Vivian Black: The Rose Garden, it’s relatively peaceful and one can sit and smell the roses. Usually it’s shady and I can park nearby, as I’m not able to walk very far.
Jimbudlove: The area north of the Organ Pavilion.
Cathy Tylka: Balboa Park – I love it all. I love the planted gardens, I love the eucalyptus trees under Laurel Street Bridge, the Succulent Garden, the Rose Garden, and the Botanical Garden. What can I say; it’s one of my favorite places!
Ken: My favorite garden area in Balboa Park is now within the Botanical building or shade house. It seems to be the only area receiving barely adequate attention from the City. It would appear maintenance and care of Palm Canyon, the Alcazar and Desert gardens has been suspended so that the City can squander millions on parties and junkets, and more recently redirect funds to pay for yet another study and welfare for the billionaire owner of the Chargers.
Sylvia Keating: When it’s warm, we like sitting under the trees near the children’s playground; the trees overlook the canyon (with the beautiful California oaks) and new buildings of the Japanese Garden.
Connie Forest: I guess it would have to be the area around the reflecting pond because it holds so many memories and seems to make so many people, of all ages, happy. Everyone seems to slow down as they pass by to other destinations in the park and just take a moment, or many moments to enjoy the ponds, its inhabitants and the surrounding vegetation. What more can you ask of a garden?
Patti Vickery: It has to be the Rose Garden on Park Boulevard. It has received many honors for excellence. It is maintained by the Park gardeners and a volunteer group of Rosarians from the San Diego Rose Society.
Susi Torre-Bueno: Many years our family has a Mothers’ Day picnic at the Marston House garden, setting out food in the shaded patio area. For some reason, despite the popularity of both this holiday and the Park, we’ve never had any trouble parking very close by, and always had the garden pretty much to ourselves. It’s a quiet, peaceful spot, and I’m looking forward to my next visit so I can see the areas that were upgraded and re-planted earlier this year by SDHS volunteers.
John Noble: My favorite part of Balboa Park is La Laguna de las Flores. One hundred years ago this was the original name of the Lily Pond. The harmonious viewing of plants, water, architecture, and sky, creates a sense of peace and awe. Nearly everyone is compelled to take a photo and capture this historic and transient beauty. The sky, the water, the plants, the animals, and the people change moment to moment, while the structure of the Botanical building remains still and strong. Note: San Diego Horticultural Society sponsor Coastal Sage Gardening and Botany for Kids (owned by John Noble) have adopted the Lily Pond Garden in Balboa Part for the centennial celebration of the Panama-California Exposition.
Chris Drayer: My completely unbiased nomination would be the area around the Lily pond that was replanted by the Horticultural Society last year. It was already one of the richer spaces in the Park, being in the center of some of its most popular attractions. The Lily Pond with its colorful Koi and constant parade of visitors provides an animated focal point for the space, and the iconic Botanical Building provides the backdrop. In between was an interesting collection of mature palms, and now, like icing on the cake, is a new mid-layer of colorful, drought appropriate shrubs, succulents and accents. I think Kate Sessions would approve. [Note: Chris is a landscape architect and volunteered his time to create the planting plan for this garden restoration.]
Kathy Puplava: The Balboa Park gardens are like children, it's hard to choose one as a favorite because they are so beautiful at different times of the year: the Desert Garden in winter, the Inez Grant Parker Rose Garden in May. If I had to choose one, then I would have to say the Botanical Building because it is an iconic structure that represents all the gardens in Balboa Park. On a quiet morning with the sun beaming through the lath arches the Botanical Building can be a spiritual experience. [Note: Kathy is our 2015 Horticulturist of the Year and was the first horticulturist hired by Balboa Park.]
Rachel Cobb: So many to choose from. I love them all for various reasons. One area of the Park is more of a collection, but in my mind still a garden, is the plant collections in the Lath house. Visually it is stunning, and when you look at the collection plants aside from the seasonal swap outs you can spend serious time looking at everything. And nice to get in out of the hot sun, too. The ferns are worth the look! Nice cycads, too.