualize Biodiversity, by artist Deedee Morrison, 2019.
Plants of Chollas Creek include California buckwheat, California sunflower, lemonadeberry, and California sycamore.
Mammals of Chollas Creek include coyote, gray fox, desert cottontail, and big brown bat.
Benefits of creek restoration include cleaner water, reduced flooding and preservation of wildlife habitat along a riparian corridor.

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 springtime walk along Lake Hodges.

I spent most of my day Saturday in North County. My first destination was Lake Hodges.

Starting from the trailhead by Hernandez Hideaway, which is a short distance off Del Dios Highway, I walked north along the San Dieguito River Trail.

It was an overcast spring morning, cool, mostly quiet, with a few other walkers about and mountain bikers flying past in a very big hurry. Not sure what the hurry was. To seek adrenaline, I suppose.

After moving north along the trail for a few minutes, observing one or two fishermen relaxing down by the water, I found a side trail that led down to a private spot on the silver lake’s shore.

It was a time for open eyes and reflection.

Here are my photographs. Bright things in the gray morning included light on the rippling lake, yellow patches of mustard, and white snowy egrets.

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 sunflowers by the San Diego River.

Large patches of bright yellow sunflowers can now be enjoyed along the San Diego River!

It’s springtime!

The native Bush Sunflower (also known as California brittlebush or Encelia californica) grows throughout San Diego’s coastal sage scrub habitat, and can be seen almost anywhere you go–on hillsides, in canyons, by sidewalks–at least where they haven’t been crowded out by invasive crown daisies.

Fortunately, the banks of the San Diego River support thriving native vegetation, and patches of California bush sunflowers are numerous.

I walked along a short segment of the San Diego River Trail in Mission Valley today and captured these photographs.

The newly opened T & C Neighborhood Park adjacent to the Town and Country resort was carefully planted with native vegetation, and I found many bush sunflowers blooming along its pathways!

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!

How to create a wildlife-friendly backyard!

I saw this great information on how to create a wildlife-friendly backyard and thought I’d share it! These four ideas were posted in a trailhead kiosk at Mission Trail Regional Park.

  1. Grow plants that provide wildlife with a natural food source such as nuts, berries or nectar, or add backyard feeders.
  2. Provide water for wildlife with a birdbath, small pond or shallow dish.
  3. Offer protective cover for wildlife by providing ground cover, a hollow log or rock piles, dense shrubs or a roosting box.
  4. Provide places for wildlife to raise their young, such as a water garden, pond or nesting box.

If you’d like to watch the birds and animals without them being spooked, or perhaps take close-up photographs, consider building a blind from which you can watch your wild visitors!

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!