February 16, 2017

Join Me in the Sunshine at the
San Diego Botanic Garden

ocean view

It's looking like the Midwest will have an early spring this year. However, even during a mild winter my mind tends to wander to warmer places.

Last year, in March, when we traveled to San Diego, one of my favorite destinations was the San Diego Botanic Garden, in Encinitas. As with all botanical gardens, my time there was too short. But here are a few highlights.

childrens garden 1

In the children's garden, signage and garden descriptions are friendly and informative.

childrens garden 2

This whimsical planter on a post describes the precious resource of water and how to conserve it.

childrens garden 3

Without words: sculpture illustrating the importance of pollinators.

childrens garden 6

This sign explains hummingbirds' penchant for long, tubular flowers, as the little friends circle around the nearby flowers and hide in the treetops.

childrens garden 4

The San Diego Botanic Garden provides protected habitat for Monarch caterpillars.

childrens garden 5

And a "bed and breakfast" enclosure for butterflies through all their life stages.

giant swallowtail

Many butterflies, like this Giant Swallowtail, flit and float throughout the gardens.

fiddler

This "Fiddler" steel sculpture seems to come to life at the center of a mixed garden area.

mariachi topiaries 1

Mariachis covered in succulents--perfect!

mariachi topiaries 2

And dancers nearby--pure joy.

tropical

One area of the garden is dedicated to a tropical rain forest theme.

tropical epiphytes

Including the specialized plants that inhabit rain forests.

epiphytes collage

Some epiphytes in the gardens are potted, while others perch on trees.

kiwi aeonium

Likewise with plentiful succulents, like this Kiwi Aeonium, planted directly in the soil.

succulent bowls

Others planted in pots.

And then more plants ...

lilac verbena

Lilac Verbena (V. lilacina; syn. Glandularia lilacina), native to Baja California and Mexico.

olulu

Olulu or Cabbage on a Stick (Brighamia insignis), nearly extinct and native to the Hawaiian islands.

coral tree

Coral Tree (Erythrina caffra), native to South Africa.

cycad

Long-Leafed Cycad (Encephalartos longifolius), native to South Africa.

baja fairy duster

Baja Fairy Duster (Calliandra californica), native to California.

coast sunflower

California Brittlebush (Encelia californica), also native to California.

blue chalksticks

Blue Chalksticks (Senecio mandraliscae), native to South Africa.

clivia

Clivia (C. miniata) native to South Africa.

calif lilac

California Lilac (Ceanothus arboreus), native to California.

citrus

The botanical garden also has groves of Citrus, native to various Asian and Pacific locales.

bananas

And other fruits, such as Bananas (Musa acuminata), native to Southeast Asia.

secret garden 1

One of my favorite spots: the walled garden. Secret gardens with benches always beckon.

bottlebrush 1

Draping over the walled garden are giant Weeping Bottlebrush (Callistemon viminalis, syn. Melaleuca viminalis) trees.

bottlebrush 2

Yummy.

bottlebrush 3

While I was in this walled garden admiring these trees, hummingbirds were buzzing by. But I couldn't seem to capture them in a photo--partly because of the great camouflage of the trees.

hummer

Later, I enlarged one of the photos and found a surprise hummer. You can see how easy it is for them to hide among the leaves and flowers. :)

secret garden 2

Bye, for now, walled garden and San Diego Botanic Garden. I hope I'll visit again before too long.

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(Note: The San Diego Botanic Garden has a substantial collection of native and xeric plants. A future post will focus more on these plants.)

50 comments:

  1. Lovely get-away place. But why is it called Walled Garden? Is it that much different from the unwalled areas? I also love the human structures with plants on their bodies. And those butterfly enclosures/baskets remind me of mine which i bought years ago, but till now hasn't been used for lack of time at home. Now i have sourced some milkweed seeds and now already with buds, but i still arrive home only on Sat after lunch, leaving again on Sunday afternoon. I hope to use them sooner.

