b'By Faye JonasonWarmer temperatures have brought an explosion ofcolor and wildlife to the Camp Pendleton Veterans Memorial Garden offering visitors the opportunity to relax, meditate, and explore. The nearly two-acre habitat was created with 18 areas for memorials and monuments honoring storied Marine Corps actions, events and WWII Marine Corps heroes. Meandering garden walkways and a convenientramp make the garden easily accessible from the Pacific View Event Center, Starbucks and just steps over afootbridge from the Naval Hospital. The Pacific Oceancompletes the beautiful photographic backdrop usedoften by bridal parties.The garden features many native plant examples ofAlta and Baja California, Mexico and the Sonoran and Mojave deserts. Prominently blooming now in the garden is the legendary California Poppy. Early Spanish sailors,awed by the site of California Poppy fields spreadingfrom the ocean to the hills, called the area the land of fire. The cup-shaped flower inspired the Spanish name, copa de oro or cup of gold.Another poppy, the perennial Matilija Poppy, sometimes called fried egg plant, has enormous white crepe-papery flowers with golden yellow centers and is also found throughout the garden. Bright orange Euphorbia Tirucalli, better known as Firesticks, bright red Hoary California Fuchsia and Scarlet Monkeyflowers together with many shades of blue Wild Lilac, purples and yellow flowering plants such as the Channel Island Bush Poppy add to the delightful array of color while fragrances of the collection, such as Electric Blue and Purple Sages and evergreens, further add to the visitors sensory experience.People come to take a break from their job, to walk into the lush tranquility, to be refreshed. Under the shade of a Western Sycamore, they might hear birds calling or catch sight of a scurrying lizard. They come to honor veterans,to see the monument to War Dogs or the Torrey Pinethat Docents planted to honor American POWs. Basket weavers from the San Luis Rey Band of Mission Indianscome to collect Deergrass for their creations.Visitors may also notice the volunteers, usually one or two at a time, who, among other many duties, trim the trees, take out debris and generally keep the garden in good order. The garden, which was originally dedicated and opened on August 21, 2003 by Major General William G. Bowden, did not succeed right away. Work was done by MCCS Facilities to make the walkways, small knolls and monument areas . continued on page 1714 Military Appreciation Resource Magazine HMay 2021H Thank You For Your Service'