“It has been the most wonderful experience of my life,” said Noble, who took part in support group Friends of Balboa Park’s Adopt-A-Plot program with the city’s Park & Recreation Department for the 2015 centennial.
Professional landscape designers, horticulture and garden societies, businesses and volunteers have worked to create new landscapes for key areas of Balboa Park, including popular gardens in the Central Mesa, which are among the highlights of putting the best face on the park for its centennial.
Noble and others among the Friends of Balboa Park group worked with city parks to get permission to “take over some of the park’s garden space that needed upgrading.”
He said special permits were issued to contractors willing to revitalize the park’s landscaping.
The Peninsula gardener was overjoyed at the plot he got to enhance in the park, which is located at the lily pond in front of the botanical building, one of the park’s most scenic and visited spots.
“I feel like I won the lottery,” said Noble, noting, “It’s a wonderful opportunity to make this beautiful garden right in the heart of Balboa Park.”
Noble said he has a vision to start a program “to teach kids about plants, the botanical language and nature.” He added it’s important to educate young people early on about the significance of plants and the relationship of different species to one another.
Noble has helped out with the Point Loma Native Plant Garden as well as aiding with median plantings, a continuing project of the Point Loma Association, along Nimitz Boulevard and other community thoroughfares.
Noble added there’s something “magical” about working with plants.
“There is just something beautiful about nature,” he noted, adding, “Most every day I discover something new.”
Noble’s getting recognition via a 2-inch logo on his adopted Balboa Park plot. He added it’s great exposure, pointing out that as many as 10,000 visitors a day have their pictures taken in Balboa’s picturesque gardens.
“It’s been a very hard challenge to make it on that level,” said Noble of his garden, adding he’s had volunteers, including children, who’ve helped him with the monumental undertaking.
The gardener said most of the storied park’s drought-tolerant gardens are “about reducing water, putting in perennials that need less water than the plants that are being taken out. The overall goal is for water education.”
Noble started in November to get his Balboa Park garden plot ready for the May 9 Party of the Century, which was attended by the mayor and countless others.
Noble noted the adopt-a-plot project isn’t just “a temporary, short-term thing for the centennial,” but instead is a “historical thing” meant to endure and reshape the park aesthetically, improving it for generations to come.