Balboa Park’s Gardens
Named because its design is patterned after the gardens of Alcazar Castle in Seville, Spain, lies adjacent to the Art Institute and Mingei Museum. It is known for its ornate fountains, exquisite turquoise blue, yellow, and green Moorish tiles and shady pergola. This formal garden, bordered by boxwood hedges, is planted with 7,000 annuals for a vibrant display of color throughout the year. The garden has been reconstructed to replicate the 1935 design by San Diego architect Richard Requa. Open 365 days a year, free.
Australian native plants grow well in this region as climates have similar wet and dry seasons. The garden contains Grevellia, Acacia, Callistemon, Banksia, Hakea, Stenocarpus, Leptospermum, Melaleuca, and Eucalyptus. Located in Gold Gulch, southeast of the Spreckles Organ Pavillion. Future plans for improvement in this area include improved trails, an interpretive kiosk and brochure. The garden is maintained by the City of San Diego and is open free to the public 365 days a year.
The Botanical Building and Lily Pond
at 250 feet long by 75 feet wide and 60 feet tall, was the largest wood lath structure in the world when it was built in 1915 for the Panama-California Exposition. The building, located on the Prado, west of the Museum of Art, contains about 2,100 permanent tropical plants along with changing seasonal flowers. The Lily Pond, just south of the Botanical Building, is an eloquent example of the use of reflecting pools to enhance architecture. The 193- by 43-foot pond and smaller companion pool contain water lilies and lotus as well as varieties of goldfish and Japanese koi. The lilies and lotus bloom spring through fall. Open Friday-Wednesday (closed Thursday and City holidays) from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Admission is free.
Casa del Rey Moro Garden (House of the Moorish King)
was designed for the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition and influenced by the Moorish gardens of Ronda, Spain that Requa first visited in 1928. The garden, along with its surrounding building, the House of Hospitality, was rededicated in 1997 after extensive reconstruction and historic renovation, and includes a replica of the wishing well in the Guadalajara Museum of Gardens. The gardens are maintained by the City of San Diego.
Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden
is south of the footbridge that crosses Park Boulevard near the Natural History Museum. This is an award-winning All-America Rose Selection Display Garden containing over 2,400 rose bushes in 180 varieties. Recently honored by the World Federation of Rose Societies as one of the top 12 public rose gardens in the world, one of only 2 in the United States to receive this distinction. The garden is in peak bloom during April and May, although many roses are in bloom from March through December. This garden is one of the most popular wedding spots in the Park. Open 365 days a year, free.
Japanese Friendship Garden
located northeast of the Spreckels Organ Pavilion, includes a small entry garden, an exhibit house, a traditional sand and stone garden, and a wisteria arbor viewing area overlooking the canyon below. The garden is a place of contemplation for visitors. Japanese garden concepts and symbolism are adapted to the climate and topography of San Diego. information (619) 232-2780. Open Tuesday-Sunday (closed Monday) from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Marston House Garden
a formal English Romantic-style garden with California influences, represents a slice of San Diego history. It is located on the grounds of the George White and Anna Gunn Marston House at 3525 Seventh Avenue. The landscaping was designed by the nationally known landscape architects George Cook, John Nolen, Thomas Church, and Hal Walker. Many of the garden's diverse trees and plants were planted prior to 1928 and have reached the beauty of full maturity. Kate O. Sessions was the horticultural consultant when the first trees were planted in 1906. The formal garden was designed by Hal Walker and William Templeton Johnson in 1927. It was installed for the Marston's 50th Anniversary. Open 365 days a year, free.
is a tropical oasis located south of the House of Charm, which contains 450 palms within its 2 acres. The original group of Mexican fan palms that are so prominent in the canyon date back to the early 1900s. Open 365 days a year, free.
is a sunken garden located between the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center and the Casa de Balboa. In this stone grotto a butterfly garden has been planted which contains both the larvae and nectar plants needed for all cycles of the complete life cycle of butterflies. Milkweed, sunflower, passion vine and California lilac were included as suitable plants for the butterfly larvae (caterpillar) stage, and butterfly bush, lantana, pincushion flower and verbena were added as nectar plants for the adult butterflies. Miniature indentations built into rocks collect small pools of water for the monarch, sulfur, and swallowtail butterflies that can be seen among the colorful perennials and majestic ficus trees that surround the garden. 365 days a year, free.
Queen Califia's Magic Circle
Inspired by the story of California's namesake, Queen Califia of the Amazon, French sculptor Nikki de Saint Phalle created a garden tribute to her majesty. Featured are nine large-scale sculptures, brilliantly painted and well worth a visit. Bear Valley Parkway and Mary Lane, Escondido, CA 92025 760.839.4691
San Diego Botanic Garden Located on over 30 acres in Encinitas, California, formerly Quail Botanical Gardens, San Diego Botanical Gardens features rare bamboo groves, desert gardens, a tropical rainforest, California native plants, Mediterranean climate landscapes, and a subtropical fruit garden. In April of 2003, Quail introduced the West Coast's first interactive children's garden. 230 Quail Gardens Drive, Encinitas CA, (760) 436-3036 / Fax: (760) 632-0917
San Diego Zoo Botanical Collection
is an internationally prominent collection with over 6,000 species of plants. It has been accredited since 1993 as a botanical garden by the American Association of Museums. Prized collections include orchids, cycads, fig trees, palms, and coral trees. Whimsical animal topiaries are featured throughout the Zoo. Naturalistic animal exhibits are heavily planted and resemble the animals' native habitats. Some plants, such as bamboo, eucalyptus, acacia, and hibiscus, are grown for animal food. Opens daily at 9:00 a.m. Free parking. Public information 619 234-3153; media contact: Public Relations 619 685-3291.
Bright iron sculptures twist up from the ground as if they were a strange new variety of plant life. The Sculpture Court and Garden are open Tuesday-Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Hours may change due to daylight and weather conditions.) Admission is free. 1450 El Prado Balboa Park San Diego, California (619) 232-7931
The Water Conservation Garden at Cuyamaca College
The Water Conservation Garden has nearly five acres of displays that showcase water conservation through a series of beautiful themed gardens, such as a native plant garden and a vegetable garden, as well as how-to displays such as mulch and irrigation exhibits. Admission is free, and the Garden can be viewed on a self-guided tour, or through one of our programs.
12122 Cuyamaca College Drive West; El Cajon (619) 660-0614 http://www.thegarden.org/