Saturday, March 28, 2015

Gallery of Photos: Santa Barbara Trees and Flowers

Santa Barbara has a rather rare distinction of being geographically located in a Mediterranean climate just where temperate meets tropical. So it has a fabulous mix of the two horticultures.  To say nothing of an ideal climate.

Common among its trees are eucalyptus, pepper trees, palms, sycamores, olives, and coast live oaks.  One street in the middle of town hosts magnificent Italian Stone Pines from seeds brought from the Riviera in 1908.

And this particular Moreton Bay Fig (below), planted in 1876, an Australian evergreen banyan, is the largest in the U.S.

Moreton Bay Fig

This may be what's called a dragon tree (from the Canary Islands)

Everyone knows the palm

Trunk of an old pepper tree ...

... and its upper branches

As for flowers, jasmine, wisteria, and Bird of Paradise abound.  There's the tropical Hoya (look it up; it's jewel-like).  Cup of Gold flowers.  The South American Puya.  Yucca.  Lantana.  Bougainvillea.  Plus everything else, or so it seems.

Cup of Gold


White Jasmine ... oh, the fragrance!

Bird of Paradise

Whatever it is, it's wonderfully jolly.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Gallery of Photos: Santa Barbara's Architectural Style

So which is it?  Mediterranean, a bit of Roman (in the roof tile-work), Spanish Colonial Revival, Mission Revival?  In fact, it's a mix of all.  After suffering a devastating earthquake in 1925 that destroyed much of the historic and commercial area, Santa Barbara decided to rethink its architectural design and start over.  So start over it did, concentrating on a Spanish style.  (And one, I might add, very reminiscent of Seville.)

Santa Barbara was one of the first U.S. towns to initiate ordinances regulating stylistic design ... so much so that it is now called The American Riviera.

Much of both these mission towers came down in 1925 ... with damage in the 1952 quake as well.

Inside the Old Mission's church

The County Court House built after the 1925 earthquake for $2 million dollars.  

The Court House.  I've never seen one to equal it!

After the earthquake this went from being the Arlington Hotel to becoming the Arlington Theater with a glorious ceiling depicting a starry night.

Part of the old Presidio
For those who've been there, doesn't this remind you of St-Remy, France?

Private residences ...


...  these last two, so simple, so attractive.

La Arcada in the heart of town.

El Paseo with its arcades and shops, first built in 1826 as an adobe complex housing the Commandante of the Presidio Royale of Santa Barbara.

Continuing on through El Paseo

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Gallery of Photos: Santa Barbara Scenes

Since I've had no car during my stay in Santa Barbara, I've been walking. I've loved being able to stop where I like, study what's right before me, get out my camera, and take a picture.  I've also loved letting the scene describe the design elements.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Facing West

Growing up on California's shores, I used to feel that this poem was speaking to me ... especially since I wanted to circle the world and connect with the geography Whitman mentions.  As a child here in Santa Barbara, I did indeed stand at the Pacific's edge, at the very edge of the land where I lived--I could go no further--and long to cross that wide ocean, wondering what it would be like to make that far-away part of the world my own for a time.  Lucky me, as the years went on, I did just that.

Now, having been there, I'm back on these same shores celebrating the poem again after so many years.  Of course, seeking a geographical solution is what I might call the literal interpretation.  But there is also the metaphorical one of circling around from childhood to old age.   And, yes, I'm now standing there, as well.

"Facing West from California's Shores"  *  Walt Whitman

Facing west from California's shores,
Inquiring, tireless, seeking what is yet unfound,
I, a child, very old, over waves, towards the house of maternity,
the land of migrations, look afar,
Look off the shores of my Western sea, the circle almost circled;
For starting westward from Hindustan, from the vales of Kashmere,
From Asia, from the north, from the God, the sage, and the hero,
From the south, from the flowery peninsulas and the spice islands,
Long having wander'd since, round the earth having wander'd,
Now I face home again, very pleas'd and joyous,
(But where is what I started for so long ago?
And why is it yet unfound?)

(Note: lists this as being in the public domain which indicates that I can copy this without needing permission.)