Global Garden Walks in San Diego Botanic Garden

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Take a Garden Walk Around the World!

By Lisa D. Smith and Nancy J. Reid


Interview on Big Blend Radio with Julian Duval, Executive Director of San Diego Botanic Garden in Encinitas, California. There are a variety of gardens representing plants from all over the world as well as local California native plants, an interactive children’s garden, art sculptures, and much more.

Boasting four miles of trails that wander through 29 different garden types, San Diego Botanic Garden is a plant lover’s paradise that spans over 37 acres, and is home to almost 4,000 plant varieties from all over the world! How is this possible? Location, location, location. Nestled within a little inland corridor in Encinitas, the Garden gets to enjoy the mild and coastal climate of Southern California, while sustaining a diverse topography that provides a wide variety of microclimates. Within an hour’s walk, the landscape can change from one of a lush tropical rainforest to a dramatic desert of blooming cactus – an incredible and changing experience, and one you will want to keep returning to!

“Beauty surrounds us, but usually we need to be walking in a garden to know it.” Rumi

Yes, you can take a garden walk around the world, and you can plan all kinds of walking adventures according to the various garden exhibits and your schedule, but before we “go global”, let us first “go local” and check out the Garden’s California exhibits. From water-wise gardening to native plants, the California gardens share tips on sustainability as well as understanding local cultural heritage and natural habitats.

Providing a look at the native plants used by the Kumeyaay, the area’s earliest inhabitants, the Native Plant & Native People Trail leads you through coastal sage scrub, maritime chaparral and riparian wetland plant communities. The trail will take you to a quiet pond area, and also show you a Kumeyaay homesite. Looking for ocean views? A walk to the Overlook Natural Area through even more Southern California native habitats, will reward you with views of the beautiful Pacific Ocean, courtesy of the free telescope at the top. If you are a local gardener, two things are important to you: fire safety and water waste. Both the California Gardenscapes and Landscape for Fire Safety exhibits are important and informative walks to take.

Now let’s start our walk around the world with our neighbors in Mexico. One of the favorite and most photographed attractions at the San Diego Botanic Garden, are the Mexican Garden’s life size topiaries featuring Senoritas and Mariachis, which are grown from all kinds of succulents. Traveling further on our Global Garden Walk takes us on a water-wise plant experience through Australia and New Zealand, across Africa and Central America, and out to the Canary Islands and the Mediterranean.

Other international garden highlights include the exotic and dramatic Bamboo Garden (America’s largest public bamboo collection), the New World and Old World Desert Gardens, Subtropical Fruit Garden and Tropical Rainforest Garden, and Palm Canyon. Let’s not forget the Bird & Butterfly Garden, Herb Garden, Lawn Garden and Lawn House Garden, Olive Tree Garden, Walled Garden and various Succulent Gardens. And for the kids, there’s the unique interactive Hamilton Children’s Garden and Seeds of Wonder Children’s Garden.

The natural beauty at the San Diego Botanic Garden also provides the perfect setting for the annual display of 40+ sculptures. There is something wonderful waiting for visitors here. No matter which area of the garden you are in, whether you are young or young at heart, with others or walking alone, you will want to visit again.

The San Diego Botanic Garden, formerly Quail Gardens, is open 364 days a year from 9 am to 5 pm with extended hours to 8 pm on Thursdays during summer. For more information, including special events and guided tours, visit

JIGSAW PUZZLE: Watch our Big Blend Video “60 Seconds of a #OneHourWalk – San Diego Botanic Garden,” and then enjoy piecing together this online jigsaw puzzle while listening to the Big Blend Radio interview with Julian Duval, Executive Director of San Diego Botanic Garden. Use the full screen icon to make it easier. Use your mouse roller or arrow keys to rotate the puzzle pieces and click and drag to put the pieces in place. Use the Image Icon to see the picture and the Ghost Icon to set your workspace.

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