Early yesterday morning I became aware that the historic and beautiful Botanic Building in Balboa Park was full of orchids, blooming orchids.
I guess you know that’s where I headed yesterday afternoon.
Orchids will be the flower of the week in this week’s Friday Flower Fiesta.
Balboa Park was crowded yesterday, as it usually is on sunny weekends, but especially so on holiday weekends.
Usually I can park in the San Diego Zoo’s parking lot and walk anywhere within the park easily and quickly.
Yesterday the Zoo lot was full and each aisle had four or five cars waiting in it for someone to leave so they could park.
Finally, I got out of the Zoo lot and parked outside the park, which made for a longer walk.
Here are some pictures of what I saw walking from my car to the Botanic Building:
Ficus trees can be found throughout Balboa Park with their ubiquitous surface roots:
It’s bloom time throughout San Diego for the Foxtail Agave (Agave attenuata). These things have this huge, arching stalk with billions and billions and billions of flowers on it. In the picture below, you can see the dead flowers (brown), the blooming flowers (yellow), and the flower buds (green) on the stalk. Bees love these things, so be careful if you go near them.
In 1968, while living with my wise old grandmother in Kingsville, Texas, we went to visit her oldest living son (my dad was the oldest, but deceased) in Chatsworth, California, a Los Angeles suburb in the San Fernando Valley. That was my introduction to the Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia), and since that time I have been trying to get the perfect picture of a flower. This is close.
The problem with the Bird of Paradise flower is that it is so long-lasting that parts of it have died by the time other parts are just blooming.
No trip to Balboa Park is complete without at least a quick trip to the San Diego Zoo:
Remember that the San Diego Zoo is also an internationally recognized botanic garden, so stop to enjoy the many plants and flowers, too.
In spite of all my stops and side trips, I made it to the Botanic Building, one of the most photographed buildings in San Diego and one of the largest lattice buildings in the world:
At the two entrances to the Botanic Building, there are two very large Milkweed plants. Wildlife enthusiasts probably know the Milkweed as the plant of choice for Monarch butterflies, and regardless of the time of year, you can find either butterflies, caterpillars, or chrysalises on the plants. Yesterday I saw two caterpillars. The prettiest one:
Lastly, the Balboa Park Railroad appears to be open for business again. It closes for the rainy season. During the offseason the Railroad acquired a couple of guardians:
If you have some young children in your household, call them over now for a journey on the Balboa Park Railroad, located in front of the entrance to the San Diego Zoo:
Did you see the animals riding in the cars with everyone? You have to look closely. There’s a panda, a giraffe, and a lion.
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