So, you are lucky enough to reside in San Diego, with its miles of white sand beaches, palm trees, mountains, valleys, and desert splendor? The real question might be to ask if you have enough time to take it all in.
Where it all started
San Diego was the site of the first west coast European landing on what is now the United States in 1542. It was claimed for Spain by the explorer Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo. In 1769, the area now known as San Diego was where the first European settlement, a mission, was established in what was to become the state of California.
San Diego has long been recognized as having one of the most temperate and pleasant year-round climates in the United States. According to usclimatedata.com, average highs in January in the sixties and August in the upper seventies, it's easy to see why people love living in San Diego. Annual precipitation averages around ten to twelve inches and the majority of that falls between December and March.
What's growing in San Diego
The downside of all that beautiful weather is that it classifies the climate as arid, and it can be challenging to get things to grow. Eighty percent of the water in San Diego is imported. As was the case in most of southern California, San Diego County when discovered had a covering of chaparral and coastal sage scrub in the eastern regions. Chaparral is the most frequently seen native plant in San Diego, as standard as pine forests are in the mountains. It is made up of shrubs that are highly resistant to drought and low to the ground flora that are typically under eight feet in height. The resilient evergreen chaparral has adapted to survive in the dry, arid climate, and have persevered through persistent wildfire seasons. Their small leathery leaves and deep roots store water and respond to the slightest rainfall. We should all be so tough.
Looks can be deceiving
When one visits San Diego now, the city is replete with lush greenery and flowering vegetation that makes it the envy of many a horticulturist. The fact is that most of what you see today is not native to the area, but was imported from regions of the world with climatic conditions that are similar. Resident planters of San Diego were responsible for bringing in a great deal of the flora and fauna that is now tied to southern California. For example, palm trees arrived from around the globe to thrive in partnership with the scant native varieties of plants.
Other common imported San Diego vegetation
Drive around the neighborhoods, and you will spot many of these imported beauties that were brought in from a veritable United Nations of worldwide locations:
Bird-of-paradise, succulent ice plants for ground cover, African daisy, jade, and winter flowering aloes.
Italian cypress, rosemary, olives.
North Africa/Canary Islands
Echiums and aeoniums.
Eucalyptus trees and bottlebrush.
Flax (Phormium) and New Zealand tea tree.
Pepper tree (Schinus terebinthifolia) and "California" pepper tree (native to Peru), bougainvillea and the Jacaranda tree (Brazil); pampas grass and lantana.
Hibiscus, camellias, heavenly bamboo.
South Japan to Java
Indian hawthorn (along with varieties of ornamentals).
Century plant (Agave) and many salvias (some plants mentioned only survived because of the water brought in to supplement the area's meager supply).
One of the prime spots to visit in San Diego is Balboa Park. While there you can take in some of the gorgeous greenery we have been talking about while wandering its 1,200 acres. The land for Balboa park was part of a 1,400-acre, scrub-covered parcel that was set aside by city planners back in 1868. Today it is one of the most richly planted urban parks in the U.S., with an abundance of gardens to explore.
The magnificent gardens of Balboa Park:
Inspired by a castle in Spain, it features 7,000 annuals, boxwood hedge borders, and elaborate fountains. While there you must check out the view of the California Tower.
Botanical Building and Reflecting Pool
A remnant of the 1915 World's Fair, the building rank among the biggest of wood lath construction to be found anywhere in the world. Inside are over 2,100 plants, including cycads, ferns, orchids, and many others. Marvel at the aquatic gardens and their water lilies and lotus that bloom spring through fall.
Casa del Rey Moro Garden
Of Moorish design, the building and garden date to 1935 and feature a wishing well that is modeled after one in the Guadalajara Museum of Gardens.
Enjoy 2 ½ acres of succulents and other imported plants that are resistant to drought. The 1,300 plants are known for their unusual shapes and are at peak bloom January through March. The Old Cactus Garden features an array of giant cactus and succulents. Also notable are African and Australian protea.
Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden
This site containing three acres was in 2014 selected to the Great Rosarians of the World Hall of Fame. It contains 1,600 rose plants that represent 130 different varieties. Peak bloom is between April and May.
Japanese Friendship Garden
Created to express the bond between San Diego and sister city Yokohama, Japan. Experience Japanese culture including San-Kei-En garden that illustrates the Water, Pastoral, and Mountain concepts. The design of the 12-acre garden comes from ancient Japanese ideas and allusion and was tailored for San Diego's climate. Also featured is a koi pond, bonsai group, cherry trees and more.
A small, sunken garden that serves as a butterfly garden, including nectar and larval host plants.
Your yard care.
With all there is to see and do in San Diego, your lawn and landscape might not be your priority. Save time by using Lawn Love's lawn services, and go delight in what is known as the "finest city in America.: