The San Diego Desert

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I was in San Diego, California, in October, but other things intervened and I’ve only now uploaded my photos into the computer.  These photos are from a walk in the Scripps Preserve, a small sample of what the landscape of the San Diego area once was. P1000287It still seems amazing to me that this area was desert, right up to the water’s edge, before people started altering the landscape.  Dry bushes on the cliff give way to green in the arroyos, which probably benefit from the runoff from houses, roads, etc.P1000291There are small yellow flowers, similar to the ones I see in “my” desert far inland.  I guess that this is some variety of Bahia. a family with many varieties. P1000289Many of the bushes had recently gone to seed – as one would expect in October. P1000293And the overall look of the area made it quite clear that California is in drought conditions. P1000292Deserts are deserts whether near sea level or at 4,000 feet, where I live.  And this is in spite of the greater humidity coming off the water.  My skin appreciated that difference.



San Diego Flora

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When I visit San Diego I am always amazed at the plantings.  I’ve assumed that the area was naturally rich in diversity and greenery.  I have been reading about Kate Sessions, called the mother of Balboa Park, and I find that she is largely responsible for the illusion that everything just grows in San Diego.  In fact, things grow well, when watered, but many of them came from elsewhere, and many of them were brought in and urged on residents by Kate Sessions, beginning at the end of the 1800s.

The Palm Canyon in Balboa Park contains many, many palms, but they didn’t just grow there; they were planted.  The fan palm came from Hawaii.fan palm

Other palms, so high I had trouble getting a picture, were brought back by Kate Sessions from Baja California.  No doubt not all of the trees in Palm Canyon date back to Ms. Sessions’ work: they grow very thickly in spots.100_0966

And other plants thrive in the shade of the palms.


We also explored the Botanical Building, filled with exotic plants which would not thrive out of doors.  I liked this odd plant best, but neglected to note its name.100_0971

For better pictures of all manner of things in and around San Diego, including flowers on Friday, visit the blog of Russel Ray: http://russelrayphotos2.com

Balboa Park, San Diego

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On a recent visit to San Diego I made a visit to Balboa Park.  We had been there before for the organ concerts, but not seen the rest of it.  We didn’t see “the rest of it” this time either, but we saw a little more than we had before.  The organ shell was, of course, shut this time:


The shell is hiding here behind the curved portico, because we were headed for the palm canyon across the street.  The most impressive tree in the palm canyon area is not a palm, nor is it a strikingly tall tree, if you don’t count the long exposed roots which extend down the canyon.  Here is my attempt to give an impression of this tree:

tree top

tree trunk

tree roots




Because the tree is surrounded by others it was hard to get a long view.  These photos were taken from the stairway down into the canyon.

Those of you who have been following my previous posts will recognize that I have a fascination with roots.  Unlike my other photos these roots were not crossing a trail.  They were just there, being themselves, being admired by people like me.



Even in this well maintained park there were things growing where they “weren’t supposed to.”  This branch was particularly colorful:100_0973