A world-class rose garden in full spring bloom.

The world-class Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden in Balboa Park was in full bloom on Easter Sunday.
The world-class Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden in Balboa Park was in full bloom on Easter Sunday.

Today I visited a very special place. I took a slow stroll through the amazingly beautiful Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden in Balboa Park. It also happens to be Easter Sunday. Many people were enjoying the vibrant colors. The rose garden is in gorgeous, full spring bloom.

The Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden is truly world-class. It has won so many prestigious awards, signs and plaques appear all over the garden singing its praises. Just walking about randomly, I noticed this garden has been inducted into the Great Rosarians of the World’s Rose Garden Hall of Fame, has earned the Public Rose Garden Award from All-America Rose Selections, has gained an Award of Garden Excellence from the World Federation of Rose Societies, and goodness knows what else!

And here I am, someone who knows next to nothing about roses. I suppose I should have recorded the many varieties that I photographed–but it was too warm and perfect outside, and I simply didn’t feel that motivated. The beauty was enough.

And believe me, there was an abundance of beauty!

Plaque among roses reads: This garden is dedicated to the memory of Inez Grant Parker . . . 1975
Plaque among roses reads: This garden is dedicated to the memory of Inez Grant Parker . . . 1975
Visitors to beautiful Balboa Park in San Diego enter the large, amazing rose garden just east of Park Boulevard.
Visitors to beautiful Balboa Park in San Diego enter the large, amazing rose garden just east of Park Boulevard.
During the spring, the roses are in full bloom. Brilliant colors can be seen everywhere one turns.
During the spring, the roses are in full bloom. Brilliant colors can be seen everywhere one turns.
Someone is wearing Easter Bunny ears in the rose garden! A perfect, special day in the sunshine.
Someone is wearing Easter Bunny ears in the rose garden! A perfect, special day in the sunshine.
My camera seemed quite attracted to yellow blooms. They are like sunshine, grown from the rich Earth.
My camera seemed quite attracted to yellow blooms. They are like sunshine, grown from the rich Earth.
Even the white fence around the Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden's small maintenance area is bedecked with glorious color.
Even the white fence around the Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden’s small maintenance area is bedecked with glorious color.
A bright red rose. Many buds have yet to open on this late March day.
A bright red rose. Many buds have yet to open on this late March day.
People stroll slowly among the beautiful rose displays. Many take photographs. Young and old are touched. Many bend down to smell the sweet scent.
People stroll slowly among the beautiful rose displays. Many take photographs. Young and old are touched. Many bend down to smell the sweet scent.
Many varieties of rose can be spotted in this truly fantastic, multiple award-winning garden.
Many varieties of rose can be spotted in this truly fantastic, multiple award-winning garden.
Photo across Park Boulevard toward the Natural History Museum, one of many attractions in Balboa Park.
Photo across Park Boulevard toward the Natural History Museum, one of many attractions in Balboa Park.
A sea of brilliant color. A walk in this garden is like moving through a beautiful dream.
A sea of brilliant color. A walk in this garden is like moving through a beautiful dream.
These deep purple roses really caught my eye. They appear to be made of velvet.
These deep purple roses really caught my eye. They appear to be made of velvet.
Cheerful blooms smile up at those who pass by.
Cheerful blooms smile up at those who pass by.
Many paths among the roses invite a casual stroll. Benches invite relaxation and meditation.
Many paths among the roses invite a casual stroll. Benches allow for relaxation and meditation.
Yellow, pinks, reds, oranges, whites, every color of the rainbow, it seems, have sprouted like magic.
Yellow, pinks, reds, oranges, whites.  Every color of the rainbow, it seems, has sprouted in this one special place like sudden magic.
One cheerfully blooming sun in a whole universe of bright colors.
One cheerfully blooming sun in a whole universe of bright colors.
A stroll through this amazing garden brings one closer to deeper, more important things in life.
A stroll through this amazing garden brings one closer to deeper, more important things in life.
Everyone loves roses. Photographers and bicyclists, alike!
Everyone loves roses. Photographers and bicyclists, alike!
Come to this amazing Balboa Park rose garden during the blooming season and it will take your breath away.
Come to this amazing Balboa Park rose garden during the blooming season and it will take your breath away.
Fields of beauty.
Fields of beauty.
The Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden overlooks Balboa Park's less-developed Florida Canyon area. Blue sky and a few clouds today.
The Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden overlooks Balboa Park’s less-developed Florida Canyon area. Blue sky and a few clouds today.
A world-class rose garden, free to the public in Balboa Park.
A world-class rose garden, free to the public in Balboa Park.
Roses like snow on a spring day.
A flurry of white roses, like snow on a spring day.
Delicate beauty. A miracle.
Delicate beauty. A miracle.
Roses enough to fill the spirit to overflowing.
Roses enough to fill the spirit to overflowing.
This one is for you, my reader.
This one is for you, my reader.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can enjoy even more Cool San Diego Sights by following me on Facebook or Twitter!

