San Diego Gardens

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California Pepper Tree

(Click on any photo to enlarge)

I took quite a lot of pictures in my daughter’s neighborhood while in San Diego. They live in an area where there are lots of older craftsman and Spanish style bungaloes and cottages, with front yards just filled with flowers. These smaller homes do not waste space on water-hungry lawns, but instead, landscape with beds of plants suited to the hot, sunny and dry climate. Except for roses, which do need regular watering, but don’t like rainfall. If irrigated often enough, roses love San Diego, and San Diego loves them back. Even the smallest and plainest of houses often have yards filled with enormous rose blossoms. And when I say enormous, I mean 8″ or more across…salad plate sized, and bigger. They are amazing.  Here are a few pics I took walking around the area. Many of the plants are ones I see here in central Florida, but many more were new to me, and so interesting.

This home was much larger than most within walking distance, but not nearly large enough to warrant the $1,000,000 it just sold for, if you ask me.  No one did of course, but I would have trouble paying that much money for a home less than 2,000 square feet in size. I think Erin said it was about 1,800. Of course, I would have trouble paying a million dollars for ANY home, since…well, not to put too fine a point on it, but…I don’t HAVE a million dollars! At any rate, it was very nicely landscaped, and I couldn’t resist a picture. The upper vine is bougainvillea, of course, which is RAMPANT in San Diego. (They even trim it until it becomes bush-like and use it as hedges.)  The lower vine had a very pretty cup-shaped flower on it that I didn’t recognize. Inside the fence was a small courtyard with various container plants. Small citrus trees, and jasmines, and the like. It not only looked good, it smelled great, too.

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This garden fascinated me by the use of black rock as a mulch. The purple and orange color scheme really popped against it, though the picture doesn’t do it justice, I’m afraid. The purple plant in the background is sea lavender, which is planted in medians and commercial planters, too, and is very pretty. Up close, the flowers look like statice. In the foreground was salvia leucantha (Mexican sage), and bird of paradise, plus some smaller annuals.  It was really striking and well-maintained.

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This is just a cute little cottage with a very small front yard that was packed with roses. I thought it was very sweet.

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There were a lot of areas planted in front of fences, near the sidewalks, which was nice, because I could stop and take a good look at what was growing. This mixed bed had purple fountain grass, salvia leucantha, something that looked like a type of cuphea, and a glorious patch of pink small-leafed ice plant. Both that and the more typical ice plant are everywhere you look, and come in the brightest shades of red and pink you can imagine. I believe some of them are probably on the invasive side, but they are still widely used in gardens, too, and frankly, they are so beautiful, it tends to make you overlook any problems, I imagine.

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This is another patch of small-leafed ice plant, interspersed with some type of succulent. I thought it was gorgeous!

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Sadly, the day I took most of the rose pictures was so sunny, they are mostly way over-exposed. This one was a wonderful blend of pinks and yellows, and the bloom in the foreground was probably close to 9″ across. It was wider than I could spread my fingers!

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Many fences enclose smallish courtyards with containers of plants grouped here and there. This one was rather modest with the planters, but the colors of the roses were just wonderful.

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Others were really packed with plants, both in ground and in containers, and almost all of the gardens were beautifully maintained.

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This is a tree rose from the same garden.

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Erin is new to gardening, but she planted this lavatera last year as a plant about 18″ tall, and it is just fantastic now. The hummers love it. She also planted peppers, tomatoes and CORN in the back part of the garden.  In the foreground, you can see the big green leaves of Myres’ grapevine.

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Close up of Erin’s lavatera.

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A picture of one of the millions of succulents seen in nearly every yard, maybe an agave of some sort. I’m not sure, but it had wicked points and was about 2 feet wide. I just liked the color.

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A wildly over-exposed picture of Erin, Myres and Kaelen, but I swear to you, the bougainvillea was just that red, and I’ve never seen one with more blooms on it in my life!

