San Diego is at the southern end of California: you can see Mexico easily. Given that location, it has mild southern winters. It is also a very dry climate since southern California is almost desert. What rain they get falls in the winter. All of which makes a "Mediterranean climate," very like the climate of southern Italy and Spain.
And a terrific place to escape to in winter.
Here are impressions of a recent trip to San Diego:
Those "trees" are hibiscus--see flowers on top?--blooming in January
If you look beyond the hibiscus, the city, seen from Coronado Island
Balboa Park! I thought it was a park--you know, shade trees, lawn and paths--but its a green city center with all kinds of things to see and do. I saw the art museum, the Japanese garden and the conservatory and made a list for next time.
San Diego also has
all kinds of boating and
and long beaches to walk,
but for me, especially, subtropical plants and flowers
bottlebrush (Callistemon sp., Myrtaceae), from Australia,
bird of paradise flower (Strelitzia reginae, Strelitziaceae) from South Africa,
and palms from around the world (palm family Arecaceae) (note the tall one hiding in background).
Also flowering in the middle of Northern Hemisphere winter were geraniums (genus Pelargonium, Geraniaceae). Geraniums (pelargoniums) can be found in tropical regions around the world. The common cultivars are mostly from southern Africa.
Here's an intensely purple ageratum (Ageratum, Asteraceae) growing in a flower box. They're from Central America.
This plant with the white flowers is an immense jade plant (Crassula ovata, Crassulaceae), from South Africa. Usually I see them indoors in a pot where they are not even a quarter of that size and rarely flowering.
People have brought beautiful plants from all over the world to San Diego, where they flourish.
And look--something people didn't bring--a monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus)! It is spending the winter in San Diego. That is, in fact, what butterflies of the western monarch butterfly population do--migrate to southern California until spring. The plant is probably a yellow variety of the tropical milkweed, Asclepias curissavica, native to South America but widely planted.
San Diego is definitely a wonderful place for a winter escape!
Comments and corrections welcome
Kathy Keeler, A Wandering Botanist
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You might also like these blog posts:
Hibiscus - link
Bird of paradise - link
Mallorca, subtropical Europe link