Do you love beautiful things? Visit my photography blog which I call A Small World Full of Beauty.

Advertisements

Free exhibit of contemporary Chinese art in Balboa Park.

Gallery 15 at the San Diego Museum of Art is free to the public.
Gallery 15 at the San Diego Museum of Art is free to the public.

Through April 25, 2016, you have a chance to see some fantastic contemporary Chinese art in beautiful Balboa Park. And this small exhibition is free!

You’ll see six contemporary Chinese paintings by the acclaimed Beijing-based artist Pan Gongkai. President of the China Central Academy of Fine Arts, Pan fuses Western influence with the Chinese brush-and-ink tradition.

One work, over 45 feet long, titled Noble Virtues, is a feast for the eyes. It depicts the “four gentlemen”. These are the plum blossom, orchid, bamboo and chrysanthemum, plants that represent the four seasons. You have to see this artwork in person to fully appreciate the symbolism and the bold, dynamic beauty.

The other work, on the opposite wall, is called Lotus Pond. This series of five paintings reveals aspects of human life.  The lotus represents the soul’s resilience and purity.

Where can you find this art? Next time you’re in Balboa Park, walk through Panama 66 in the San Diego Museum of Art’s May S. Marcy Sculpture Court, and look for the sign to the restrooms. That door leads into Gallery 15, an area of the museum that is free to the public!

Free exhibition. Pan Gongkai. New Paintings for the San Diego Museum of Art.
Free exhibition. Pan Gongkai. New Paintings for the San Diego Museum of Art.
The Beijing-based artist Pan Gongkai is deeply invested in the study and practice of traditional Chinese art. The artists has used spontaneous and expressive brushwork that borders on abstraction.
The Beijing-based artist Pan Gongkai is deeply invested in the study and practice of traditional Chinese art. The artist has used spontaneous and expressive brushwork that borders on abstraction. (Click to enlarge.)
One painting in the series Lotus Pond, 2015, by contemporary Chinese artist Pan Gongkai.
One painting in the series Lotus Pond, 2015, by contemporary Chinese artist Pan Gongkai.
One painting in the series Lotus Pond, 2015, by contemporary Chinese artist Pan Gongkai.
One painting in the series Lotus Pond, 2015, by contemporary Chinese artist Pan Gongkai.
One painting in the series Lotus Pond, 2015, by contemporary Chinese artist Pan Gongkai.
One painting in the series Lotus Pond, 2015, by contemporary Chinese artist Pan Gongkai.
Poems on Four Nobles. Plum, Orchid, Bamboo in Rain, and Chrysanthemum.
Poems on Four Nobles. Plum, Orchid, Bamboo in Rain, and Chrysanthemum. (Click to enlarge.)
Section of the painting Noble Virtues, 2015, by contemporary Chinese artist Pan Gongkai.
Section of the painting Noble Virtues, 2015, by contemporary Chinese artist Pan Gongkai.
Section of the painting Noble Virtues, 2015, by contemporary Chinese artist Pan Gongkai.
Section of the painting Noble Virtues, 2015, by contemporary Chinese artist Pan Gongkai.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can see more Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Do you like to read short pieces of thought-provoking fiction? Please visit Short Stories by Richard.