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And lastly, the most…er…unusual thing I found “blooming” in a neighboring garden. And believe me, this guy wasn’t going to stop grazing for anyone.

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Lots of photos for one post, I know, but I wanted to get them all up while I had a chance. Hope you enjoyed them!

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8 thoughts on “San Diego Gardens

    • Hi, Felix! Good to see you here. Isn’t that red the most amazing color, ever? It was so bright, it almost hurt your eyes when the sun hit it! I really want Erin to move back to this part of the world, but I swear, the gardens out there are fantastic!

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  1. Beautiful gardens, each and every one. And I’m super impressed that you can give a tour and name plants as you see them! The only one I could name would be a rose. 🙂

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  2. Mark says I’m a Plant Weenie. That’s his term for anyone who is a bit OCD on things like names and ID’s and stuff. I’m also, in his estimation, a Woods Weenie, a Bird Weenie, and a Reptile Weenie. Oh, and a Wildflower Weenie. He just likes to enjoy the ambience. I like to know what I’m looking at and what it’s called and if it’s rare, and what it eats and what eats it. 😀

    One of my favorite discoveries was the California pepper tree at the top of the page. I read two different series set in San Diego, and in both of them, pepper trees have been mentioned in various location descriptions. I had no idea what pepper trees were. Now I do. They have a “weeping” habit and are quite pretty, actually. And many looked to be very old trees, planted in yards long, long ago.
    If I ever go back, though, I’m going to pick up a guide to flowers and plants of the area. That’s half the fun of traveling to me.
    🙂

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  3. Enjoy them I did, Marcia… Such wonderful Spring colours, and that bougainvillea is incredible.. I certainly haven’t seen one as richly dense with flowers either.. Wonderful..
    Looks like the daughter has a little of mother’s love for the garden too. What a brilliant way to spend time… 🙂

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  4. Yes, Erin has become quite domesticated in her “old age.” Haha. I never thought I’d see the day my globe-trotting, social butterfly of a daughter would be all married, gardening, cooking, and now, having a baby. But by golly, she got there when SHE was ready, on her own timetable. (She’s 37). It makes me happy to see her settled into such a nice life, though I’m hoping she’ll soon be living it on the east coast again…somewhere within driving range.

    The colors and flowers are amazing in San Diego, for sure. Just walking around the neighborhood is a real treat, as you can see. Thanks for stopping by today. Great to see you, as always. (BTW, I saw kangaroo paw AND the tea tree thingie with the red leaves and tiny pink flowers. LOTS of that one. It’s quite a popular ornamental in San Diego. I thought of you!)

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  5. Wow, every one of those photos was fabulous! San Diego is a beautiful place. The million dollar house, mmmm I don’t have a million dollars, either, but if I did, I might consider it. San Diego is pretty nice. My dad lived there for several years. I loved visiting there! 🙂

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  6. AW, now, Marsha! Surely you wouldn’t pay a million dollars for a house so small? My little house is nearly double that size, and on about 1/3 an acre. And believe me, it only cost a bit over 1/10 that much. I just would never live in any city where only millionaires could own their own home. San Diego is beautiful, and I do like visiting there. Especially to see the gardens. But it makes me sad to think that it is right in the middle of the desert, and every piece of green is courtesy of water pumped in (some say stolen) from other places. According to various sources, 80% of the water nurturing all those roses and filling all those swimming pools is diverted directly out of the Colorado River. It’s an unsustainable system, and one I suspect will fail, eventually, returning San Diego to the desert it was meant to be.

    I guess I figure if you want to live in the desert, you should be happy with desert plants. But that’s just me. I like lots of green things, so I live where THEY do.

    I don’t mean for this to sound nasty, nor do I want to start a big ecological debate. I think San Diego is gorgeous, and I love visiting there. But I think people should be honest about what’s going on, and be looking for a better solution. It is the fifth largest city in the country, and the water issue is a major problem.

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