Orange Grove

Fragrant Orange Groves in Redlands, California

Orange Grove

Tales of fragrant citrus orchards have drawn me to citrus towns around the world such as Sorrento, Italy and Mallorca, Spain but it was in my home state of California that the city of Redlands delivered on the promise. Did you know that the city of Redlands was once the hub of the largest orange-producing region in the world with over 15,000 acres of citrus groves? Upon stepping out of my car in 'Early Redlands Historic Read More

sweet pea garden

Sweet Pea Gardens Will Brighten Your Day

sweet pea garden

Light and delicate, sweet pea flowers (Lathyrus odoratus) were discovered in the 17th century by Italian monk Father Francis Cupani who was traveling through the Sicilian countryside. Sweet pea flowers' pronounced yet delicate fragrance means that they are excellent for perfuming a room, and are often prettiest when placed in a simple mason jar. If you had any wonder of their scent, just think of honey sometimes with a dash of Read More

The Rose Garden includes a large collection of beautiful David Austin English Roses like these. Aren't they stunning?

South Coast Botanic Garden, Palos Verdes

The Rose Garden includes a large collection of beautiful David Austin English Roses like these. Aren't they stunning?

Palos Verdes in Los Angeles is home to a lesser-known botanic garden that is quite the hidden gem, especially in spring and summer. The 87-acre property with 2,500 species of plants from all over the world particularly excels in California native plants, many of which have colorful blooms year-round. The most notable highlights of a day at the South Coast Botanic Garden include: Small but stunning Dahlia Garden with an Read More

Close Up Wild Poppies

California Poppy Flower Super Bloom

Close Up Wild Poppies

What an incredible display of California poppies at Walker Canyon in Lake Elsinore! I arrived early in the morning with only a few people in sight and the poppies mostly closed. Scattered patches of tiny blue and purple wildflowers found their home among the poppies, which really made it feel like I had stepped into a Monet painting. With the sun bearing down as I made my way up into the hills, the poppies began opening before Read More

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Morning Retreat at Kauai’s Hindu Monastery

Kauai_Hindu_Monastery-8794-2

One could say that visiting Kauai is a spiritual experience. Just being on the island really is a breath of fresh air for the mind, body and spirit. Among Kauai's abundant hidden gems is a (very) quietly tucked away Hindu Monastery and for me, no Kauai trip is complete without a morning there. While it's not a touristy place, all visitors are welcome to benefit from the peaceful and spiritual settings whether for reflection, Read More

Arched bridge at the Japanese Garden

Descanso Gardens

Arched bridge at the Japanese Garden

Tucked away in Los Angeles is the dreamy 150-acre public botanical garden known as Descanso Gardens. Their famed Camellia collection is the largest in North America and the gardens are also home to the remainder of a magical oak tree forest that once consumed the entire region. This spring their Japanese Garden offered cherry trees in full bloom and a sprawling lilac garden with amazingly fragrant blooms. I thought you'd enjoy Read More

Spring on the Blossom Trail 03_sq

Spring on California’s Blossom Trail

Spring on the Blossom Trail 03_sq

I recently visited the San Joaquin Valley in Central California (near Fresno) to photograph the hundreds of acres dedicated to fruit orchards known as "The Blossom Trail". Other than a small pack of adorable little 'watch dogs', the only company I had was the chirping birds and industrious bees. It was one of the prettiest mornings I can remember... the fragrance of honey in the air and flower petals covering the floor. Not to Read More

group of trekkers in Chiang Mai

Why Trek in Chiang Mai, Thailand

group of trekkers in Chiang Mai

If you've spent any time in Chiang Mai, your visit was undoubtedly memorable. Though the city has an incredible amount of things to see and do, trekking is the number one thing that draws visitors. You'll find tour companies on almost every corner who offer multi-day trekking tours into the mountains of northern Thailand for a chance to experience authentic hill tribe cultures. There are some things I wish I had done Read More

Pink lotus flower macro

Sea of Sacred Lotus Flowers in Los Angeles

Pink lotus flower macro

I recently visited the lotus flowers at Echo Park Lake in Los Angeles, a place I have happy memories of as a kid. For those of us who love flowers, this is a bit of a dream come true, especially in such an accessible and non-exotic location. The flowers are so beautiful, it's a bit surreal. Hundreds of blooms in white, pink and yellow frame your view of the lake in every direction, with ducks and paddle boats providing that Read More

Skagit-best-tulip-festival-red-yellow-residence-tulip-fields

Tiptoe Through the Tulips

Skagit-best-tulip-festival-red-yellow-residence-tulip-fields

This spring I made it to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival in Washington state, a must-see experience for anyone who loves nature. If you are doing a road trip in April, make sure this is on your list! Important note to Vancouver residents: it's only a 2 hour drive from Vancouver and is well worth the trip. Keep reading, because this isn't just a springtime getaway. I arrived there on a Friday afternoon in mid April (zero Read More

