Wilderness Gardens~

The Holler is surrounded by thousands of acres of pristine, reserved-riparian backcountry habitat. One such nearby preserve is the 737 acre Wilderness Gardens that we visit often for hiking and picnicking.
(Please click to enlarge).
The area was home to Luiseno Indians for thousands of years and grinding stones can be found with a careful eye. Today the preserve is located between the present day Pala and Pauma Indian Reservations.
Settlers moved into the area in the 1800’s, and a grist mill was built in 1881.
In the 1950’s, the publisher of the Los Angeles Daily News bought the property and filled it with flowers and gardens, including 1000 Camellia trees, his wife’s favorite flower.
The ponds were created by damming the creek to provide irrigation for his gardens.
The preserve has returned mostly to it’s natural state, but the ponds remain and are filled with beautiful, nesting, aquatic birds, some quite exotic.
The first ducklings have hatched!
Beautiful evidence of the old gardens remain.
Soon the nesting bird’s broods will be hatching, and it is always a thrill to see the fluffy hatchlings venture out for their first pond swim. I’ll try and get you some snaps!
Cheers to you from the always peaceful and quite Zen-like, Wilderness Gardens Preserve.

148 thoughts on “Wilderness Gardens~

  1. What an absolutely beautiful place! I love the juxtaposition of nature and history, ancient and not-so-ancient. It reminded me of a recreation park near a city I used to live in, and I thought I’d share a link with you:
    It, too, has a history of being owned at one stage by an important family and then returning to its natural state. I have a friend who lives nearby and loves exploring the old ruins. It’s quite interesting, walking in the park and finding a gully of roses amidst the very different Australian flora!
    Thank you for sharing these beautiful pictures.

    1. I REALLY want to go back to Australia! The koala of course is the clincher. Two weeks in Australia was totally insuffiecient! I did love exploring there though and your link brought back good memories. The Blue Mountains reminded me of home as did lots of OZ until I saw a bird, or a Wallaby or a Kangaroo! Laughing……Thank you for your oh so kind comment!

      1. Thank you. To seeing something beautiful and attractive or any other experience through my senses, I feel some reaction inside me. Iโ€™m simply honest to that feeling. But I have to be very careful. Otherwise people think Iโ€™m naughty.

  2. You are a generous soul to take the time to document and share such beauty with us. Looks like a good place to renew your soul with contemplation.

  3. what a fantastic resource to have ‘next-door’ Cindy, thanks for sharing your beautiful wilderness, love the birds and flowers, and the old stone wall … are there any remaining Luiseno people?

    1. Yes! The name Luiseno was given to the native people living around the San Luis Rey River and Mission by Spanish missionaries. They refer to Southern California indigenous people, many of whom now live in many local reservations, including Pala, Pauma, Pechanga, Rincon, Soboba and the La Jolla. Many of these ‘Mission Indian’ people were frocibly relocated during the Mission era and died from overwork and disease from enforced contact with the Missionaries, which is why I never use the term ‘Mission Indian’ to refer to them, although others do.

  4. Nature does seem to strip down what we do. Just leaving a few artifacts. Reminding us that we are only a moment in time. I always like this blog because it has something to say, even in pictures. Rock on. :star:

    1. Oh, people like you make blogging rewarding! I love how nature shows us that we are just a small but important part of a very big whole. Thank you for articulating this so well~

  5. Cindy, your posts are always so beautiful, the history and the area are magnetizing. I can feel it pulling me each time I see your photos – and I would love to be there. Each time I finish I can hardly wait until the next photos and story comes to life before me. Thank you for sharing your world.
    Susan x

    1. This makes me feel wonderful and it is incredibly thoughtful of you. It is so encouraging that these photos bring up this reaction in you and motivates me to keep clicking! Thank you and cheers to you~

  6. As always, your photos are breathtakingly beautiful, Cindy! I’m so glad this magnificent place is being preserved. And oh, how I would love to see all those Camellia trees in bloom!

    1. The camellias are no longer there. They required irrigation which has been discontinued. I can’t even imagine how beautiful 1000 camellias would be! The owner planted over 100,000 ornamental plants in the preserve. The preserve is mostly returned to it’s natural state which I am happy about, but I too would have loved to see the gardens in their hey-day!

