Category Archives: Flora

Christmas is just around the corner

I livew in my own little world

I have a propensity to repeat certain things frequently, so much so that Julian asked me about my “sayings.” I seriously doubt that any of my sayings are original. Rather, I think I picked them up from other people or from TV shows and movies, and through the years they have simply become a part of me.

One of my favorites that I will use when someone is sad or depressed is, “Christmas is just around the corner.” That gets a laugh, or at least a chuckle, in June and July. Time does go by so fast, though, that “Christmas will be here before you know it.”

As I was cataloging pictures this morning, I came across two Christmas trees, albeit not the type of Christmas trees which you probably just visualized. Here are my two Christmas trees:

Plantus unknownii

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Friday Flower Fiesta

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Friday Flower Fiesta (9-12-14)—Bearded and wild

Friday Flower Fiesta

Part of my youth was spent living in northern Utah, places like Hyrum, Wellsville, Logan, and Brigham City. There is a significant difference between the climate of northern Utah and that of San Diego.

One of my favorite flowers that grew very well in Utah was the iris. We have a wild iris that grows here in San Diego, and while it is pretty, it’s just not as awesome as the irises from Utah. About the only time I see something like a bearded iris is near the coast where it’s cooler all the time, and on the campus of San Diego State University which has become a pretty good arboretum over the last four or five years.

Here are some of my favorite iris pictures in my collection:

#1 Wild Iris stamp

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#2Wild Iris

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#3
Purple iris

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#4
Purple iris

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#5
Iris at the San Diego Zoo

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#6Iris from Weidner's Gardens

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#7

Peach Iris

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#8

Regal Iris

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#9Bearded iris

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#10Wild Iris stampPictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Would you like a date?

Picture of the Moment

My wise old grandmother used to make a wide variety of pies, three of which I disliked intensely: pecan, mince meat, and date. Nuts and meat simply don’t belong in pies. Dates I simply didn’t like.

When I was over in Palm Springs a few weeks ago, I saw many date palms, all of them with their little dates hanging in plastic bags. Looked like this:

Date palms

I thought it interesting that dates apparently are harvested by letting them fall into the plastic bags. Unless the plastic bags help them all ripen at the same time, or something like that. Anyway, what a unique picture of date palm trees, something we don’t see here in San Diego.

copy-image002.jpg

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I’m on my way right now!

Out & About

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Zoey the Cool Cat and I are going to stay with the larger-than-life theme that we seem to have going right now.

After I graduated from Texas A&M University, I spent a lot of time representing my fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega, a national co-ed service fraternity. One of the chapters that I represented was at Texas Lutheran College; it is located in Seguin, home of the world’s largest pecan.

World's largest pecan

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

That was the largest edible roadside attraction I had ever seen until I got to San Diego. Just south of where I live in La Mesa is the city of Lemon Grove, where they claim to have the best climate on Earth.

Lemon Grove, California, welcome sign

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I’m thinking “No.” as to the best climate on Earth, but it’s something one cannot prove one way or another. After all, some people think International Falls, Minnesota, has the best climate on Earth….

Lemon Grove was settled in 1869 but didn’t incorporate as a city until 1977. The 2010 census found a population of 25,320, in a city of just 3.88 miles, making Lemon Grove a densely populated city of 6,500 people per square mile (ppsm)! Not quite New York City with its 27,778 ppsm, but higher than San Diego with 4,003 ppsm.

From the early part of the 20th Century to the late ’70s or so, Lemon Grove was a city of lemon groves…. Hence the name. Oranges and avocados also were popular, but lemons were the cash crop. Sadly, there’s not a single lemon grove left in Lemon Grove due to the continued overpopulation of the Earth and the need for houses, restaurants, stores, and gas stations…………

Lemon Grove is, however, where you can find the world’s largest lemon:

The world's largest lemon

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Located at 3361 Main Street, adjacent to the tracks for the Orange Line of the San Diego Trolley, the world’s largest lemon is about ten feet wide and six feet tall. There are a dozen lemon trees planted behind the lemon but they never appear very healthy, probably due to that intersection being one of the busiest in East San Diego County. Imagine trying to produce lemons in the midst of car exhaust fumes, tire rubber, brake dust, oil fumes, gas fumes, cigarette butts….

When I was researching the lemon, I found a tourist site providing address, directions, and hours. Under hours, it said “Always visible (Call to verify).” Under what conditions might something not be visible when it is ten feet long and six feet high. No phone number was listed so who do you call to verify visibility? I can imagine the phone call:

“Hello! This is the City of Lemon Grove. How may I help you?”

