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!

Sunflowers on the Silver Strand.

There were many empty picnic benches on the bay side of Silver Strand State Beach today.

I chose a shady one that faced these bright sunflowers. Then I took out a notebook and struggled with my writing.

Words never seem adequate.

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!

If you’d like to read an inspirational little story about sunflowers and human kindness, click here!

Walking east along the Sweetwater River.

A couple weekends ago I walked a very short segment of the Sweetwater River Bikeway, from Hoover Avenue west to the Pier 32 Marina. You can revisit those photos here.

Today I returned to the Sweetwater River and walked east along the bikeway from Hoover Avenue all the way to Plaza Bonita.

I was struck by the contrasts.

The rocky-sided river channel, as seen looking down from Interstate 5, appears almost barren, but when you walk along the bike path you notice many plants among the broken rocks, and the ones that are deep-rooted were very green in the summer sunlight.

During the day bicyclists and runners passed me by as I slowly walked, and the nearby busy westbound lanes of U.S. Route 54 sometimes came into view. But late at night, the scene is obviously very different. There was graffiti which increased as I progressed east to Interstate 805. There was trash and frequent evidence of homelessness. As I came into the vicinity of Interstate 805, I passed several active homeless encampments. And the graffiti spoke of gang activity, with references to drugs and death.

But as I headed east, the river also became more alive. A marshy wetland appeared with discarded shopping carts and happily paddling ducks. Trees began to flourish along the banks, and eventually grew so thick they concealed a river full of reeds and lush greenery.

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!

Sunlight illuminates beauty in Alcazar Garden.

If you’ve ever wandered about Balboa Park in the late afternoon, and found yourself walking along El Prado directly next to the Alcazar Garden, you’ve probably seen the bright leaves.

I headed that way today.

For eyes turned toward the Alcazar Garden, the sunlight was illuminating great beauty.

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 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!

The beauty of nature on the coastal strand.

The coastal strand lies just above the high tide line of a beach. While its appearance might be sandy, dry and scraggly, look closely and you’ll find plenty of nature’s endless beauty.

Last Saturday I walked around Silver Strand State Beach.

Entrance station at Silver Strand State Beach.
Entrance station at Silver Strand State Beach.
The blue Pacific Ocean stretches beyond the seemingly barren western shore of the Silver Strand. Point Loma and a cruise ship can be seen in the distance.
The blue Pacific Ocean stretches beyond the seemingly barren western shore of the Silver Strand. Point Loma and a cruise ship can be seen in the distance.
The flowers of beach suncup, or evening primrose, are like bright gems on the sand.
The flowers of beach suncup, or evening primrose, are like bright gems on the sand.
The Western Snowy Plover depends on kelp and seagrass washed ashore, feeding on insects. Their young are hatched in the sand. Fences keep the feet of people away.
The Western Snowy Plover depends on kelp and seagrass washed ashore, feeding on insects. Their young are hatched in the sand. Fences keep the feet of beachgoers away.
Walking along the San Diego Bay side of the State Park.
Walking along the San Diego Bay side of the State Park.
Coastal strand plants begin to grow past the tide line. Winds and waves sculpt the sands in this dynamic, yet fragile habitat.
Coastal strand plants begin to grow past the tide line. Winds and waves sculpt the sands in this dynamic, yet fragile habitat.

San Diego black-tailed jackrabbits are frequently seen in the dry coastal sage scrub of Silver Strand State Beach.
San Diego black-tailed jackrabbits are frequently seen in the dry coastal sage scrub of Silver Strand State Beach.
How many rabbits can you see? They are well adapted to this environment.
How many rabbits can you see? They are well adapted to this environment.

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…

DSCN2544z

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!

Fossils exposed in Hillcrest on University Avenue!

Perceptive people who walk along University Avenue in Hillcrest, between First Avenue and Park Boulevard, might see dozens of fossils “exposed” in the sidewalk.

These small, stone-sculpted plant and animal fossils are part of San Diego’s largest public art installation, which stretches about a mile long!

Fossils Exposed, created by San Diego artist Doron Rosenthal in 1998, consists of 150 granite markers set in the sidewalks along either side of University Avenue.

Doron Rosenthal has always been inspired by the unique beauty of desert landscapes. After spending some time in Pietra Santa, Italy, working with and learning from some of the world’s greatest sculptors, Doron Rosenthal returned to Southern California and taught stone cutting at the San Diego Art Institute. He continues to produce art today.

According to the artist’s website, “FOSSILS EXPOSED involves the creation and installation of 150 circular 4.5 inch granite markers. Each represent the artist’s interpretive carvings of local and regional fossilized plant and animal life, which are sandblasted into granite…. The imagery is inspired by the fossil collections from the San Diego Museum of Natural History. Each marker is different, representing various plant and animal species covered over by modern day urban development. The project would encourage awareness of the levels of life that struggled to exist within the area–some in the past, some in the present…”

To learn more, visit Doron Rosenthal’s website here.

I walked along University Avenue this morning and photographed just a fraction of the many Fossils Exposed.

To my eyes, it appears that over the years these man-made fossils have become even more fossil-like. They’ve aged along with the slowly weathering sidewalks and surroundings.

Unfortunately, it also appears much of the fossil artwork is now missing. Sections of sidewalk have been replaced over time, and I could locate no markers along a few stretches of University Avenue. I suspect that when old sections of concrete sidewalk were removed, certain fossils vanished, and ended up buried under layers of rubble and Earth. Where most true fossils are found.

If that’s the case, what a shame.

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 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!