Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Gardens of Balboa Park


Balboa Park, located at 1549 El Prado, in San Diego, California, is the nation's largest urban cultural park, and home to 15 major museums, renowned performing arts venues, beautiful gardens and the San Diego Zoo. Balboa Park began as 1400 acres of land set aside in 1868 by San Diego civic leaders, and was then known as “City Park.” At that time it was merely a scrub-filled mesa that overlooked present city of San Diego. The first steps in the park's beautification were made in 1892, largely due to the contributions of Kate Sessions. Sessions offered to plant 100 trees a year within the park as well as donate trees and shrubs around San Diego in exchange for 32 acres of land within the park boundaries to be used for her commercial nursery. She is aptly known as the "Mother of Balboa Park."


Balboa Park was the location of the 1915 Panama–California Exposition, and the Park Commissioners decided to name the park in honor of Spanish-born Vasco Nuñez de Balboa, the first European to spot the Pacific Ocean while on exploration in Panama. The very flamboyant "Spanish-Renaissance" style of architecture is what the commissioners felt would best represent the country of Panama. The 1935 California Pacific International Exposition created additional architectural landmarks in the park. 

On my last visit to Balboa Park I visited a few of the museums and the world renown San Diego Zoo, which you can read about on this link. This time I planned to spend some time visiting a few of its many gardens that have free admission.


The first garden I visited was the Alcazar Garden, named because its design is patterned after the gardens of Alcazar Castle in Seville, Spain.  It lies adjacent to the Art Institute and Mingei Museum. It is known for its ornate fountains, exquisite turquoise blue, yellow, and green Moorish tiles and shady pergola. This formal garden, bordered by boxwood hedges, is planted with 7,000 annuals for a vibrant display of color throughout the year



The next place I visited within the park was the beautiful Botanical Building with its iconic Lily Pond in front.


Built for the 1915-16 Exposition, along with the adjacent Lily Pond, the historic building is one of the largest lath structures in the world. The Botanical Building plantings include more than 2,100 permanent plants, featuring fascinating collections of cycads, ferns, orchids, other tropical plants, and palms.

The Botanical Building also presents some of the Park's vibrant seasonal flower displays.


The filtered light coming through the lath was very pleasant atmosphere.


I enjoyed watching this group of plein air watercolor artists painting outside the Botanical Building.



Next, I visited the two and a half acre Desert Garden, which contains more than 1,300 plants, including succulents and drought-resistant plants from around the world.



San Diego enjoys a semi-arid and Mediterranean type climate, full with mostly sunny days, so this outdoor garden was really flourishing!



Last, and my favorite garden of all, was the Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden.


This three-acre garden displays approximately 2,500 roses of nearly 200 varieties!


It is in bloom from March through December, with the roses usually at their peak in April and May. During my October visit the roses were plentiful and fragrant.  I felt as if I were experiencing an endless summer as I strolled along the paths and around the fountains in this lovely, peaceful garden.  I love roses and it is always a joy to see so many at one time.



I'll leave you with a few of the many variety of exquisite roses I saw in bloom.

There are many more gardens located within Balboa Park and a full list with descriptions can be read on this link.  One could spend an entire vacation visiting Balboa Park, and the best way to start your visit is with a stop at the Balboa Park Visitors Center, located across from The Prado Restaurant in the House of Hospitality. The Visitors Center has the most current and comprehensive information about the park’s activities and attractions, including free guided tours of the park, and is open from 9:30am-4:30pm daily.



Next stop on my San Diego visit will be the beautiful and historical Hotel del Coronado and a special give away!

I'm adding this post to the following blog events:

REDnesday-It's A Very Cherry World
Outdoor Wednesday-A Southern Daydreamer
Watery Wednesday-Watery Wednesday
Show and Tell Friday-My Romantic Home
Friday's Favorites-Whistlestop Cafe Cooking
Pink Saturday-How Sweet the Sound
Many thanks to the blog event hosts!


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62 comments:

black eyed susans kitchen said...

What an amazing place Pat! Your pictures are just wonderful, especially the shots of the roses. The architecture is so interesting and the story behind the planting of the trees is great. It isn't likely that a deal like that would be made in this day and age. Thanks for the tour.
♥, Susan

Old Kitty said...

Thank you for the intro to Kate Sessions! What a most fascinating woman. The wikipedia entry to her life may be scant but it's certainly got my interest. I mean how did she manage to own property and be a scientist in those days where I presume being a woman was a disadvantage! Fascinating stuff!! Yay!!

Awwww the gardens are just lovely - lovely!! So much to see!! Love the desert garden! I continuously fail to grow and maintain cacti so it's nice to see them flourish!

Take care
x

Magical Mystical Teacher said...

Someday I'd love to see a plein-air painter at work. In the meantime, I'm enjoying your photo--immensely!

YEA FOR SCARLET

Yea for scarlet, yea for red!
Yea for summertime that’s fled
To some far-off frigid place,
Where no ruby shows its face!


