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The Chirping of Crickets tells us the warmer weather of summer is well on its way. Their plaintive pleadings for mates are heard wherever bits of semi-natural scenery cut across the urban tapestry of San Diego. Try the Spruce Street suspension footbridge, west of Balboa Park between Front and Brant streets. From the swaying deck of the 70-foot-high bridge you can admire a canyon filled with green and gold grasses, nasturtiums, and eucalyptus, pepper, and palm trees. Sound effects begin by mid-afternoon.

Western Azalea, a native rhododendron, is blooming this month in scattered locations throughout the county's higher mountains. Fond of semi-shade, it's often found growing along creeks and canyon bottoms. Like its ornamental cousins, western azalea's fragrant white (sometimes pink or yellow tinted) flowers are borne in ornate clusters. Palomar Mountain State Park harbors a colony of them alongside a trail linking Doane Valley and Chimney Flats. White-flowering azaleas are recovering along the Azalea Glen Trail in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, the area thoroughly burned during the 2003 Cedar Fire.

The Blooming of Desert Annuals is over, but not so for the stolid desert willows and smoke trees. Rooted to the beds of dry washes throughout Anza-Borrego's lower valleys, both plants gather enough energy this time of year to put on an impressive floral show. The graceful, drooping branches of the desert willow hold fragrant, white blossoms, while the spindly smoke tree exhibits myriads of blue-purple flowers. To avoid the intense midday heat, confine your desert explorations to early morning or early evening. And watch out for bees -- they're attracted to the blossoms, too.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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