Tag Archives: solana beach

Why the A is worth only one point

Succulent flowers

Zoey the Cool Cat, Jim, and I moved back in July to a ground floor house that actually has property surrounding it. We had been in condominiums from 2007 to 2017 because we liked having a pool and spa without having the maintenance on a pool and spa.

Now that we have property surrounding our house again, I can get back to serious gardening. Serious gardening means spending lots of time again reading through the plant books in my gardening library as well as spending time at the plant nurseries throughout San Diego County.

Most of our property will be dedicated to non-cactus succulents—my body has decided to move on from thorny cactus.

My time at nurseries led me to Solana Succulents, a cool little nursery in Solana Beach, California, which I discovered 15 years ago. A couple of weeks ago as I was wandering around the nursery, the owner, Jeff Moore, was on the phone and telling the caller that he would have to be closed the next day because he was traveling up to Los Angeles to speak to one of the botanical societies there. After he hung up, I told him that I was retired and if he ever needed someone to keep the nursery open for a day while he was gone, he could call on me. Well, he called on me as soon as I finished my sentence, and I got to work the nursery all by myself the next day. Pretty cool. Even though I was in a nursery, I was pretty sure I was in Heaven.\

Jeff has written two books on Succulents: Under the Spell of Succulents and Aloes and Agaves In Cultivation, and has a third book, Soft Succulents, coming out in a couple of weeks. In my continuing conversation with Jeff, I commented on his book as to its design and text fonts. He sent me a PDF of his not-yet-published Soft Succulents to read through and offer comments. I did. I did the same for his first two books in case he gets to reprintings.

It’s been a joy reading his books because of his knowledge, the pretty pictures, and his sense of humor. Some of the pictures almost—almost, I say—convince me to give some of the agaves a try, but they are mean, spiny creatures which have no problem sampling a taste of your blood. That, however, doesn’t prevent me from enjoying the pictures—they don’t bite—and sharing them with you.

The little one in the following picture from Wikipedia has some serious spines and is quite pretty, but it’s the name that caught my attention:

Agave guadalajarana

It’s the reason why the A in Scrabble is worth only one point.

Agave guadalajarana

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

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Out & About—How come Santa didn’t bring me a drone?

Out & About

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Brick is not widely used in Southern California but the Del Mar depot, built in 1910 by the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad, is a beautiful brick depot located on Coast Boulevard between 15th and 17th streets.

Former Del Mar railroad depot in use from 1910 to 1995.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

That depot had been in continuous use from 1910 to 1995. For many of those years it was the only passenger stop between Oceanside and San Diego, a distance of 39 miles. At the time of its closing, it was one of Amtrak’s busiest stations, mainly due to the Del Mar Fairgrounds being nearby. The Fairgrounds host hundreds of events throughout the year, including the San Diego County Fair, the 5th largest fair in the United States.

In the late 1980s, the city of Solana Beach, located two miles north of Del Mar, set about to build a regional transit center. The San Diego Association of Governments voted to close the Del Mar depot due to limited parking, the lack of handicapped access, and the poor logistics of providing for trains, buses, cars, and people. The Del Mar City Council rejected expanding the depot but hoped to keep it in operation as an Amtrak-only station; Amtrak nixed that idea and moved its Del Mar operations to Solana Beach.

Across from the Del Mar depot is one of Southern California’s prime surfing spots, so this area area is highly congested as surfers arrive by foot, bicycle, motorcycle, car, bus, and taxi. No longer do they arrive by train.

The depot now is private property so there is no access to it. I did find a walkway going above it where I got seven pictures to create the panorama show above. The picture below is looking down the tracks where you can see the depot on the right. That’s as close as you’re going to get to a trackside picture without a drone. Hmmmmmmmm. Drone. How come Santa didn’t bring me a drone?

Tracks at the former Del Mar railroad depot, in upper right.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Cedros Design District in Solana Beach, California

Out & About

A last set of pictures from a recent walk through the Cedros Design District in Solana Beach.