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    1. How interesting: I did read that Monarch butterflies are sometimes visitors to New Guinea and the Philippines and other locations. But the Milkweed flowers are great nectar sources for other butterflies and pollinators, too. Regarding the Walled Garden, I don't know much about the history of it, but there is a wall around part of it. Apparently, people can rent it for weddings and special events. The plants are beautiful in it--especially the large and colorful Bottlebrush trees.

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  2. A wonderful garden with beautiful plants decorations, and no butterflies. A long time I could walk there. Regards.

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    1. Yes, it's a beautiful place to visit, and the climate is so pleasant. Many butterflies and other pollinators. :)

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  3. Wonderful to see the many treasures of this part of the garden. The butterflies are quite beautiful. Have you ever been to South Texas to the NABA butterfly place? You would absolutely love it. So many different butterflies and enthusiasts.

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    1. Hi Lisa: Have you been to the San Diego Botanic Garden? Yes, the butterflies, hummingbirds, and other pollinators were plentiful. No, I've never been to the NABA facility, but I'd love to visit. Thanks for the tip!

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  4. Ah thanks for the memories! Since I visited in December we definitely saw different things.

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    1. Yes, I've so enjoyed seeing your posts about your California visits, too! I imagine SD Botanic Garden is incredible just about any time of year. :)

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  5. So lovely to see the many things I have to keep in pots under glass just growing outdoors in the open soil. I had the same experience recently in Australia. A person could get used to that sort of climate!

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    1. Yes, San Diego's climate is certainly pleasant and mild for the plants. I think I might be able to get used to it, too, although I think I might miss the more obvious change of seasons a little.

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  6. Lots of wonderful things that seem quite exotic from a PNW perspective.

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    1. Yes, and definitely exotic from a Midwestern perspective. ;-) I think of your climate as mild, although this year it seems like the PNW has had more snow and a tougher winter than the Midwest!

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  7. I want those butterfly habitat protectors for my emerging bulbs to keep the bunnies away!

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    1. I think they might be laundry hampers, staked down. I know I've used similar ones here for raising monarch caterpillars. They work really well, and they would probably work well for keeping out the bunnies, too. Not sure how effective they'd be for preventing vole or field mouse damage, though.

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  8. Although I don't love So. Cal, there are so many plants that I'd love to have in my garden, if only they would grow there (which they will not). Aeonium and chalksticks top the list. Love the mesh covers for the milkweed - am thinking of stealing the idea for deer and rabbit deterrent purposes.

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    1. Yes, I think the mesh covers could help to keep the deer and rabbits at bay. I love S. Calif., but I don't think I'd want to live there for a long time. I'd miss the season changes, even though I complain about winter. It is fun to visit these places during our cold months, though. :)

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  9. What a unique garden! Totally reminds me of Woutrina DeRaad's Sculpture Garden sans all those tropical plants, of course :)

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    1. Ah, that's interesting, Margaret! I hadn't even thought about that sculpture garden in relation to this one, but some of the arty aspects of it are similar. This botanical garden simply has so much to see, and I've only covered a small portion of it. Sigh.

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  10. What a treat, I would love to bs able to grow some of these tropical beauties.

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    1. I know--me, too! Although I would miss my Midwestern garden, too. I guess some of these things could be grown in pots and then brought in for the winter.

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  11. What a wonderful place! Not just the plants but also the fun displays and the butterfly features.
    I think my favourite image is that glorious coral tree.
    Best wishes :)

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    1. Yes, it's a great family-friendly botanical garden. I imagined bringing nieces, nephews, or grandkids there. The Coral tree was gorgeous, indeed. :)

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  12. Looks like March is the perfect time for San Diego. Did you go to the zoo too? I hear the gardens there are fabulous.

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    1. Yes, it did seem like the perfect time to vacation in S. Calif. The gardens outside the zoo were incredible! I walked around the area and Balboa Park while my hubby and son went to the zoo. Amazing plants all around there!

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  13. Beautiful creative gardens . . .

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    1. Hi Lynne: Yes, indeed, they are wonderful! :)

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  14. That chalksticks Senencio is one I keep meaning to add to my garden. Maybe at the Kirstenbpch Plant Sale in March?