Mt Fuji at sunset

Beautiful Trip to Mt Fuji and Hot Springs

Mt Fuji at sunset

An unforgettable getaway from Tokyo that offers stunning views of Mount Fuji, this destination is an exceptional one. The town is Hakone (haw-cone-ay) and its centuries-old hot springs (onsen) are located in the volcanically active Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park. Onsen are very popular across Japan and are a longtime fixture in Japanese culture. The number of Hakone visitors continues to grow while the number of visitors to Read More

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Secret Garden on the Island of Kauai

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The Hawaiian island of Kauai bears some of the most lush and vibrant surroundings in the world, which is the main reason I visit as often as possible. While the island's south shore is home to the popular and gorgeous McBride and Allerton Botanical Gardens, I wanted to share a secret about some lesser known gardens. Ones which I prefer because nobody else is there and I can make believe that they are my own secret Read More

vancouver chinese garden

Voted #1 Best City Garden – Vancouver Chinese Garden

vancouver chinese garden

Located in Vancouver's Chinatown, minutes from the hustle and bustle of downtown, is an oasis that is the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Chinese Gardens. Local residents are lucky to have such a gem nearby. Classical chinese gardens in history have been a place for reflection and escape from the outside world, and this garden is no exception.  Why Visit the Garden? Named after the first President of the China Republic, the garden was built Read More

Suzette at manoa falls jungle hike

Amazing Secret Jungle Hike in Honolulu, Hawaii

Suzette at manoa falls jungle hike

The Manoa Falls Trail will take you through dense jungle that is lush with a shady canopy, bamboo forest and huge trees that will make you feel like you are in a jurassic park movie (minus the dinosaurs). The movie Jurassic Park was actually filmed in this area! Just 1.6 miles up you'll see Manoa Falls, a beautiful 150 foot waterfall and pool (no swimming allowed). The trail has a slight incline and can be muddy, so dress Read More

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Kyoto’s Golden Gem: Kinkakuji Temple

kyoto-travel-golden-temple-pavilion-kinkakuji-on-the-pond

Kinkakuji, Temple of the Golden Pavilion, is a Zen Temple in the ancient Japanese city of Kyoto whose top two floors are entirely covered in gold leaf. It is designated as a National Special Historic Site and is one of the Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto World Heritage Site. The view was perhaps the most awe-inspiring sight on my visit to Kyoto. Beyond that is an education and immersion into one of the world's best Read More

Vancouver cherry blossoms

Best Cherry Blossom Festivals Around the World

Vancouver cherry blossoms

Having just returned from Japan, I was pretty excited to show you some amazing cherry blossom festivals around the world. But who says there has to be a festival?! Check out Smithsonian's list of where to see the best cherry blossoms around the world. Vancouver B.C. Cherry Blossom Festival The celebration runs through the month of April and it's hard to go anywhere in the city without seeing some of their 40,000 ornamental Read More

vancouver cherry blossom_sq

Springtime in Vancouver, Canada

vancouver cherry blossom_sq

Last week saw the arrival of Spring and today was my first chance to explore in and around Stanley Park. I thought you might enjoy the view too! If you are interested in the birds of British Columbia, there is a BC-based nature photographer named Liron whom you should meet. He takes incredible photos of birds and he offers both guided tours and photography workshops. Sometimes he takes people on a Read More

Lower Waterfall Multnomah Falls Bridge Portland Road Trip

Multnomah Falls – A Natural Wonder

Lower Waterfall Multnomah Falls Bridge Portland Road Trip

West Coast Road Trip (continued) Just 35 minutes to the east from Portland, you don't want to miss Multnomah Falls. It's a breathtaking, dramatic waterfall on the Columbia River Gorge. It is the second tallest year-round waterfall in the United States, at a total height of 620 ft (or 189 meters). The source of the water is underground springs from Larch Mountain, augmented by melting snow and rainwater throughout the Read More

Portland Test Rose Garden Striped Rose 2

Experimental Beauty – Rose Test Garden, Portland

Portland Test Rose Garden Striped Rose 2

West Coast Road Trip (continued) Portland's International Rose Test Garden is different than most other public gardens. It's primary purpose is as a testing ground for new rose varieties and it is the oldest rose testing program of it's kind in the United States. The Garden cares for over 10,000 plants of 500 varieties. For almost one hundred years, the city of Portland, Oregon is the only North American city to give an Read More

Crater Lake Oregon_Road trip snow caps

The Jewel of Central Oregon – Crater Lake

Crater Lake Oregon_Road trip snow caps

West Coast Road Trip (continued)   On my road trip from Los Angeles to Portland Oregon, Crater Lake wasn't exactly on the way but I heard it was not to be missed. Never were truer words stated. Knowing nothing about Crater Lake before I got there, I truly didn't know what to expect. Traveling up 2000 feet on snowy mountains in the middle of July is the last thing I expected. I was like a giddy 6 year old seeing the Read More