San Diego, California
San Diego, California
Balboa Park had its genesis in 47,000 acres set aside by José Castro, the Mexican governor of Alta California, and his city officials for public recreational use in 1835. In 1868, the San Diego Board of Trustees designated 1,400 acres northeast of the then urban center as a city park. Slow development occurred from 1872 to 1909. During this period noted horticulturalist and botanist, Kate Sessions, ran a commercial nursery located on thirty-two acres and planted numerous trees and other plants throughout the park in exchange for the use of park land. Many of her trees survive and she is often called the Mother of Balboa Park. Development culminated in a burst of creativity from 1910 for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition that has given the park much of the character it has today. The 1915 Botanical Building, then one of the world's largest shade houses, still holds large palms and other tropicals. And some fuchsias as well. Another area of interest for fuchsia sight-seeing is the Alcazar Garden, located behind the San Diego Art Institute. The San Diego Fuchsia & Shade Plant Society also meets monthly in the Casa del Prado.
- Balboa Park in San Diego, California. Founded in 1868, its genesis as a public recreational space traces back to 47,000 acres set aside by the Mexican governor of Alto California in 1835.
- The Botanical Building. It was the world's largest shade house when it was built for the
Panama-California Exposition in 1915. It's still a very impressive structure.
- The structure, at the end of a long reflecting pool called the Lily Pond, seems like
one of the most-visited attractions in the Park. Everyone seems to stop here for photos, anyway.
- Besides seasonal displays, a permant collection
of over 2,100 plants are housed under this roof.
- Inside, palms, ferns, cycads, orchids and many other tropical plants are shaded
from the hot sun by the open laths high above. Where are the fuchsias?
- False alarm. This is a begonia. Begonia fuchsioides, to be sure, but still a begonia.
- Here we go. This is ‘Thalia.’ It’s often confused with ‘Gartenmeister Bonstedt’ but has brighter red-orange tubes with a straighter trumpet-like flare & darker green leaves with more red veins.
- At the other end of the house, one of the graceful fuchsias
in the Encliandra section shares the central bed with a collection of ferns.
- It's used as a bedding plant here but makes a fair-sized shrub if given the chance.
- Looks like Fuchsia thymifolia, but which one is it?
There are two sub-species, minimiflora and thymifolia
- Ah, there's the label tucked away. Unfortunately, it doesn't specify which sub-species this is.
- Magnificent tree ferns arch overhead.
- What’s that? Tucked away in a dim corner under the tree ferns is another fuchsia.
- Fuchsias are BRIGHT shade lovers. This one’s trying to escape through the laths for a little more of that bright. No label nearby but it seems to be ‘Gartenmeister Bonstedt’ from over here.
- Outside, the pronounced bulbous bulge of the paler orange tube and the soft, velvety blush of the leaves confirm the escape artist is indeed ‘Gartenmeister Bonstedt.’
- The Casa del Prado hosts numerous local plant societies
and even finds time to house a renowned theatre as well.
- It's home to the Garden Foundation's library.
- The list of organizations is extensive but I don't see the San Diego
Fuchsia & Shade Plant Society which meets here monthly on the board.
- The outdoor sculpture garden at the Museum of Art has a striking view
to the California Tower rising high above the Museum of Man.
- Across the street, the Alcazar Garden is located behind the Art Institute.
This formal garden has ornate fountains, colorful Moorish tiles, a pergola . . .
- . . . and features bright displays of annuals inside low boxwood hedges.
- And fuchsias, too, of course.
- The first find is 'First Success.'
- "Firecracker' is its beautifully variegated sport. Unfortunately it's very finicky about
watering and needs to be carefully grown on the dry side to be sucessful.
- It has long internodes and makes a large, arching shrub or even a liana.
- 'The self-colored single scarlet flowers are on the large side.
- In some colder areas, such as the Pacific Northwest, 'Cardinal' has proven to be winter hardy.
- Another Fuchsia in the Alcazar Garden.
- Not quite sure of the cultivar yet. Still thinking about it, though.
- The San Diego Zoo Botanical Collection is home to over 4,300 species and quick guides to some of that plentitude are available near the entrance. Some are grown as food.
- Whoa. Looking for the fuchsias, of course. Not the animal feed. This guy could probably go through a ton given the chance. Good thing he’s mostly out for the hay.
- There are too many distractions here. Like the Buerger’s Tree Kangaroo.
Who would think that some kangaroos can climb as well as others can hop?
- Koalas are from down under, too, and might have a certain familiarity with Australasian plants.
“G’day mate. Ever been over to New Zealand? Seen any excorticata at the zoo? Procumbens?”
- Nope. Dreaming of the sweet bottlebrushes of home, not fuchsias. Not that they’re not spectacular planted all over the Zoo. Maybe this one’s Callistemon ‘Little John’ or something?
- The Southern Hairy-Nosed Wombat seems to concur.
Or maybe it’s just trying to hide its trademark hairy sniffer behind something prettier.
- Well, its nose isn’t actually as hairy as I thought it would be.
I was hoping for something more spectacular. Like a handle-bar moustache.
- The flamingos in their pool provide another amusing distraction
as they seem to constantly squabble and bicker over just about everything.
- Finally. At the penultimate moment before closing a triphylla hybrid on the way to the tortoises.
- No blossoms to help identify this one but the leaves make it seem like another 'Thalia.'
Even without any flowers, the plant looks striking in this soft light.