Mother Nature

The top ten trees of Balboa Park

History, roots, reverence.

Canary Island pines, Australian tea, Moreton Bay fig, Kauri pine, Calif. juniper, Ilelo palm, dragon tree, elderberry, bunya nunya.

Sharon's Worm World in Ramona makes me feel so good

No eyes, two lungs, five hearts, $25 a bucket.

The road to Sharon’s Worm World is in turn blacktop, gravel, then finally Ramona dirt. Sharon McLaughlan, the worm farm’s founder and namesake, is waiting at the crest of the dusty lane that ends at ...

June brings gloom, crape myrtles, and western azaleas

Overcast on the coast, sizzling temps inland

“June Gloom,” the cool and intermittently overcast conditions likely to dominate the beach and coastal areas through the remainder of this month, mocks the already sizzling temperatures inland. If it weren’t for the ocean’s enormous ...

March, the month of wind and bloom

Look to naked corals, ornamental peach trees, and Anza-Borrego for blossoms

The Anza-Borrego Desert State Park flowers best this month, with peak blooms expected early in the month in low-lying, warm areas like Borrego Valley, the Borrego Badlands, Coyote Canyon, and along Highway S-2 in the ...

Green invasion

Showdown with the bull thistle

What exactly is an invasive plant, and why should we give a rotten rhizome if one crops up in our side yard? Dan Gluesenkamp answers: “One widely accepted definition includes two components: It’s not native ...

Mother Nature

San Diego bug lovers, eucalyptus problems, Carrizo Badlands' beauty, West Nile mosquitos come here, ferret owner rebels

Everybody's Got a Favorite Bug "I asked Bob Parks to name his favorite wasp. Ammophila: after all these years. Perhaps it was her (the wasp Parks was observing was a female) shape that first drew ...


San Diego cactus and iris fans, county bird survey, bees and their keepers, pit bulls good and bad, San Diego's beloved seagulls

The World Is a Cactus The dramatic evolution of evolution. “A cactus will take a bullet just like a person, because of the thickness of their skins and all the water in them.” By Geoff ...

Mother Nature

San Diego pigeon fanciers, best taxidermist, rats, our zoo's panther, San Diego's geology, Project Wildlife's care for oppossums

Marathoners of the Sky Hormones speed pigeons. Today, Hamilton and his “grandson,” John Timmerman, have about 750 pigeons in Jamul, the largest collection in San Diego County. As we sat on the deck of their ...

So far in 2008, San Diego has 23 cases of human West Nile virus

Deadly mosquitoes breed in our urban drool

A few days after an autumn picnic near Los Peñasquitos Lagoon, a local grade-schooler comes down with the flu. Fever, chills, headache, and he can’t bring himself to get out of bed. His mother worries, ...

Balboa Park plantsmen's vision for a green future

The fall of King Eucalyptus

On the morning after one of those record-breaking cold nights this past January, Mike Rasmusson checked on his charges. Rasmusson supervises the Kate O. Sessions Balboa Park Nursery -- the city facility where many of ...

Project Wildlife looks for San Diego neighborhoods to re-locate our nocturnal marsupials.

Our friend the opossum

Shawn Powell and I are driving south on Jackson Drive, carrying three opossums in Powell's Hyundai Santa Fe. Our mission is to liberate them. We could stop and dump them out on the sidewalk, but ...

San Diego Indians built a large cactus barricade where the 94 and 15 now intersect

Serious succulent collectors don't care about flowers

“A cactus will take a bullet just like a person, because of the thickness of their skins and all the water in them.”

San Diego's snails, fruit trees, and water make roof rats feel at home

After a while, the scurrying begins to sound real

Call them what you will — roach-boys, rat-men, rat-catchers, terminators, pest technicians — the fact is that pest inspectors are professional killers.

Our panther in Cat Canyon, near Sun Bear Forest, in the San Diego Zoo

"That pacing-thing just isn't good"

Our fair city does have one black jaguar resident, downtown, in Cat Canyon, near Sun Bear Forest, across from the Hunte Amphitheater, in the San Diego Zoo. He was born October 1992 at Wildlife World Zoo, in Litchfield, Arizona. He weighs as much as I do, about 165 pounds. His name is Orson.

Tom Deméré reads the Rose Canyon Fault, the Elsinore Fault, Julian Schist, Friars Road, Mission Gorge, Fossil Canyon

More or less sudden mountains

Rocks are for climbing, collecting, throwing, building. They're also full of information, if you can read a rock. Scientists who become fluent in rock — geologists — peruse these old, hard texts and interpret them. ...