Balboa Park’s forgotten stone fountain grotto.

Stony steps lead down into the historic 1907 Golden Hill Fountain Grotto in the southeast corner of Balboa Park.
Stony steps lead down into the historic 1907 Golden Hill Fountain Grotto in the southeast corner of Balboa Park.

Several months ago I walked through a small section of Balboa Park called Golden Hill Park.

Few tourists ever see this tranquil southeast corner of Balboa Park, but many who live on Golden Hill east of downtown San Diego enjoy recreating here. They play and exercise on the grass, eat at picnic benches, and gaze at vistas of the downtown skyline, Florida Canyon and the nearby Balboa Park Golf Course. They explore short hiking trails, enjoy palm trees and the shade of sprawling Moreton Bay fig trees, and jog or walk dogs around the small traffic loop.

The development of this part of Balboa Park began years before the Panama California Exposition of 1915. Probably the most notable sight, now a forgotten, seldom-visited ruin, is a unique “fountain grotto” at the edge of a small canyon. The Golden Hill Fountain Grotto–which long ago featured an actual working fountain–was designed in 1907 by Henry Lord Gay, who also designed the famous Western Metal Supply Building which is now a part of Petco Park. The rustic stone grotto was built in the Arts and Crafts architectural style.

One can still walk down the sweeping stone stairs to the old fountain at the center, and imagine the inhabitants of San Diego visiting the grotto over a century ago. Today, the ruin is visited by very few: the curious, local walkers, the homeless, and those who happen to drift on by.

The long-forgotten fountain grotto can be found just off the traffic loop in Golden Hill Park.
The long-forgotten fountain grotto can be found just off the traffic loop in Golden Hill Park.
Heading down the decaying stone steps toward the center and a small, broken fountain.
Heading down the decaying stone steps toward the center and a small, broken fountain.
The rustic fountain grotto was built in 1907 in the Art and Crafts architectural style.
The rustic fountain grotto was built in 1907 in the Art and Crafts architectural style.
The fountain no longer functions. When I took these photos, it had been fenced off due to disrepair. Sometimes the homeless gather around it.
The fountain no longer functions. When I took these photos, it had been fenced off due to disrepair. Sometimes the homeless gather around it.
Rocks mark vague dirt walking trails around the fountain grotto site.
Rocks mark vague dirt walking trails around the fountain grotto site.
A hiking trail descends nearby into a narrow canyon.
A hiking trail descends nearby into a narrow canyon.
This canyon hiking trail in Golden Hill Park contains hidden beauty. As several piles of unfortunate trash attest, many homeless venture here.
This canyon hiking trail in Golden Hill Park contains hidden beauty. As several piles of unfortunate trash attest, many homeless venture here.
A beautiful vista from the edge of Golden Hill Park of downtown San Diego's skyline.
A beautiful vista from the edge of Golden Hill Park of downtown San Diego’s skyline.
An airplane overhead descending over Balboa Park toward Lindbergh Field.
An airplane overhead descending over Balboa Park toward Lindbergh Field.
A scenic view from Golden Hill Park of the Balboa Park Golf Course to the north.
A scenic view from Golden Hill Park of the Balboa Park Golf Course to the north.
Someone who lives in the neighborhood enjoys a beautiful day in peaceful Golden Hill Park.
Someone who lives in the neighborhood enjoys a beautiful day in peaceful Golden Hill Park.

UPDATE!

Here are more photos that I took of the grotto on a spring day in 2019…

IMG_9695z

IMG_9709z

IMG_9711z

IMG_9719z

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can enjoy even more Cool San Diego Sights by following me on Facebook or Twitter!

A new dawn of hope at the International Cottages.

Early morning light upon the House of Scotland, in Balboa Park's harmonious House of Pacific Relations International Cottages.
Early morning light upon the House of Scotland, a member of Balboa Park’s harmonious House of Pacific Relations International Cottages.