Cedros Design District, Solana Beach, California Cedros Design District, Solana Beach, California Cedros Design District, Solana Beach, California Cedros Design District, Solana Beach, California Cedros Design District, Solana Beach, California Cedros Design District, Solana Beach, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Cedros Avenue Design District in Solana Beach, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Under the spell of succulents

Out & About

When I came to San Diego in April 1993, I left all of my beautiful plants in the gardens back in Texas. Since I lived pretty much in hot, dry areas of Texas, and I intensely disliked paying water bills, most of my gardens and plants were cactus and succulents. So I had to start all over again in San Diego.

I didn’t get that start until November 1995 when the consulting job I took in April 1994 stationed me permanently in San Diego. My first task after moving into the new digs was to find the cactus and succulent nurseries in San Diego County.

One of my favorites was Solana Succulents, 355 N. Highway 101 in Solana Beach:

Solana Succulents in Solana Beach, California

Map location of Solana Succulents in Solana Beach, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Solana Succulents is open from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, and Noon to 4:00 p.m. on Sunday. Those are Daylight Savings Time hours. During Standard Time, they close at 4:00 p.m. on all days.

Solana Succulents is where I bought my first Stapelia. Looked like this when it bloomed:

Stapelia

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The plant is so unlike most cactus and succulents that I took an immediate liking to it. But when it bloomed, I became Stapelia’s greatest fan. Here are some other pictures from my Stapelia collection throughout my years in San Diego:

Stapelia

Stapelia

Stapelia flower

Stapelia

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Succulent chess set at the San Diego County FairWhen I started my home inspection company in October 2001, I stopped by Solana Succulents because they always had a stack of 10% discount coupons at the front entrance. Pick up a discount coupon and use it ten minutes later!

I wanted to know if I could include a discount coupon with each of my home inspection reports. They said yes! So each of my Clients got a 10% discount coupon. I know from follow-up conversations that many of them used the coupon, and that made me happy.

Yesterday I went to Carlsbad to get a picture of the new Cecil the Lion mural (see yesterday’s post here: I’m going to call animal abuse on that). On the way home, I drove down the Pacific Coast Highway with the specific intent of stopping at Solana Succulents. I spent nearly an hour talking to the owner, Jeff Moore, and taking pictures.

Here are twenty pictures taken on August 19, 2015:

Solana Succulents in Solana Beach, California

Solana Succulents in Solana Beach, California

Solana Succulents in Solana Beach, California

Solana Succulents in Solana Beach, California

Solana Succulents in Solana Beach, California

Solana Succulents in Solana Beach, California

Solana Succulents in Solana Beach, California

Solana Succulents in Solana Beach, California

Solana Succulents in Solana Beach, California

Solana Succulents in Solana Beach, California

Solana Succulents in Solana Beach, California

Solana Succulents in Solana Beach, California

Solana Succulents in Solana Beach, California

Solana Succulents in Solana Beach, California

Solana Succulents in Solana Beach, California

Solana Succulents in Solana Beach, California

Solana Succulents in Solana Beach, California

Solana Succulents in Solana Beach, California

Solana Succulents in Solana Beach, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Can you guess which picture is my favorite?

NONE OF THEM!

It’s this one:

Solana Succulents in Solana Beach, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Sadly, all of my Stapelias got left behind when I moved from Spring Valley to La Mesa in June 2001, and gardening then took a back seat to the commencement of my home inspection company just a couple of months later.

Stapelias are difficult to find in nurseries here, which puzzles me because they are so easy to grow, are drought tolerant, and have such beautiful star-shaped flowers.

Yesterday, Jeff was kind enough to give me a piece of that Stapelia in the very last picture. My life is complete again now that I once more have a Stapelia!

Jeff has a newly published book about succulents, a copy of which he also was kind enough to give me yesterday. The cover looks like this:

Under the Spell of Succulents by Jeff Moore

There are 244 pages with over 800 color photos in an 8″x10″ soft cover book for just $29.95! Contact Jeff at 858-259-4568 or solanasucculents@sbcglobal.net for your copy!

I can highly recommend “Under the Spell of Succulents” as an absolute necessity for cactus and succulent lovers, and for those who simply love beautiful pictures of beautiful plants.

