Botanical Gardens, Balboa Park San Diego, California
Summer will be over soon. An entire array of plants will take center stage. Angel’s Trumpets don’t seem to notice the subtle change of seasons of our climate and bloom off and on all year round. This yellow single flowered Brugmansia is putting on quite the show at Balboa Park. Tucked behind the International Houses, it provides a visually arresting display.
I don’t know what plant this is but I love the structure of it. The waxy little flower whose petals seem imprinted and the thick oval leaves prove that simplicity is beautiful.
There is plenty to do to tend the plants here at Casa P. And there is just enough time to consider what new beauty can be added to our constantly-in-transition backyard. Another Brug would be fine with me. Perhaps a pink one.
For now, it’s the vegetable garden that needs the most work. At the moment there are two eager helpers waiting at the back door for me to get to work. The four footed don’t make for the best helpers. But they are certainly the best kind of gardening company.
Bold Expressions: African American Quilts is a new exhibition at the Mingei Museum in Balboa Park. When I received the announcement in the mail, I knew this was going to be one I would revisit often. All of the quilts are from the collection of one woman, Corrine Riley. There seems to be a little bit of everything in this collection: applique, log cabins, Star of Bethlehem, crazy quilts, wonky blocks and more.
|Made sometime in the 1950′s in East Texas|
I had all the best intentions of going first thing this morning when the lighting would be right in the gallery. However, City College graduation was taking place and parking was nonexistent. I made another attempt this afternoon and managed to find a spot in the 20 minute parking. Ha! What was I thinking? Twenty minutes is not enough. Especially when you end up talking quilting to docents and the guard. They weren’t quilters so it was a great opportunity to share my enthusiasm.
|Made sometime in the 1940′s in Alabama|
These are the only pictures that came out halfway decently with my little camera. I’ll be going back to get the exhibition catalog and will be able to show you more in another post. There are some really great quilts in this group.
|Made sometime in the 1930′s in Alabama|
I was telling the docents I felt this was more of a testament to women and the way they care for their families and loved ones than it was of the quilting tradition. All of these quilts were made by African American women to be used in their homes. They were functional but they were also full of heart and soul. They used what they had on hand and they put their own signature on it with the designs they worked in fabric and thread.
|Made sometime in the 1940′s in Alabama|
Each of these quilts is a story. A snapshot of a particular family at a particular time in their history. The stories may be lost but the snapshot remains. Each a tribute to one woman and her struggles to care for those she loved.
If you live in the area, or close enough to make a day trip of it, go visit the Mingei. You’ll be inspired.
Yesterday I spent a few hours walking around the Park. I actually did remember to take my camera. However, I didn’t get any pictures of the park because I was so busy chatting with my niece and playing with her new puppy. Which I know is disappointing to Carolina. So….this morning, I went back. This time I walked a different section of the Park. The succulent garden faces due east so the morning sun was strong. It lit up the aloes like a candelabra.
If you look closely you see small plants fighting their way up to the light, competing with their bigger neighbors. Their slender stalks reach high and in the case of the one above, are decorated in stripey finery.
Others wear golden gems on their thorny crowns. These are the types of plants that thrive here in our arid environment. We’re lucky to have a lot of variety living in a Mediterranean climate, but some of the most prevalent plants in our landscape require a lot of water. Not so the succulents and the cacti who have the added benefit of their unusual shapes and visual impact.
After leaving the garden and walking back over Park Blvd., I went past the Natural History Museum where these two cats stand guard over the entrance. I love their shadows on the wall.
The ornaments on the Casa del Prado Theater looked more interesting than usual in the morning light. But I didn’t tarry long. Instead, I went past Spanish Village where many different artists have studios. It was far too early for them to be set up so I have no pictures of the colorful plaza. I continued on to the Zoo hoping to beat all the Girl Scout Troops who were organizing in the parking lot. By the time I made my rounds, they were just heading into Elephant Odyssey.
And because it was early and the Girl Scouts were not yet on the loose, I got to spend some time quietly visiting with this guy. He was waiting right by the edge of his enclosure as I came up the hill. The stripes mesmerized me. (And made me want to get sewing with some Sis Boom zebra.)
The caribou and polar bears were out and moving around but there weren’t any photo ops for them.
By far, the best part of my zoo walk was the lions. They were out and being fed breakfast by their keepers. The lions stay inside the enclosure which is made of heavy duty chain link. The keepers are on the outside of the chain link forming meat into balls and pushing it through the fence directly into the lions mouths. The lions are very well behaved while this happens, lying calming with their feet folded in front of them. Better behaved than a lot of dogs, or even children, at feeding time. Unfortunately, due to bad lighting and lots of strollers and chain link fencing obstructing the view, I have no pictures.
But I got a chance to talk to the keepers, which is always a treat. The male is being trained for a tail grab–meaning he lets them grab his tail and poke it with a blunt object. Of course, he is rewarded with beef heart or some other suitable treat for this. The purpose is to allow him to have blood drawn without having to be drugged. I thought a seven year old lion might be too old to teach something like a tail grab but the keeper said he is still quite trainable.
I don’t think I could get cat my geriatric cat to let me do a tail grab on him. Obviously, he’s not as well behaved as those big cats.
That’s been my day so far. And I have to thank Carolina for demanding some pictures. Because I might otherwise have stayed inside on this glorious morning. Thanks, Carolina!