Category Archives: around town

Pocket planter sighting with succulents

Recently the zoo added a large pocket planter near their exit. It is sparse now but I can imagine that it will be stunning in years to come. The material is a very thick felt and it was moist because I think they just watered it. It was filled with various succulents, maybe even cuttings. I am thrilled that it is here!


And also the elephants because they are incredible and I love them!


Garden at the San Diego Children’s Museum


This week we had a fun outing to the fabulous New Children’s Museum located in downtown San Diego. They have a new exhibition called Feast: The art of playing with your food and their indoor spaces mostly revolve around this theme. It is clever and hip and just a lot of fun for little ones. For this exhibit they also have a chicken coup (hands off) and a garden located in the park just across the a street.

I took some pictures of the Garden Project. It is mostly comprised of raised beds, but is also really playful and fun!

I love this not only in its actuality, as it is beautifully done and cared for. But I also love the idea behind it. I love getting kids into connecting with where their food comes from and growing things in general. I love examples of urban and small space gardening and I adore how playful and practical the space.

I have a good friend who grew up in Sevilla where the city is littered with orange trees. She told me that the scent of them in heavy with their parfumerie in bloom and that it is not considered poor firm to pick an orange in passing. How cool is that?

I would love more food grown for people to enjoy where they live rather than growing it in far reaching and undisclosed places. Seeing this small slice of it makes my heart happy.

20140228-231334.jpg20140228-231406.jpg You can’t really see it but this short metal raised bed spells art and is filled with strawberries! Mmmm

20140228-231415.jpg How clever using bicycle wheels as a trellis!

Aloes in bloom

It is hard not to notice aloes in bloom everywhere I’m Southern California this time of year. It seems that most of the year these structural plants are quite unassuming but when they bloom they can easily triple in size and boast bright, showy blooms that almost look other worldly. It is a winter treat (I use the term winter loosely as for the past month we haven’t gotten rain and the temperature has been averaging 75 degrees).


San Diego Botanical Gardens

This week I went up with a friend to the San Diego Botanical Garden in Encinitas. There were many different sections of the garden all of which were well done. The one that I liked best as an inspiration point for our yard (this was kind of a fact finding mission), was the Mexican Garden. That garden was mainly comprised of succulents like agaves, but there were other plants mixed in as well. Surprisingly to me most of the garden was in the shade. I have noticed that my succulents do prefer to have a little respite from the sun. This could possibly be because I hardly ever water them.









I only have this picture, but I also really liked the Children’s Garden. It had many of the same plants that were in the Mexican Garden, but some other drought tolerant plants were also mixed in. The result was very pleasing to the eye. It also seemed to attract many butterflies, which is always fun.

It is worth a visit to the San Diego Botanical Garden if you like plants and are around the area.

Fountain of cascading succulents

succulent fountain
succulent fountain fount in a courtyard in front of a condo complex at the beach

I have an on again off again habit of running. One of the things that I enjoy is viewing different front yards. I often stop and take photos with my phone (since I have it on me listening to music) of plants or yards that I find inspiring. Often the pictures are lacking due to the time of day that I often run. I am finding that while most people have traditional lawns, many done quite well, more and more people are opting for low water plants including natives, low water plants, and succulents. It seems that this is especially a good solution for small yards, but it also seems to work well in average front yards. In the case of the latter xeriscape seems to help define the space and break it up. But I digress.

succulent fountain
succulents flow like water in this fountain

On one such run, this one being near the beach in front of a condo complex, I stopped in my tracks when I saw a stunning fountain filled with succulents. It gives the illusion of water, but in a most unexpected and pleasing way. The colors and the textures are fabulous and surprising. I would love to do something like this, but honestly I am just thankful that it exists. It is just that cool! Kudos people!

Grounds at the Estancia Hotel in La Jolla

20130725-222530.jpgThis part weekend we attended a family wedding at the Estancia Hotel in La Jolla. The service was incredible. I think that they really captured the spirit of hospitality. The grounds were wonderful and I believe that they are award winning. With the exception of two large lawns where they have weddings, every plant that I saw was water wise with many many succulents. It was all I could do not to take a cutting or two.

shade garden at the estancia hotelI love this shaded garden that was out of the way. The two heights look great!

flagstone with lawnthe lawn softens the flagstone. I wonder if you could do this with fake lawn? I know plants like thyme would work well. It is nice for a patio. I think that this could work well for the patio in our front yard.

20130720-143811.jpgSet up for a wedding in the courtyard at the Estancia Hotel in La Jolla.

Jacaranda Trees

Jacaranda Trees in bloom at Balboa parkJacaranda Trees in bloom at Balboa Park


In our plan for our new front yard one important element that we will add is a tree. Trees add a lot to a space. They can frame a house, provide shade, reduce energy bills in the summer, and up resale values. At our last house we waited three years to plant trees. I wish that we had done it the day we moved in. Unlike other plants that can be easily swapped out, trees take time to grow and develop and the extra years make a big difference. But I digress.

There are a few trees that I have my eye on for the front yard one that remains at the top of the list is the Jacaranda Tree( Jacaranda mimosifolia). We are at the end of its spectacular blooming season. Typically you start seeing blooms at the end of April but May is really when they are in full bloom. I know many people who hate this tree because when the blooms drop they can be messy. They stain concrete (but only temporarily). I think that the beauty or their purple/blue delicate flowers surpasses any inconvenience.


Succulent Celebration

This past weekend was the first annual Succulent Celebration in San Diego County. I went with my wonderful mother-in-law who also adores gardening. She lives in Escondido neat the gorgeous nursery that hosted the event, Waterwise Botanicals.

Honestly seeing the nursery itself was worth the trip. They had a beautiful selection of plants (reasonably priced too). They had great example gardens too filled with ways to design with water wise plants. As I get plants for my yard I plan to make another trip up there.

We were able to hear Debra Lee Baldwin speak on get 10 favorite succulents. I have been reading her work for years (not knowing it was her until recently). I was pleased that she is even more delightful (and funny) in person! Her talk was wonderful, informative and fun. The people who attended were delightful as well being easy to chat with and filled with the same enthusiasm for growing things. Due to schedule constraints with my son we were unable to hear the other speakers or attend the workshops. Both of us wish that we had allotted more time for it. If they have this event next year we decided that we are going back and bringing friends with us as we’ll.

Balboa Park Rose Garden

Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden
Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden

This is a bit out of date, but on Mother’s Day which was a few weeks ago, we went to Balboa Park and spent some time at the Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden. It is located across the street from the big fountain near the Science Center and Natural History Museum. You can access it by the land bridge that spans Park Blvd.

Pink Roses In Balboa Park's Rose Garden
Pink Roses In Balboa Park’s Rose Garden

The rose garden itself is quite extensive. It is especially impressive considering that it is free to visit (yay) and I’m told largely run by volunteers. I went once and chatted with one lady who volunteered deadheading the roses. I would love to volunteer in that capacity some day!

Roses in bloom at Balboa Park's Rose Garden
Roses in bloom at Balboa Park’s Rose Garden

With the exception of low rainfall, San Diego’s climate is exceptionally suited to growing roses. They bloom nearly year round but are exceptionally showy in the spring months.

Double Delight Rose
Double Delight Rose