December 06, 2017

And Now for Some Colorful California Memories

Mixed bed

I won't say I like or want snow, but a few too many days of brown and gray have me longing for color and brightness.

So, let's take a trip to San Diego's Balboa Park, shall we? Back in March 2016, we traveled to San Diego for a family wedding, and I had a little free time to explore. Three other previous posts cover The San Diego Botanic Garden, Balboa Park's Rose Garden, and the Zoro Garden at Balboa Park.

This post covers plants you might see while strolling through Balboa Park's paths and parkways.

Strelitzia

For instance, Bird of Paradise plants (Strelitzia reginae) are abundant. This plant reminds me of my dear grandmother, as I'm told it was one of her favorites.

Pappaver

One would expect to find Poppies, and there are many--both native species and others, like this Iceland Poppy (Papaver nudicaule).

Echium

Pride of Madeira (Echium candicans), a lovely, dramatic bloomer, is a common plant in the area, too.

Echium bee

Where you see Echium plants, you're likely to see many, busy pollinators.

Hibiscus

Tropical Hibiscus flowers (H. rosa-sinensis) greet with volume, intensity, and flair.

Clivia walkway

There's a pathway just beyond the zoo that incorporates bright orange and yellow Clivia plants (C. miniata).

Clivia 1

This is a pleasant sight to see after several months of winter.

Clivia 2

The snails like them, too!

Topiary walkway

The pathways throughout Balboa Park are well-maintained and attractive, and encourage comfortable strolls.

Topiary

This pathway incorporates elephant topiaries.

Greenhouse

A highlight of Balboa Park is its historic botanical building. Unfortunately, it was closed during my visit--another reason to return! The lath structure is surrounded by a reflecting pond and beautiful bedding plants.

Adopt a Plot

The Friends of Balboa Park, encourage their Adopt-a-Plot program.

Exploring Balboa Park after spending the winter in the Midwest is like waking from a long, deep sleep. It's cathartic and euphoric, in the best senses of those words. After only a couple hours in Balboa Park, I felt refreshed and renewed, and I returned with nearly 250 plant photos. Here are just a few more notable beauties:

Bulbine
Bulbine (B. frutescens)

Tulipa
Red Tulips (Tulipa spp.)

Rudbeckia 'Irish Eyes'
Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta 'Irish Eyes')

Rhaphiolepis
Indian Hawthorn (Rhaphiolepis indica)

Plumbago
Blue Plumbago (P. auriculata)

Antirrhinum
Snapdragons (Antirrhinum spp.)

Heliotrope
Heliotrope (Heliotropium arborescens)

Galliarda
Blanket Flower (Gaillardia spp.)

Gaura
Gaura (G. lindheimeri)

Fremontodendron
Flannel Bush (Fremontodendron californicum)

Cerinthe
Honeywort (Cerinthe major)

Bauhinia
Orchid Tree (Bauhinia purpurea)

Chamaerops
Dwarf Fan Palm (Chamaerops humilis)

Callistemon
Bottlebrush (Callistemon seiberi or C. pallidus)

Part of me wants to fly to San Diego and skip the winter, but that won't happen this year. Plus, a warm vacation means so much more after surviving a cold winter. (At least that's what I keep telling myself.)

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[Special note: My thoughts and prayers are with those north of San Diego dealing with wildfires, and for people who will deal with the threat and the recovery in the days ahead.]

41 comments:

  1. I am already ready for winter to be over. Loved seeing all this California beauty.

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    1. Sadly, I feel the same way. Perhaps a bit of white stuff will change my attitude. But the cold and the white stuff gets old very fast. Hang in there, Gail! Happy holidays!

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  2. Lovely to see so many familiar plants.

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    1. Hi Diana: I was thinking of you as I was writing this post. I know many of these plants are native to S. Africa, and I suppose S. California plants probably like your climate, too. What a joy it must be to have green forbs and flowers year-round!

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  3. All of these colors and flowers really lift my spirits. I didn't realize how much I needed a color jolt until I saw this.

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    1. It's amazing how lack of color can dampen the spirit, and how bright (or even subdued) color can lift it! We'll have to keep each other's spirits up the next few months. I know it will be a long winter ahead, but visiting blogs helps! :)

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  4. We all like some weather balance--I love the beauty of a frosty morning, but we don't get frost here. Glad you enjoyed a beautiful day in California.

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  5. little wonder that we feel a little off colour these days - like the bees was especially drawn to the purple and yellows - lovely almost lilac Echiums and the Bulbine is new to me - delightfully delicate - thanks for brightening this day Beth

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    1. Yes, the Echiums were really something! I took tons of photos of them, and in some shots, they were covered in pollinators! But only so much room on this post. ;-) I was unfamiliar with Bulbine, too, but I think I've seen it on other blogs and possibly planted as an annual around here. A little research helped me to find the name. I like it, too! Thanks, and you're welcome, Laura.

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  6. Beautiful travel photos Beth. I wonder if the park is anywhere near the fires? I'm not too good on my CA geography. Thank you for sharing. Everything is pretty brown here.~~Dee

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    1. Thank you, Dee. I think most of the fires are north of San Diego in the L.A. area--about 120 miles away. I suppose the entire coast is at risk right now with the dry weather, though. You are welcome. It is very brown and gray and cold here now. I don't like it. ;-)

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  7. Wow, such vibrant colours. It's quite a dull day here and your post made it feel much brighter. I've never seen such a mass of Strelitzia reginae, it looks amazing.

