Traveling with kids slows you down quite a bit, but we are learning to settle into a rhythm with Juniper as our regular traveling partner. This time our travels took us to southern California, a couple days of which were spent in sunny San Diego.

sd-waterplayAn excellent, kid-friendly outing was spent at the San Diego Botanical Gardens. They have a fabulous Children’s Garden that includes a trickling stream where the kids can cool down on a hot afternoon. Amazing how just a little water can make a place feel so much cooler.


They also have a treehouse that looks absolutely wild! Ropes and plants are tangled up into this whimsical, nature-based adventureland.


While Juniper was spending time with her cousin exploring the Children’s Garden, I was dashing through the various gardens oogling plants. Lots, and lots, of plants.


I suppose the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, but I found myself drooling over the stunning SoCal plant palette. My mind always races to the Blue Flame Agave when I think of this region.


And the succulents? Oh gosh… don’t even get me started. They covered rooftops, filled windowboxes and spilled into paths.


I’m convinced every San Diego residence needs a huge, unglazed ceramic pot greeting visitors at the entrance packed with a stately cactus grouping. The geometry looks so formal and this has to be one of the lowest low-maintenance container ideas ever.


Cannas were around every corner all over San Diego, were they thrive. I don’t dare grown them at home in Portland because they are just-barely/not-quite hardy enough (depending on who you ask) for our climate.


Some of the trees in the gardens were so ancient looking, like this Mysore Fig. The fruit isn’t worth eating on this particular tree, which instead prized for it’s large, glossy foliage.


Not every plant was well marked, like this white succulent with red-hot tips.


And Dr. Seuss-like trees popped up around corners like an unexpected jokester.


The other highlight of our short visit was spending an evening on the beach with loved ones. We let our kids run around together exploring the sand and shrieking with delight.


The water was just warm enough for learning how to jump waves. And watching the sunset with surfers bobbing up and down on the waves was magical.


We didn’t see most of what the city had to offer, but we savored what we saw with Juniper. I can’t wait to show you more pictures in my next post about the edible plants of San Diego and our trip into the desert of Joshua Tree.


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Written by Renee Wilkinson