Every morning in Balboa Park brings beauty. At the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages, near the center of the park, the sun rises on the participating member nations in a new dawn of optimism and hope.

The theme of the International Cottages is world peace, harmony and mutual understanding. The cultures of different nations are celebrated, and people welcome each other with smiles and goodwill.

Nine new cottages are being built. Among the nations who will enjoy their own cottage is the House of Korea. On a recent Sunday, they displayed examples of their culture in the Hall of Nations. They’re optimistic funds can be raised to build their cottage, and usher in a new dawn.

Sweeping in front of the small national cottages in the morning, before Balboa Park visitors arrive.
Sweeping in front of the small national cottages in the morning, before many Balboa Park visitors arrive.
The House of Korea is one of nine nations that are building new cottages. On a recent Sunday they exhibited in the Hall of Nations.
The House of Korea is one of nine nations that are building new cottages. On a recent Sunday they exhibited in the Hall of Nations.
The House of Korea displays national pride, and honors Korean war veterans. They seek new members. Anybody can join.
The House of Korea displays national pride. They seek new members. Anybody can join.
A table contains objects and books that celebrate Korean culture.
A table contains objects and books that celebrate Korean culture.
Colorful small versions of Hanbok, the traditional Korean dress.
Colorful small versions of Hanbok, the traditional Korean dress.
Raising the flag at the House of Sweden. Another day of hope, optimism and mutual understanding begins.
Raising the flag at the House of Sweden. Another day of hope, optimism and mutual understanding begins.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can enjoy more Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Early cherry blossoms at Japanese Friendship Garden!

Cherry blossoms are opening in mid-February at the Japanese Friendship Garden in San Diego's beautiful Balboa Park!
Cherry blossoms are opening in mid-February at the Japanese Friendship Garden in San Diego’s beautiful Balboa Park!

It’s mid-February and many cherry blossoms have already opened at the Japanese Friendship Garden in beautiful Balboa Park! I was told that the many early blooms are probably caused by our recent warm weather.

Please enjoy these photos from late this morning!

The Japanese Friendship Garden of San Diego presents the 11th Annual Cherry Blossom Festival next month, March 5 and 6.
The Japanese Friendship Garden of San Diego presents the 11th Annual Cherry Blossom Festival next month, March 5 and 6.
Balboa Park visitor gazes down into the Japanese Friendship Garden canyon expansion where groves of flowering cherry trees await.
Balboa Park visitor gazes down into the Japanese Friendship Garden canyon expansion where a grove of flowering cherry trees awaits.
Walking along a path into the wonderful canyon garden.
Walking along a path into the wonderful canyon garden.
A gardener plants azaleas, in preparation for the popular Cherry Blossom Festival in March.
A gardener plants azaleas, in preparation for the popular Cherry Blossom Festival in March.
A photographer by the canyon stream photographs cherry blossoms that have already opened.
A photographer by the canyon stream focuses on cherry blossoms that have already opened.
Some ornamental Japanese cherry trees have only a few opened blooms among many red buds.
Some ornamental Japanese cherry trees have only a few opened blooms among many reddish buds.
Other trees already have a profusion of pink flowers.
Other nearby trees already have a profusion of pink flowers.
Cherry blossoms in beautiful Balboa Park.
Clusters of pink and white cherry blossoms in beautiful Balboa Park.
One of many tranquil, sunny paths at the Japanese Friendship Garden.
One of many tranquil, sunny paths at the Japanese Friendship Garden.
People are enjoying a perfect San Diego day.
People are enjoying another perfect San Diego day.
Walking in a grove of flowering Japanese cherry trees.
Walking in a grove of flowering Japanese cherry trees.
Glossy buds and delicate blooms and blue sky.
Glossy buds, delicate blooms and blue sky.
A bee is glad these cherry blossoms are wide open.
A bee is glad these cherry blossoms are open and inviting.
Red and green buds almost ready to bloom.
Some red and green buds almost ready to bloom.
Spring is around the corner!
Spring is around the corner!
A miracle right in front of you.
A miracle right in front of you.
This year's Cherry Blossom Festival at the Japanese Friendship Garden promises to be full of beauty.
This year’s Cherry Blossom Festival at the Japanese Friendship Garden promises to be abundant with beauty.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can enjoy more photos of Balboa Park and other Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Do you enjoy beautiful things? Visit my photography blog which I call A Small World Full of Beauty.

Famous animal celebrities at the San Diego Zoo!

Balboa Park visitors walk down main hallway of Casa de Balboa, past posters featuring some animal celebrities of the world-famous San Diego Zoo!
Balboa Park visitors walk down main hallway of Casa de Balboa, past posters featuring some animal celebrities of the world-famous San Diego Zoo!

There’s a fun new exhibit at the San Diego History Center in Balboa Park. It’s called The Lore Behind the ROAR! 100 Years of the San Diego Zoo. Like beautiful Balboa Park itself, the world-famous San Diego Zoo originated in 1915. Last year was its centennial!

Along the main hallway inside the Casa de Balboa, near the entrance to the San Diego History Center, visitors can enjoy a series of posters that feature some of the zoo’s beloved animal celebrities. Here they are!

Banner on Casa de Balboa near entrance to San Diego History Center. The Lore Behind the ROAR! 100 Years of the San Diego Zoo.
Banner on Casa de Balboa, home of several museums including the San Diego History Center. The Lore Behind the ROAR! 100 Years of the San Diego Zoo.
Carol the Asian elephant appeared with San Diego Zoo goodwill ambassador Joan Embery on The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson. Carol was also an illustrious painter!
Carol the Asian elephant.  She appeared with San Diego Zoo goodwill ambassador Joan Embery on The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson. Carol was also an illustrious painter!
Hua Mei is a superstar giant panda born at the San Diego Zoo in 1999. Her name means China USA. She now lives in China.
Hua Mei is a superstar giant panda born at the San Diego Zoo in 1999. Her name means “China USA”. She now lives in China.
Diego the Galapagos tortoise, now 130 years old, half a century ago was one of very few surviving males of the critically endangered species. Over many years, he's had roughly 1,700 offspring!
Diego the Galapagos tortoise, now 130 years old, half a century ago was one of very few surviving males of the critically endangered species. Over the ensuing years, he’s produced roughly 1,700 offspring!
Arusha and Anna were a cheetah and dog pair at the San Diego Zoo. They were the best of friends.
Arusha and Anna were a cheetah and dog pair at the San Diego Zoo. They were the best of friends.
Taku was the first polar bear born at the world-famous San Diego Zoo, back in 1942.
Taku was the first polar bear born at the world-famous San Diego Zoo, back in 1942.
Alvila was first western lowland gorilla born at the San Diego Zoo, in 1965. This animal celebrity has been a favorite through the years.
Alvila was the first western lowland gorilla born at the San Diego Zoo, in 1965. This animal celebrity has been a big favorite through the years.
King Tut, a salmon-crested cockatoo, was the San Diego Zoo’s official greeter for forty years! He also appeared on television and in theatrical productions!
King Tut, a salmon-crested cockatoo, was the San Diego Zoo’s official greeter for forty years! He also appeared on television and in theatrical productions!
Puddles the river hippopotamus was a crowd favorite at the San Diego Zoo in the 1930s and 1940s.
Puddles the river hippopotamus was a crowd favorite at the San Diego Zoo in the 1930s and 1940s.

You can enjoy more Cool San Diego Sights by following on Facebook or Twitter!

Artistic ceramic tiles and a free treasure hunt!

Tile in a unique sign made out of ceramic, which welcomes visitors to Spanish Village Art Center in beautiful Balboa Park.
Tiles in a large ceramic sign, which welcomes visitors to Spanish Village Art Center in Balboa Park.

A treasure hunt is coming up this weekend in Balboa Park! The event takes place on Valentine’s Day (Sunday, February 14) and is courtesy of the artists of Spanish Village!