Jeff also said that I could create a 10% discount coupon specifically for my wonderful followers here, so when you stop by Solana Succulents to choose YOUR special succulent or display, give Jeff the coupon below.

10% off coupon for Solana Succulents in Solana Beach, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos at Fine Art America

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Suspension bridges right here in San Diego!

Out & About

Ever since staycations became fashionable about eight years ago, I have been endeavoring to explore San Diego County—cities, rural areas, monuments, beaches, forests, parks, tourist attractions. Anything and everything is subject to Russel Ray’s Exploration Team, defined as Russel and his Canon camera.

Recently the Exploration Team stopped by San Dieguito County Park, a 125-acre park located on the border between the cities of Del Mar and Solana Beach.

san dieguito county park map

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

san dieguito county park logoInterestingly, the park doesn’t open until 9:30 in the morning. I feel sorry for the early morning joggers.

The park is home to the Miracle Field, a fully accessible baseball field that accommodates children and adults with special needs.

There is a wide variety of recreational activities, including playgrounds, exercise stations, a basketball court, pavilions, a wedding gazebo, large open lawn areas, picnic areas, barbecue facilities, restrooms, drinking fountains, plenty of parking………

…….and trails! Lots of trails! With two suspension bridges at the top of Activity Hill!

The main trail:

img_0280 san diego county park trail stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Where I wanted to go:

img_0319 san diego county park trail stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Short suspension bridge:

img_0285 san diego county park trail suspension bridge stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Long suspension bridge:

img_0288 san diego county park trail suspension bridge stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The view from the top of a purple mountain majesty:

img_0317 san diego county park trail stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Here a mural, there a mural

Out & About

It would be fun just to drive around San Diego County all day and take pictures of the billions and billions and billions of murals.

Here is one that is two stories tall and many, many parking spaces long:

img_2345 panorama solana beach mural

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I had to take 32 pictures to get the complete mural and then have Photoshop merge them together to get the panorama. You can click on the picture to see a larger version.

The wonderful people who created the mural:

img_2377 solana beach mural stampPictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

And its location:

mural location

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

IMG_2316 zoey the cool cat happy july

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Out & About—Del Mar Shores beach in Solana Beach CA

Out & About

San Diego County has an overabundance of great beaches, and the fact that all beaches in the State of California are public means that one can enjoy them, providing that one can get to them.

Many wealthy neighborhoods don’t like commoners on their beaches, so they purposely make it difficult for the public to get to the beaches.

The City of Solana Beach is a great example.

Recently I was trying to get to Del Mar Shores beach. I had not been there in about twenty years but knew that there was a beautiful, new staircase leading down to the beach. Finding that staircase without walking up the beach for ten miles proved to be more difficult than I had thought.

I finally found the beach access on a small cul-de-sac:

del mar shores beach access

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Although the sign and walkway are quite visible, that picture is from a web site that I browse looking for unique San Diego. The walkway now is overgrown with bushes and trees, and the sign and walkway entrance are obscured by car parking. Thus, if you’re just casually driving by—and no one is going to casually drive by in a cul-de-sac to begin with!—you’ll miss it. In fact, I missed it twice before finding it the third time. Well, my wise old grandmother always said that the third time is the charm!

The walkway goes around two sides of the Del Mar Shores Terrace condominiums. Here’s the second side leading to the beach:

img_2504 solana beach del mar shores beach access stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Even though I was there on a weekend, you can see that it wasn’t busy. I’m thinking because no one can find it!

At the end of the walkway is a magnificent view of the beach from the top of 150-foot cliffs:

img_2509 beach solana beach stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Then there is the view down the grand staircase:

img_2508 solana beach del mar shores beach access stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

It’s absolutely necessary to traverse the stairs to get to the bottom so you can see this view of what you just came down:

img_2513 beach access solana beach stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The “NO DOGS ALLOWED” sign at the beginning of the walkway is confusing because dogs are allowed, albeit only to the south side of the stairs, not the north side.

A walk on the beach provides views of magnificent beachside cliff homes and condominium complexes, as well as the interesting retaining walls that keep them up there.

img_2511 solana beach del mar shores beach stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Map showing access to Del Mar Shores beach in Solana Beach

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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