Outdoors Is the Way to Keep Your Sanity Indoors!

by on April 21, 2020 · 2 comments

in Ocean Beach

A lush cascade of colorful flowers drape over the wall. All photos by Kathy Blavatt.

By Kathy Blavatt

2020, the year of the coronavirus, is also the year of record-breaking rain, which could not have come at a better time, in the worst of times.

The rain helps keep us indoors during the storms, and we appreciate the outdoors much more when the sun is out!

An urban jungle fills the yard.

A jungle surrounds me! My very healthy Spring garden is making me very healthy. My daily workout program consists of several hours of heavy-duty weeding, trimming, planting, and turning my huge compost pile. To top it all off, I’ve emptied countless buckets of rain-water into the garden. This routine is working every muscle in my body, which I can feel!

My fresh homegrown vegi-meals are spoiling me. Most restaurant meals may be a disappointment by the time they fully reopen when the lockdown lifts. But it will be enjoyable to sit at a table again and have someone else cook for me.

A salad made from home picked green, with homemade dressing is hard to beat. My new favorite garden drink is my version of nutritious root beer. I make it from “Root Beer Plant,” also called a Mexican Chili plant, which is not a chili plant. I roast the leaves of the Root Beer Plant, then put them into a jug of water, add ginger, a couple of my favorite teas, spices, along with honey and juice as sweeteners. I let it sit for a while, strain out the solids, and add a bit of sparkling water just before serving. It is yummy and refreshing.

Explore the lush green dirt alleyways in Point Loma.

Besides, the enjoyment of cooking, I am getting a chance to explore the neighborhood and check out the plants, which are incredible this year.  I found that some of the dirt alleys in Point Loma are fascinating and full of greenery. Some make you feel like you are out on an old country road with vines growing over old walls and fence, trees hiding the homes and flowers lacing the alley’s edges.

Besides the alleyways, many front yards are showpieces. People are incorporating stone and interesting materials, art pieces, unusual plants, structures, and pots into their gardens. Some of the yards are very organized and designed, while others are free-flow.

Delicate flowers spring up on the staircase, too cute to remove!

My yard tends to be towards free-flowing. After it rains, it looks more like over-flow! Underneath my jungle, there are paths, planter boxes and pots, sitting areas, and vegetable plots. With the current overgrowth, it may take an archeologist to find them!

Walkers stand out front on the sidewalk, looking at my yard, picking out their favorite flowers and plants. They are blown away by the borage of colorful flowers going off.

If I  am out in the garden, I tell them about some of the histories of the unique plants and offer them some starter plants or flowers. I had one couple crumble scented geranium leaf and smell it. I could hear them talking about the wonderful smell as they walked down the block.

I have given away close to a hundred plants in the last couple of months, and as soon as they are gone, new ones sprout up.

Speaking of sprouting up, the walkway just below my property is full of Crown Daisies started from two plants from Sunset Cliffs Natural Park, planted by a neighbor girl two years ago! This species of daisies are beautiful and prolific!

The daisies are back!

I recently viewed Sunset Cliffs Natural Park, from Ladera Street. The daisies on the park’s hillside section grew back in force, even after the workers sprayed the area with pesticides, and years of park volunteers weeded and planted native species.

To top off this year’s ironic scenario, that makes it the “perfect storm,” are the storms.  The endless rainstorms ignited a flurry of invasive species growth, and the coronavirus pandemic caused the closure of the Sunset Cliffs Natural Park, which prevented the native plant volunteers from weeding and taking care of the native plantings.

The police block off entry to Sunset Cliffs Natural Park during pandemic closure.

The good news is pockets of the native plants are still growing and will seed for the coming years. Odds are the park in the future will be a mix of daisies and native plants. Natures compromise for the daisy lovers and the native plant advocates.

A welcome surprise by the city, during the shutdown, was the city’s tree trimmers for the first time, that I’ve seen in sixteen years, trimmed trees in the walkway on the block I live on in Ocean Beach. I observe the workers nicely trim the trees and shrubs hanging over the street and sidewalk. Amazedly they didn’t cut down any trees!

The city during the pandemic has found ways to keep city workers busy by having them guard closed parks and beaches and trim walkways along the streets.

As I keep busy in my yard, I am enjoying the clean air, few noisy jets flying overhead, and lots of open parking and quietness on the street because of the Air B&Bs are empty.

Hopefully, like my garden, rebirth, and growth will replace the old norms and lead us to a healthier greener future.

All photos by Kathy Blavatt.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

thoughtfulbear April 21, 2020 at 12:05 pm

Loved this article – especially all the photos! That lead photo, alone, was a pure tonic for the soul. (Lucky you, folks w/real backyard gardens…) More, pls! :-) Thanks…


Frances O'Neill Zimmerman April 21, 2020 at 6:27 pm

Great photos, Kathy, of your gorgeous wild garden. Loved your brilliant coral-red volunteer springing from building masonry! Another friend, wandering around Mission Hills, sent pix of a house on a steep slope near Vine and Union, planted top to bottom with topiary bushes shaped as if by Edward Scissorhands.


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