The free treasure hunt, which is open to absolutely anyone, is called the 2nd Annual Spanish Village Art Abandonment. Between 11am and 4pm, Balboa Park visitors will be able to find (and keep) free works of art hidden all around the park! If you’re lucky enough to discover a unique piece of art, you’ll be able to track where you found it online!

Please follow the WordPress blog of my artist friends at Spanish Village!

https://spanishvillageartinspiration.wordpress.com/

Just for fun, I’ve taken close-up photos of colorful ceramic tiles that beautify locations around Balboa Park. These works of art, while not part of the treasure hunt, can be easily found by anyone! Please read the captions to learn more…

Close-up photo of some tiles along the curving base of a small fountain in the Alcazar Garden.
Close-up photo of some tiles along the curving base of a small fountain in the Alcazar Garden.
Complex symmetric designs, which seem to contain Moorish influence. These tiles adorn one bench near that same fountain.
Complex symmetric designs, which seem to contain Moorish influence. These tiles adorn one bench near that same fountain.
A single weathered tile at the edge of the fountain.
A single weathered tile at the edge of the fountain.
The small, ornate fountain and two of its benches, alive with delightful color.
The small, ornate fountain and two of its benches, alive with delightful color.
These decorative floral tiles are along the base of a second fountain in Balboa Park's very popular Alcazar Garden.
These decorative floral tiles are along the base of a second fountain in Balboa Park’s very popular Alcazar Garden.
Multiple ceramic tiles depict different flowers. You can spot these in the Casa del Prado courtyard in Balboa Park.
Multiple ceramic tiles depict different flowers. You can spot these in the Casa del Prado courtyard in Balboa Park.
A wider view of the cheerful flower tiles.
A wider view of the cheerful flower tiles.
These brightly painted "tiles" form a multicolored patio between the many artist studios in Spanish Village.
These brightly painted “tiles” form the multicolored patio between artist studios in Spanish Village.
A blue bird in a slightly faded ceramic tile near the base of a Spanish Village planter.
A blue bird in a faded ceramic tile, embedded in the base of a Spanish Village patio planter.
Another weathered tile, in the same planter.
Another weathered tile, in the same planter.
This tile in one Spanish Village planter is dedicated to the San Diego Enamel Guild, dated 1989.
This tile in one Spanish Village planter is dedicated to the San Diego Enamel Guild, dated 1989.
Another faded tile remembers a loved one.
Another time-faded tile remembers a loved one.
A fun tile under a bench just outside the door of Studio 13 in Spanish Village. It appears to have been created by an imaginative child.
A fun tile under a bench just outside the door of Studio 13 in Spanish Village. It appears to have been created by an imaginative child.
The fantastic front of Studio 13.
The fantastic front of Studio 13.
These tiles are embedded in an otherwise plain concrete bench on the east side of the Casa del Prado.
These tiles are embedded in an otherwise plain concrete bench on the east side of the Casa del Prado.
Very colorful ceramic tiles are part of a cascading fountain at the end of a walkway between the Casa de Balboa and the House of Hospitality.
Brightly colorful ceramic tiles, part of a cascading fountain at the end of a walkway between the Casa de Balboa and the House of Hospitality.
Unusual designs in the tile border of an information sign, just outside the Casa del Rey Moro Garden in Balboa Park.
Unusual designs in the tile border of an information sign, just outside the Casa del Rey Moro Garden in Balboa Park.
A classic, quiet fountain in the Casa del Rey Moro Garden is surrounded by stylish tiles.
A classic, quiet fountain in the Casa del Rey Moro Garden is surrounded by stylish tiles.
Close-up photo of the colorful ceramic tiles around the recessed fountain.
Close-up photo of the beautiful ceramic tiles around the recessed fountain.
The large fountain at the center of the Plaza de Panama in Balboa Park has a band of elegant tilework.
The large fountain at the center of the Plaza de Panama in Balboa Park has two bands of very elegant tilework.
More wonderful artistry. Balboa Park contains unexpected beauty at every turn.
More wonderful artistry. Balboa Park contains unexpected beauty at every turn.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk!  You can enjoy many more Cool San Diego Sights on Facebook and Twitter!