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    1. Hi Tim: I'm glad the post lifted your mood, as the memories did mine. A person can only take so much dull weather! I don't like cold and snow, but at least the landscape around here is a little fresher and brighter with the white stuff. I just hope the winter won't be too brutal! Yes, the Strelitzia was everywhere! I was surprised by how many patches I saw throughout the San Diego area. Such a fascinating plant!

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  8. I needed that! Thanks for the sunny and warm reminder of a beautiful place.

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    1. You are welcome! San Diego, as you know, is a great place for a winter or early spring escape. Just thinking about it helps improve my mood. ;-)

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  9. Such a nice post and thanks for the memories! I've spent time in San Diego and much of that was in Balboa Park--so wonderful and your photos really capture the beauty and sunshine!!

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    1. Thank you, Tina. Then you know what a special place it is. I'd been in San Diego before, but had never explored Balboa Park. Wow, I covered just a small area in two hours, and realized there is so much more to experience there! :)

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  10. Very nice! I like the shot of the snail nestled up in the center of the flower :)

    The structure on the bulbine flower spike is amazingly beautiful and architectural too!

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    1. Thanks, Aaron. I almost missed the snail--it seemed like part of the flower from a distance. :) Those Bulbines have a pretty spiral shape--you can really see it from the top.

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  11. Unfortunately, the fires have reached into San Diego County now too. The situation in SoCal is starting to feel like some twisted version of whack-a-mole.

    I enjoyed your photos of Balboa Park, though. I haven't been there in many years and I've never properly explored the botanical gardens, which is unpardonable given their relative closeness. Maybe I can get there in early spring this year, when the fires are (hopefully) long over.

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    1. I'm sorry to hear that, Kris! I've been watching the fire coverage and noticed that some were very near the location of the wedding--north of San Diego. We actually hiked there, possibly in the same area of the fires--I'm not sure. Re: Balboa Park--yes, isn't it wonderful?! I only explored a small part of it, so I need to get back!

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  12. So nice to see California beauty instead of more wildfires.

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    1. Yes, I hope the fires will be extinguished soon. Praying for rain...

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  13. Wow! This park and your post are wonderful. It remains me very much Málaga in South Spain with the varieties and color. But it's really worrying the fires in California and the drought in Spain, that now is already historic. The so called "good weather" with ever sunshine and no rain is going to end the beauty of these places . i'm enjoying the short days and few snowflakes here in Denmark, so much Jule tide spirit!!!

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    1. Thank you, Lula. I get the impression the climate is somewhat similar to parts of Spain--maybe not quite as hot in summer, but quite dry and mild year-round. Maybe more similar to South Africa? I'm so sad about climate change affecting these beautiful places. Wow--you are not like me: I do not enjoy the short days. And our shortest days aren't quite as short as in the Scandinavian countries (9 hours here; 7 hours there?)--I can't even imagine! I do love the long summer days, though. :)

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  14. Ah, those photos are like messages from paradise. Especially like all those orange and red flowers - yay for CA poppies, especially. Echiums are also wonderful.

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    1. Memories help in the middle of winter, don't they? Not quite the same as being there, but they help. I agree: The Poppies and the Echiums are such joyful bloomers!

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  15. Such beautiful blooms for December, and I love the elephant topiary!

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    1. I so enjoyed San Diego. I can't wait to go back! Yes, the topiaries are fun!

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    1. Thanks, Carla. It's a great place to visit!

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  17. Looks like such a wonderful park to stroll - my camera would have been equally busy! I'm anxiously waiting for the day when one of the garden events (GWA or Fling) is out west as the furthest west I've been in the US was for the Minneapolis fling:)

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    1. It's fabulous, Margaret. You would love it! I keep thinking San Diego would be a wonderful location for the Fling!

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  18. Warn and wonderful experience looking at these images. I will never forget the first time I saw an Echium in Ca. It didn't look real to me!

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    1. Yes, the Echiums are really special! That shade of blue is one of my favorites. California sunshine and warmth would be nice right about now, although these last few days have been pretty comfortable for Wisconsin in December!

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  19. The picture of the botanical building with the large pool and the flowers in the foreground and the palms in the background is spectacular! I love Echium and Iceland poppies and wish I could grow them but alas, they'd melt down in our sticky heat. I have seen pictures of orchid trees before but I don't think l've ever seen one with wine-colored flowers. The color is gorgeous.

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    1. Thanks! The setting at Balboa Park is really special! Regarding the Orchid Tree, I've seen it in many colors but I don't honestly remember them all. They were plentiful in New Orleans and West-Central Florida, when I've taken trips to those locations. They are beautiful trees!

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  20. Gorgeous photos! I haven't been to these parts of San Diego yet, but definitely want to check them out next time my husband and I go down there. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thanks, Ann! Yes, Balboa Park is a plant-lover's wonderland. I had no idea, and I'd been to San Diego several times but never seen Balboa Park before. It's really awesome!

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  21. California being mildly tropical, some of those are here. But of course they are better looking there as given with proper care and maintenance. I love those Echium at a distance, haven't seen those even in other countries. Thanks for the tour Beth.

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    1. You're welcome, Andrea. Thanks for visiting! Yes, S. California is kind to plants, except when the fires rage, sadly. The Echiums are really special. :)

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