“This is Russel Ray. I’m a tourist. I’d like to come see the world’s largest lemon. Is it visible right now?”

“Oh, I’m sorry sir. For that information you’ll need to speak with the Lemon Grove Tourist Bureau. I’ll connect you.”

“Thank you.”

“City of Lemon Grove Tourist Bureau. How may I help you?”

“I’m a tourist in town from La Mesa. I’d like to come see the world’s largest lemon. My tourist book says to call to verify that it is visible. So is it?”

“Well, sir. The world’s largest lemon is ten feet wide and six feet tall. Since Lemon Grove has the best climate on Earth, even better than La Mesa, I suspect that it is visible all the time.
I have lived and worked in Lemon Grove for 21 years and we have not experienced any phenomena that have prevented visibility. Well, except at night when the street light at that corner is not working.
So I would have to say, ‘Yes, it is visible right now, and probably still will be visible when you get here…. Unless we get the big one or the second coming of Christ, and then all bets are off as to whether the world’s largest lemon will even still be here, much less visible.’ ”

“Thank you! You’ve been very helpful! I’m on my way right now!”

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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San Diego Historical Landmarks — #1: El Prado Area Designation, part 16

San Diego Historical Landmarks

For the introductory blog post to San Diego’s historical landmarks, click on San Diego’s Historical Landmarks.

#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 1
#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 2
#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 3
#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 4
#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 5
#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 6
#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 7
#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 8
#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 9
#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 10
#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 11
#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 12
#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 13
#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 14
#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 15

El Prado Area Designation

View Larger Map

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The last place to visit on the north side of the El Prado on our easterly trek is the San Diego Natural History Museum:

San Diego Natural History MuseumPictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

San Diego Natural History MuseumNatural history, of course, is just about anything that doesn’t involve humans, such as minerals and wildlife.

They often have exhibits specifically for schoolchildren, so it’s not unusual to see huge crowds of schoolchildren waiting to go in together. This fall they have “Weekly Science Sundays with Ms. Frizzle” and

I don’t go as often as I should, and I don’t really know why because I really enjoy natural history.

The museum has a huge collection of preserved reptiles:

Preserved reptile specimens

(I’d rather see living reptiles, and for that I go to the San Diego Zoo.)

My favorite exhibits are usually the traveling exhibits, such as the All That Glitters exhibit from a few years ago. Here are a few butterflies from All That Glitters:

butterfly (4)

butterfly (3)

butterfly (2)

butterfly (1)

The upper floors also feature artwork, of which this was my favorite when I was last there:

Dogs

The museum occasionally has somewhat whimsical art on exhibit, such as this man climbing a rope on the north side of the museum:

Man on a rope

No. It wasn’t a real man but it was garnering a lot of attention from passersby.

The upcoming exhibit that I want to see is The Discovery of King Tut, opening October 11, 2014. I missed King Tut when he toured the world a decade ago. Not this time. Advance ticket purchase is strongly recommended.

The Museum is open seven days a week from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. except for being closed on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.

Admission is $17 for adults, $15 for those age 62 and over; $12 for military with ID, college students with ID, and youth age 13-17; $11 for children age 3-12; and free for children under the age of 3. There also are discounts for groups of ten or more, but reservations must be made in advance.

Visit online at the San Diego Natural History Museum.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Friday Flower Fiesta (8-29-14)

Friday Flower Fiesta

It’s Friday again…. Where does the time go…. School has started…. My Texas A&M Aggies, ranked #21, destroyed #9 South Carolina 52-48 on the football field in South Carolina…. Christmas is just around the corner…. So onward to today’s Friday Flower Fiesta….

#1
Pink hibiscus

#2
Yellow and red hisiscus #3
Orange double hibiscus

#4
Unknown yellow flower

#5
Foxglove

The first three flowers are hibiscus, and #5 is a foxglove, but if anyone knows what #4 is, please let me know!

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Friday Flower Fiesta (8-22-14)—Throwback

Friday Flower Fiesta

Julian Rey Saenz and I are extraordinarily busy, so I’m going to reach into the past, way into the past, for today’s Friday Flower Fiesta. In other words, you’re getting previously used flowers today!

#1
Friday Flower Fiesta 

#2
 Friday Flower Fiesta

#3
 Friday Flower Fiesta

#4
 Friday Flower Fiesta

#5
 Friday Flower Fiesta

#6
 Friday Flower Fiesta

#7
Friday Flower Fiesta 

#8
Friday Flower Fiesta 

#9
Friday Flower Fiesta 

#10
Friday Flower Fiesta

#11
Friday Flower Fiesta

#12
Friday Flower Fiesta (September 13, 2012)

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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