© 2011 by Magical Mystical Teacher

Tired Old Apples

Kris said...

So pretty! I bought a fabulous cookbook at the Goodwill recently that is put out by the Hotel Del, and has the most gorgeous photos! I think I paid one dollar!!!

Yvette said...

Gorgeous! Love those roses! Hard to believe there's a place where it's sunny practically every day. :)

Your tours are not only beautiful but educational.

BEAR's Mom said...

OMGosh Pat...this place is fabulous
thank you for the tour!!!
the roses are awesome...i could sit among them all day :D
BEAR HUGS
~victoria~

ellen b. said...

Love taking this beautiful tour and reading the history in your post Pat. I grew up in Southern California and failed to explore so much of it. Looking forward to the rest of your California photos!

Annie said...

Wonderful tour. They should hire you as their PR person. You make me want to live there!

Vee said...

Ahhh, endless summer is a lovely way to describe a rose garden that blooms for so many months of the year. My favorite rose was the first one in row four. Thank you for the tour.

Linda said...

Oh how I love Balboa Park! My sons are lucky enough to live close enough to walk there and every time I visit...once at week...I get to enjoy it too!! Your pictures are wonderful!!

Thoughts on Life and Millinery. said...

My grandfather raised the funds for the 1935 EXPO, and my dad and his twin sisters spent the entire EXPO season in the park, playing and exploring and even appearing in some plays. My idea of a well spent weekday is visiting the park...which regretfully is too crowded on the weekends for me.

Isn't the entire park an photographer's paradise?

Linda Makiej said...

Just Wonderful!!!!! What lovely roses!

Sara Lorayne said...

Hello Pat! I know all these places so very well (except the desert garden) so it's quite interesting to see them through your eyes. I love many of the angles you used when taking the photos. You really did this beautiful place justice with your camera!

Ginny said...

I would love to go to this place!!! And your rose collage is exquisite!

Lori E said...

Can you imagine the work that went into those buildings. The carving of the stone. Oh my.
So many things to see there. I wouldn't know where to begin.

momgen said...

Wow that is a beautiful place...Hope i can come to NY one day...Happy WW!

Mine is here

Barbara F. said...

What a beautiful place! The mosaic is just gorgeous. Can't decide which one I like the best out of those roses. xo

Theanne and Baron said...

loved my tour and the rose garden...fantastic

Cafe au lait said...

Beautiful collection of photos.

Hope you'd find time to visit my entries here and here.

Sarah said...

Pat, enjoying your photos of San Diego. Glad you had a wonderful trip. I look forward to more.

Claudia said...

I must stop here on my next trip to San Diego. I love how someone (Kate Sessions) had the foresight to keep this as a treasure and not let it get paved over.Green spaces are so important to out well-being! And you capture them so lovingly.

Cindy said...

What a gorgeous park and so interesting!!! You could visit there again and again and never see it all. Such beautiful plants, too!
Hugs, Cindy

Jo's This and That said...

Beautiful post ! Thanks for sharing! Joann

Light and Voices said...

Bedazzaled by Balboa Park!
Joyce M

Lovella ♥ said...

I smiled when you commented that it felt like experiencing endless summer in the rose garden. I love roses too and can't quite imagine the growing season that long. So wonderful. Beautiful photos and wonderful tour!

Judy ~ My Front Porch said...

We so enjoyed our visit to Balboa Park two years ago...and your 'refresher tour' today! It's the perfect place to spend some time with the camera...and you did that well.

Riet said...

What a beautiful place to visit Pat. THose gardens and buildings are beautiful and the roses are gorgeous. I can believe that you can spend days to see everything there.
Have a good week.
Hugs, Riet

Ola said...

some of its parts remind me of a Gaudi park in Barcelona! Very nice!

diane b said...

We loved San Diego it reminded us of Brisbane. I'm sorry I didn't have time to visit those beautiful gardens. The roses are fabulous. Balboa in Spain is a nice city too.

Jeannelle said...

I just found your blog and enjoyed this excellent tour!

Hi, I'm Laura Ingalls Gunn said...

Balboa Park is one of my favorite spots on earth. My sister in law used to work at the Museum of Man so we would go quite often.

Lisa@GrandmasBriefs said...

San Diego is so beautiful. I wish I had more time when I visited in August. I never got to see these lovely gardens. I did go to Coronado Island, though, just for an evening, so I look forward to your post about Hotel del Coronado, which I saw but didn't tour at all because time was limited. I *will* go there again, with more time to explore.

podso said...

Pat I am enjoying your CA posts--seeing San Diego through your eyes. It 's a city I've always wanted to visit. And since I have a good friend there I hope I actually do some day. As always your photos are wonderful.

The Quintessential Magpie said...

How gorgeous, Pat! One of the things I love so much about California is the flora! I also loved seeing the plein air painters enjoying themselves.

XO,

Sheila

nanny said...

So pretty.....those roses are awesome! So much sunshine....my kind of place!

Beverly said...