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    1. Lucky you to have a similar climate to San Diego! And you can grow most of these amazing plants, right outside in your garden! And many of them are native to your part of the world. I'm jealous!

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  15. As you know we've been to LA several times but never San Diego. You're making me want to add this place to our list of places we must visit. Love the planter in the third picture.

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    1. Oh yes, you would really enjoy it! So many highlights...and this is only a small part of it!

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  16. Interestingly, many of the plants are very familiar to me. I guess the climate might be similar? What I especially adored were the topiaries. I've never seen topiaries with succulents, so creative and it really works. Altogether the combination of art and plants seems excellent in these gardens. Thanks for sharing your visit with us, Beth.

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    1. You're welcome, Sue. I would guess the climate would be very similar. San Diego by the ocean usually doesn't get super hot nor super cold. Inland, however, it's more of a desert climate. Yes, the topiaries were so wonderful!

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  17. These gardens are lovely and I remember many of the plants from when I saw them in the San Francisco Botanical Garden a few years back. I love the garden's efforts in preserving both endangered species of plants and the Monarch Butterfly. Also, you are reminding me of the wide diversity of plants they had with their versatile growing climate. Thank you for sharing all your wonderful photos and taking us along on the tour!

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    1. You're welcome, Lee. I've never been to the San Francisco Botanical Garden, so I'll have to add that to my bucket list. Yes, San Diego's climate is plant- and people-friendly. :)

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  18. Hi Beth, I haven't been to the San Diego Botanic Garden for ages. Isn't it often the case that the things that are close to you you value less and put off to visit because you believe you can always do it?
    I really enjoyed your tour and promised myself to go there soon.
    Warm regards,
    Christina

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    1. Hi Christina: I know what you mean about neglecting the destinations that are close. I do that, too, sometimes. I'm envious that you can go to the San Diego Botanic Garden any day, in any season ... and be comfortable! We have several amazing gardens here in Madison, but I rarely visit them in winter. Spring, summer, and fall, though ... I'm there! ;-)

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  19. A lovely tour. I love the idea with the succulents.

    Guess What? I have been accepted into the Master Gardener Class starting March 7th. I am so excited.

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    1. Congrats, Carla! That will be a great experience. (You would love the SD Botanic Garden!)

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  20. Love those bottlebrush trees. I saw similar looking plants (though different species, I'm sure) on a recent trip to south Florida. The ones there were buzzing with loads of bees. Any bees flying with the hummers in San Diego?

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    1. I know--the Bottlebrush trees were a hit with all the pollinators, and there were so many hummingbirds zooming in and out of them! Yes, bees, too.

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  21. Really nice tour of the gardens, Beth. Lovely images. I am glad you took a photo of the Monarch caterpillar protection. That is nice they provide that. It is a Google issue. I am now on my iPad and it offers the option.

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    1. Thanks, Donna. I was happy to see they provided the Monarch habitat AND that they educated about how to help the Monarchs. I'm glad you figured out the Google issue. Those challenges can be so frustrating.

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  22. The weeping bottlebrush is one of my favorites. I love all the gorgeous flowers and the pretty garden and fun art. Looks like a nice place to visit. Enjoy you day and the week ahead!

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    1. I love it, too. Yes, the SD Botanic Garden is definitely a highlight of a visit to S. California. Thanks, Eileen!

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  23. What a treat to see all these gorgeous blooms in February! I was happy to see the Baja Fairy Duster--I remember that plant from my trips to Arizona when my daughter lived there. And I love all the whimsical touches and statuary, especially in the children's garden.

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    1. Yes, it was fun to see them in person last March, too. ;-) Great place--you'd love it! Lucky you, to spend time in Arizona. Both destinations seem perfect getaways for Midwesterners in late winter!

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  24. Do you know why the butterfly weed was caged?

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  25. Hi Les: Yes, the cages help protect the caterpillars from the elements, but more importantly, from predators--such as birds, predatory insects, and others. Monarchs need all the help they can get with their declining numbers.

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