Alcazar Garden, Balboa Park
This garden in San Diego's Balboa Park was created as part of the 1935 California Pacific International Exhibition and styled after the gardens at Alcazar Castle in Seville, Spain. The garden is open to the public and best known for its ornamental fountains, decorative pergola, and Moorish tiles in vibrant colors of green, yellow, and turquoise blue. Framed by boxwood hedges, the garden has been planted with 7,000 annuals on display year-round. Within Balboa Park, the Alcazar Garden is located near the House of Charm and the Sculpture Garden, as well as the Institute of Contemporary Art and the Mingei International Museum.
Alcazar Garden in Balboa Park is open to the public 365 days a year.
Mosaic tile on decorative fountain at Alcazar Garden
Backstory and Context
The Alcazar Garden in Balboa Park was created as a replica of the ornate gardens at Alcazar Castle in Seville, Spain. The design includes decorative mosaic tile fountains and the display of 7,000 annual plants in bold, bright colors. It is located next to the House of Charm and across from the Sculpture Garden. In addition, the Institute of Contemporary Art and the Mingei International Museum are also located nearby within walking distance.
The land on which the Alcazar Garden was built was the ancestral land of the Kumeyaay people. In 1868, the City of San Diego designated that 1,400 acres would be used for the creation of a park. This became known as "City Park," although there was no formal landscape design undertaken for several years. In 1892, the process of garden design began when the horticulturist Kate Sessions planted 100 trees in the park, and in 1910, the park's name was officially altered to become "Balboa Park."
An event known as the Panama-California Exhibition was held in Balboa Park in 1915. It was intended to celebrate the construction and opening of the Panama Canal, while also celebrating California and the City of San Diego. In 1935, Balboa Park was the setting for the California Pacific International Exhibition, which was intended as a "world's fair" type of event. This event inspired the construction of several Spanish Colonial Revival buildings in Balboa Park.
In recent years, the Alcazar Garden has been restored, in keeping with the 1935 design by the San Diego-based architect, Richard Requa. The garden is a popular site among both tourists and locals who enjoy the vibrant display of annual flowers. It is also a wedding venue.
Alcazar Garden, Balboa Park. Accessed October 10th 2021. https://www.balboapark.org/gardens/alcazar.
Alcazar Garden, City of San Diego. Accessed October 10th 2021. https://www.sandiego.gov/park-and-recreation/parks/regional/balboa/alcazargarden.
Montag, Helen Purcell. "Garden Mastery: Balboa Park dazzles with acres of gems — in our own backyard." The San Diego Union-Tribune August 14th 2021. .