Happy Pink Saturday, Pat. Oh my, you visited such a gorgeous spot. My husband has been to San Diego, but I have not. That beautiful blue sky takes my breath away.

Thank you for always sharing. You are the best.

merrilymarylee said...

Ten months of roses?! Ahhhhhhhh!!!!

chubskulit said...

Such a delightful post, thanks for sharing these beautiful photos.

Red Rose

Carol said...

Beautiful gardens, Pat. What a trip, it's beautiful!

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

Beautiful place and it looks so nice and WARM :) Great tour, as always.

Oliag said...

I understand San Diego has the best weather in the US...and by the looks of your photos that is true! Love, love love all those gardens! Thanks for taking me with you!

Ann said...

The botanical gardens looks like the one in Auckland. I shall love to visit this wonderful place of yours.

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Pat - I never realized that so many roses were in bloom this late in the season. I guess the climate makes all the difference. Loved the alcazar gardens too. Glad you had such a fun time but I would expect you to always find new and interesting things.

French Basketeer.com said...

Pat, I really love this post, which I found on the bunny trail of the blogosphere. The couple who build our house in Laguna were major gardeners and very good friends with Kate Sessions. She brought the Jacaranda Tree among others to Southern California. Kate was a fascinating woman! So incredible to think of life here 100 years ago, as the plant life developed....

Jeanne said...

Good morning Pat, It was nice to see your comment first thing this morning. As usual, smiling here, I have company. Little time to blog and visit happens when we have company. Also, as usual! However, I have hit the deck early today to visit some of my favorite people and that would be you.

Your trip to San Diego and your past and present posts were a good read this morning. I drank in every word and photo with my coffee. As usual, lovely photos and info about the park and the city. I love the roses and the garden tours.

Have a great day.
XO, Jeanne

Sheila said...

I love the places you take us Pat! This would be a wonderful place to visit in San Diego. The gardens are amazing and as always your descriptions are so well written. I answered your question about Ostia Antica on my blog Pat. You would love it there!

podso said...

appreciate the tips! :-)

Tracy said...

Oooo... I dream of seeing this garden some day... and to go and paint there as well would be an extra dream come true! I love the European feel, yet smack in America. ;o) It's good to be back here catching up with you. It's been a tough week, as we've been dealing with a family loss, but we're OK. Happy Weekend, Pat ((HUGS))

PⒿ @ $ € € ₦$ ₣®0₥... said...

More gorgeous photos, but my favorite is the one of the artists painting!

Gracie said...

WOW what a beautiful garden! You can spend a month wandering there.....thanks for the beautiful photos. It's nice you have the opportuniyu to visit such amazing places.

Cathy said...

Your photos are wonderful, Pat, and really show off the natural beauty of a fantastic city. I had the opportunity to stay at the Hotel del Coronado years ago and was so impressed by its grandeur. Hope to go back someday.

H said...

What a beautiful place and so good to see museums, gardens and a zoo all occupying the same space. I especially enjoyed your photos of the Botanical Gardens. Those, I would love to see!

Tina´s PicStory said...

what a beautiful garden! lovely flowers :)

Ann said...

I like to report an anonymous comment that I have been getting on my blogs which is offensive to half the American population. I am not American, and is still very angry with it. I have deleted the comment on my blogs, and I wonder if you have received any. I won't bother to mention the name because that would promote him further.

Claudia said...

Dear Pat: You now have me contemplating calling my cousins in San Diego first thing in the morning and telling them I am visiting.

Sarah said...

Wow, how beautiful that you got to experience all that! Thanks for sharing your photos!

HaPpY pInK sAtUrDaY!
Sarah

Tina´s PicStory said...

thanks for joining weekend flowers* with this lovely pics :) i´m glad you found us!

retriever said...

A few year ago have stay a week on San Diego, it was a nice place, a great poort, you have a nice blog, also reccipes, on my blogKatanga memeory, go Moambe full exotics recipes,
Best regard from Belgium,Happy Halloween

Francie...The Scented Cottage Studio said...

We spent many happy days wandering Balboa Park...thanks for bringing those memories back !
The Hotel del Coronado is another exceptional place to visit.

Jil~Say It With Roses said...

These pictures brought back such happy memories. I lived in Pacific Beach, a suburb of San Diego, my parents lived in La Jolla. Many happy hours were spent with my mother and my first little daughter wandering the gardens and I always loved the Tower of Jewels which is in some of your pictures. My mom was a professional artist and used to paint in the gardens... When my first son was born we took him, too and all five of my children had many a day spent at the San Diego Zoo.
The Hotel "Del" is another favorite place and I used to have my creations in one of the shops in the basement. Coronado has many lovely little shops to prowl through. I will be watching for your post.

If you go back, be sure and visit Scripps Museum of Oceanography...another favorite haunt! It is in La Jolla.

Wonderful nostalgic post!
Jil

chubskulit said...

Simply beautiful!

Pink Fairy

Pia said...

I enjoyed very much to follow you on this wonderful tour. Stunning photos!
Pia