Out & About—The top 10 most important trees in Balboa Park

Out & About The World

Now that I’m retired, I have more time to go exploring each day.

This past Sunday I took a walking tour of the ten most important trees in San Diego’s Balboa Park.

Number 8 on the list is one of the four Dragon trees (Dracaena draco) in the Desert Garden just across the street from the San Diego Zoo, the tallest one in the following picture.

Dragon tree (Dracaena draco)

These four were planted in 1914 for the Panama-California Exhibition of 1915-16. That tallest one is about 25 feet tall with a trunk diameter of 3½ feet. It has been named Frank Allen Jr. in honor of the man in charge of designing and installing the landscape for the 1915 Exposition.

Dragon trees are members of the asparagus family.  They are indigenous to the Canary Islands where the Guanche people used its sap in their mummification process.

Quite popular in Southern California landscapes in the 20th century, they rarely are planted today.

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

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Out & About—Grand Canyon

Out & About The World

I am still cataloging the millions of pictures I took in July 2018 while driving around aimlessly….

Here are four of the Grand Canyon on July 24, 2018.

Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

How the rabbits and ground squirrels see it

I skipped wandering in my gardens this morning and went to the San Diego Zoo and on a walking tour with the Balboa Park Heritage Association of the 10 most important trees in Balboa Park.

When I got home, Zoey the Cool Cat wanted me to take a nap with her.

Zoey the Cool Cat

When we awoke at 5:00 p.m. and looked out the window, we saw my Trichocereus grandiflorus Thai hybrid blooming.

Trichocereus Thai hybrid

Sadly, it was blooming in the direction of the sun, so I climbed up on the retaining wall to take a picture.

Trichocereus Thai hybrid

Then I decided to climb over the fence into the Open Space Preserve to see it as the rabbits and ground squirrels see it.

Trichocereus Thai hybrid

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Did you know?—Actinic keratoses, skin cancer, and photodynamic light

Did you know?

I have been fighting actinic keratoses and skin cancer on my face and scalp for several years now. Nothing serious, just ugly and itchy.

Last month my new dermatologist recommended a procedure called PDT (Photodynamic Light). Wow. What a procedure. I can highly recommend it, though.

More interestingly for me is that I got 16 opioid pills to alleviate pain. I can’t say that they specifically alleviated any pain but they did let me sleep up to six hours.

I have been a “polyphasic sleeper” all my life, so sleeping up to six hours was quite interesting, especially since I had dreams for the first time in my life. I always died in the dreams, which is when I woke up.

Now that I’m out of opioids, I’m back to sleeping “normally” for me, up to 2½ hours at a time. No dreams.

All of that makes me wonder just what effects opioids have on all those people who are addicted to them.

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Out & About—Poppies everywhere!

Out & About The World

So far in 2019 I have had 37¾ inches of rain at my front door. Other parts of Southern California also have been getting a lot of rain, and lots of rain in January & February mean lots of flowers in the mountains and deserts in March & April.

Yesterday I went to see the supper poppy bloom in Walker Canyon in Lake Elsinore, California. I love mass plantings, especially flowers, and the supper poppy bloom now ranks #1 on my list, ahead of the Texas bluebonnets in the Houston/Austin/College Station area and the tulips at the CN Tower in Toronto.The poppies are California poppies, the official flower of the State of California. Enjoy them in their native habitat!

There were People, Parking, People Parking, Poppies, Poppy Parking, Puppies, Puppy Packing, and Purple flowers (for contrast):

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

What to do in retirement….

Back in 2003, I stopped by a plant nursery in Solana Beach, California, after a home inspection. I had never been to it, did not know about it, and simply stumbled upon it while delaying going home in rush hour traffic. I used to include 10% discount coupons to the nursery in my home inspection reports, and I know that many of my home inspection clients used the coupons.

Fast forward to 2017. I stopped by Solana Succulents to tell the owner that I had retired as a home inspector. He thanked me for all the years of sending my clients to his nursery. He gave me free copies of his first two books that he had authored, “Under the Spell of Succulents” and “Soft Succulents.”

Jeff Moore books

He had a third book, “Aloes & Agaves in Cultivation,” that was in the process of being printed, and he was starting on a fourth book to be titled “Spiny Succulents.” I went home and immediately started reading the two books and looking at the glorious pictures.

Since I was a copyeditor and writer for the Department of Chemistry, the College of Science, and the University Press at Texas A&M University from 1983 to 1987, as well as the Department of Chemistry at Stanford University for six months in 1987, I have this habit of looking for errors in my reading materials—makes it really fun to read the uncorrected advance editions of novels that my husband brings home from Warwick’s bookstore at the San Diego Airport.

After several pages, I noticed that there were a lot of grammatical and punctuation errors, as well as some word use (“compliment” instead of “complement”) and spelling errors (it’s for its). I went back to page one and decided to make a list. Whenever I find a huge number of errors, I always inform the author, and that’s what I did with Jeff Moore’s books.

Fast forward another two years. Jeff asked me if I would like to do the final editing and design layout on his “Spiny Succulents” book. I was an easy sale. I got the pages on January 30. 350 pages to edit and create the final layout. I just finished page 139.

I wanted to share a few pictures of some of the beautiful plants in the book. You’re getting a free look that no one else has had. These are low-resolution pictures specifically for my WordPress blog. Enjoy!

Front Cover
Front cover

Adenium obesum
Adenium

Turbinocarpus pseudopectinatus
Turbinocarpus pseudopectinatus

Collection

Collection

Euphorbia woodii
Euphorbia woodii

Euphorbia pulcherrima
Yes, the Christmas poinsettia is a succulent!
Euphorbia pulcherrima

Trichocereus hybrids
Trichocereus hybrids

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Saving throwaway pictures

How I Did It

I took a picture this morning of two black tree monitors (Varanus beccari) cuddling in the Reptile House at the San Diego Zoo. Sadly, the picture is focused on the leg of one of the monitors:

Varanus beccari

It’s a poor picture. Many photographers would call it a “throwaway” and promptly delete it. Not me. As my wise old grandmother told me: “Don’t throw anything away! There is no away!”

Hint for taking pictures of wildlife: Focus on the eyes; everything else will fall into place.

Since have so many different picture editing software programs, I decided to see if I could make something “artsy fartsy” out of it.

Here’s the one I like the most (so far!), using Fractalius G4 software by Redfield:

Varanus beccari

Considering what digital photo editing software was available 20 years ago, I wonder what I might be able to do with “throwaway” pictures in another 20 years.

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post