  7. Beautiful preserve! I love that old water wheel! All your pics are gorgeous I have a hard time picking a favorite! It’s fun to hear about its history too! I’m glad you shared it!! Hugz Lisa and Bear

  8. That’s a wild and romantic place to visit through your glorious photographs.
    It reminds me a little of walking in the wilds of Scotland where a herb or flower would indicate that there had once been a steading there before the Clearances.

    1. I didn’t know that flowers meant that in the highlands! Thank you for telling me. It is time for me to return to the UK. Been discussing this with the hubby and we must return to Scotland too! I’m part Scot afterall. Cheers to you and thank you~

  9. Amazing sites in your world! It must be wonderful to know Mtn Lions and Bobcats are so close by. I look forward to seeing those snaps of fluffy hatchlings if you can manage to get any ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Yes we see mountain lion tracks fairly regularly and have caught bob cats on the critter cam. But I have never directly seen a mountian lion and I would love too!! The hatchlings I have a better shot at!! Cheers to you my friend & thank you too~

  10. Thank you, as the wind howls, the gray skies obscure the sun, and snowflakes threaten — your photos were a balm to my soul. ๐Ÿ˜€ Peace.

    1. I am so sorry about your endless winter. It is uncanny and must be getting on your nerves big time! I am so glad the glimpses of green helped. Here’s hoping spring comes to you SOON!

  11. Dear Cindy,
    I’m in awe!
    Thank you for sharing these images.
    It’s like you’re a special “Fairy Friend”.
    It’s inspiring!

    1. Laughing!! You are the special fairy friend ma deah’……I feel just the same about your joy and color-filled posts! So glad to have connected with you here in blogville. You brighten my day! ๐Ÿ˜Ž

    1. Hokkaido is so beautiful and your shots are stunning! My kids were there during a huge typhoon and took photos of themselves on a suspension bridge which they emailed to me giving me a panic attack! Laughing…..
      I definitely have Japan on my bucket list coming up soon!

    1. Exactly!!! There is a 80% chance of another rain storm and my fingers are crossed. It just rained in NoCal. We are still in a drought and the rain water sucks into the soil instantly, but the rain is an unbelieveable relief. Thanks for noticing~

      1. You capture the spirit of the living things in your pictures so I can see their joy in long awaited moisture:-) most city-humans seem oblivious to drought (unless they get a ticket for watering grass and street on the wrong day! ) but when you have a relationship with the land and living beings around you its hard not to notice and care. I will keep praying for the rain!

  12. a brilliant pictorial. From the ‘establishing” long shots, to bringing me right into all the wonder–a story in words. (no rewriting necessary!) The lake shot is a favorite, the ripples are so whimsical and echo life beautifully.

    1. WOO HOO! I am finally hearing from my eastern friends that spring has arrived!!! About time and just imagine how exuberant the flowers will be! They always are the best after the hardest winters~

  13. Beautiful spot Cindy! How lucky you are to have it nearby. Can’t help but think of the native Americans and how they must have felt when one person was allowed to own it.

    1. Oh these are my thoughts always. I drop in a sentence or three about places all over the west, “this place was home to the (fill in the blank) Native Americans for thousands of years.” I can’t even imagine the despair at losing your ancestral home that your people protected for thousands of years to people who squander and wreck it. Terrible.

    1. So typical of me. I originally put in the wrong photo! Only changed it way after the fact, so you are one of the very few who saw the right photo! Laughing. So happy you noticed it!!

    1. Nature so kicks butt over civilization anyday. Now when my husband and I actually drive to town, we refer to it as “going to civilization,” not in a happy way! Laughing!

    1. Well I can partially answer, the last is an African Iris, the blue is lavendar and the pink I have no idea!! Laughing. Hopefully another blogger will see this and tell us. So happy you love the wild places too! Cheers to you~

  14. This is so beautiful, Cindy! It is a true paradise to see through your photography! I think it is a place of blessings, nature, feelings of tranquility and peacefulness. You imparted these blessings to us today! Thank you so much! Sincerely, Robin

  15. So wonderful to see this heavenly place has returned mostly to itโ€™s natural state. All photos are exquisite! Love the Iris. Thank you, Cindy!

  16. Thank you for the utterly gorgeous images of nature you share here Cindy! Absolutely spectacular. All are lovely, but I especially love that close up of a white bird. Other than the color it looks like a heron (having seen many Great Blue’s). Whatever it is, that photo is wonderful. Thanks again for sharing your talented eye with us here. Cheers, Gina

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