"One of the most delightful things about a garden is the anticipation it brings."

Monday, September 6, 2010

Remembering the sun in Mission San Juan Capistrano.

I so wanted to take pictures of the garden this weekend, but the constant rain has made it impossible today.  I guess I'll save that for another day.  Instead I decided to share some pictures from a beautiful place we visited on our recent trip to Southern California.  Just north of where we stayed is one of the Catholic Missions called Mission San Juan Capistrano.  I remembered going there when I was really young with my family and thought it would be an interesting place to show my family.  
In California there are 21 Spanish missionaries.  San Juan Capistrano was established in 1776.  Not only was the mission full of history, but it was also full of beautiful gardens.  I don't remember the gardens from when I was a child visiting.  Knowing how I was, it was probably the gift shop that interested me the most back then. 
Included in the entrance fee is a headset that gives a guided tour to the mission.

 It was a beautiful day when we visited, so sunny and warm.  These planters of various Cacti lined the outside of the Mission.  Many of them were blooming or had buds.

 While we were paying I noticed a sign that called attention to the plantings for birds and butterflies.  As we walked into the mission this is what we were greeted with.  I can't even begin to guess how many varieties of butterflies were flying everywhere.  The only time I've ever seen that many has been inside butterfly houses in exhibits at the zoo.

 There was a beautiful large raised lily pond.  I wish I had taken a picture of the whole thing.  It was full of lily blooms.

 It was also full of very friendly large Koi.  They would come splashing up to any visitor that came close to the side.

 I think if I ever move to a warmer zone I would use the plantings here as inspiration.  Pictures can't capture the beauty of it.

 The buildings are full of history.  I love the beautiful Spanish architecture.

 On the other side of the Mission was this lush area which had many trees for shade.  Another raised pond is behind the people.

 One of the cactus gardens.

 The second lily pond.  I had to keep stopping so I could take in the beauty of this place.  Of course my kids by now were asking about where the gift shop was.

 Beautiful Water lilies which I'm guessing are a tropical variety that wouldn't grow for me.  There was also a vegetable and herb garden and an amazing grape arbor.  They are all used for educational purposes.

 This altar was brought from Spain 300 years ago.  The Serra chapel (named for Father Juniperro Serra who established the Mission) is still used.

These are the ruins from the Great Stone Church that was badly damaged during an earthquake while mass was taking place in 1812.  It is a historical landmark and one of the oldest building on the West Coast.

I did see that there are garden tours that take place here, which one day I would love to be able to go on.   For more information on the history of San Juan Capistrano go here
Just looking back at these pictures reminds me of how good the sun felt that day.  I think it will be a long while before we see that type of weather again. 
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  1. I think I could spend hours there just taking it all in. I know you had to enjoy yourself.

    I can't get over that elaborate altar. My goodness!

    Sorry you are receiving so much rain. Feel free to send some down here.

  2. Thanks for posting these wonderful pictures of the beautiful gardens there. That deep blue sky is just gorgeous! I had to chuckle when you came back around to your kids wondering where the gift shop was, just like you when you were younger.

    I think I read somewhere that water lilies that stand up above the water, or that are blue/lavender, are always tropical.

  3. When I was a child, this was the favorite mission to visit,always anticipated,(I was a Catholic kid) and lunch in town included. In the 50's SJC seemed like a distant planet-in my child view it took forever to get there from LA.. I've been to many but this remains my favorite.

  4. That's a lovely garden in an otherwise dry and dreary setting. The photos are good too. thanks.

  5. Beautiful photos, but I long to see some rainy day photos too! I know, weird right? Sorry, but I'm drying up out here in Vegas. LOL

  6. Thanks for sharing these pretty pictures. Larry & John visited there in early May. I think the raised ponds are beautiful. I hope you get the chance to visit again. It sure looks like a perfect day when you visited; the sky is so blue. Have a nice week.

  7. Dear Catherine, I am so very sorry that you have been thwarted by rain in your own garden - so very annoying when one wishes to get things done. However, it has been most enjoyable and interesting for me to visit, through your images, such a beautiful place and one which, otherwise, I should in all probability never see.

  8. What a beautiful place. It still has an aura of peace and prayerfulness, even from the photographs.

  9. This is all so beauriful !! i like that garden !! and owww my that butterfly picture.......wonderful !! happy day darling thanks for sharing..............love Ria......

  10. What a beautiful place! I'd love to visit it some time. Your descriptions make the place come alive.

  11. What a beautiful place, thanks for the tour...hoping you have a ray of sunshine across your face...

  12. Your pictures did a mighty good job displaying the beauty. Wow on the gardens!!!

  13. Wonderful photos ~ I especially like the Koi fish! Cute!

    xo Catherine

  14. What amazing plants and buildings. I could wander around there for hours. Thank you for sharing your photos.

  15. Looks like a great place to take pictures and take in so many pretty colors and flowers. Thanks for the tour.

  16. I feel your rain pain, my garden is wet! Love what you posted though, visiting other gardens and sidewalk plantings is a favorite activity. You found a beautiful warm place to visit.

  17. Beautiful gardens Catherine. Their pond looks almost as good as yours!


  18. Incredible gardens...thanks for sharing!!

  19. How lovely to see this again. I visited it in 1983 with a very dear Californian second cousin, now sadly passed away. I remember the swallows flitting all around.

  20. Wonderful pictures. The lilies and Koi are my favorite. Sorry this past weekend was a rainy one but thanks for posting this in it's place.

  21. Incredible!!! What a shot in the arm for me today. We would always go there when I was a kid growing up in that part of CA. I remember the magic of those deeply shaded arched walkways and the sun on the crumbling old stucco. The gardens are amazing! I have pics of my sister and me with butterflies on our heads! It;s a wonderful place and yes the swallows do return in droves.


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