When you think about it, our feet are pretty amazing. For most, they're an unfaltering foundation - two shock absorbers we rely on daily to hold our weight and propel us through life. Comprised of dozens of bones and hundreds of ligaments, muscles, and tendons, the average person's feet take a fair beating every day - on average, people stand for about four hours every day and take around 5K steps as well. Because your feet are smaller than most other parts of your body, they endure an enormous impact with each step, adding up to hundreds of tons of weight daily.
Strangely, when our feet, ankles, or toes begin to hurt, we do our best to ignore the pain and push through the day. We even give up sports and outdoor activities that we love. Unfortunately, ignoring pain and delaying treatment will further damage your feet and, by proxy, your whole body.
If you're living with foot and ankle pain or have given up on fun activities like hiking and jogging, it's time to change. Why sacrifice a life full of outdoor activities in our beautiful part of the world when you can visit an expert podiatrist in Escondido, CA?
Welcome to North County Foot and Ankle - where men and women just like you get new leases on life through some of the most advanced podiatric treatments available in California. With more than 50 years of combined experience treating a wide range of foot and ankle problems, our pioneering doctors have helped hundreds of people reclaim their love of walking, jogging, and life in general.
What makes North County Foot and Ankle stand out from other foot and ankle doctors in Escondido? Unlike some foot doctors, our podiatrists work with a client-first mentality. When you walk through our front doors, the time you spend in our office is all about you. We believe in a strong physician-patient relationship fortified by one-on-one attention and honest communication.
Before offering foot pain treatment options, we perform a thorough evaluation, taking into account your individual needs, goals, and preferences. Once that's done, we'll discuss your treatment options in detail and come to a mutual decision regarding the best treatment plan for you.
Whether you have a minor hangnail or need complex surgery, you will receive the same level of compassionate care from our medical team. As board-certified podiatrists in Escondido, our doctors are proud to treat you. You can rest easy knowing they will take the time to explain what's causing your foot pain, what treatments are best suited to your problem, and what steps you should take after treatment.
And while our podiatrists are uniquely qualified to perform surgery, we often recommend non-surgical options, using treatments like orthotics to relieve foot, arch, and heel pain. From sports injuries and bunions to gout and blisters, we're here to help you live life to the fullest without nagging, debilitating foot pain.
Patients visit our foot clinic in Escondido, CA, for many podiatric problems, including:
If you're dealing with chronic foot pain or are concerned about a long-lasting symptom that affects your daily life, we're here to help. Unsure if you need to call to make an appointment? These symptoms are often signs that you might need to visit our foot and ankle doctors:
Most people over 40 know that strange body aches and pains become more common with age. The same can be said with our feet. As we get older, our feet usually spread out and lose the fatty pads that help cushion our feet. If you're overweight, the ligaments and bones in your feet also take an extra beating. Also, with age, foot abnormalities that you were born with become more pronounced, as the joints in your feet lose flexibility and become rigid. To make matters worse, the skin covering your feet dries out, resulting in more cuts, scrapes, and infections.
It's clear that we endure more foot pain as we get older, but what kind of foot pain should we be most concerned about? It can be hard to tell - pain from what looks like normal bruising may actually be a sign that something more serious is occurring. That's why we're listing some of the most common symptoms of serious foot problems. That way, you're better educated and have a better shot at figuring out whether you need a simple bag of ice or a visit to your podiatrist in Escondido, CA.
When you sprain your foot or ankle or suffer an acute injury, it's normal for your foot to swell up. This type of swelling typically goes down after 48 hours have passed. However, if you hurt your foot and the swelling is severe and doesn't go away after a couple of days, it's cause for concern. Persistent swelling often indicates an ankle or foot injury that needs podiatric care.
North County Foot and Ankle Pro Tip: If you notice persistent swelling of any kind on your body, it's wise to see a doctor. Ankle swelling, in particular, could be a warning sign that a blood clot or heart issue is present.
It's normal for your foot or ankle to "smart" after you stub your toe or twist your ankle. However, if you're experiencing ongoing ankle and foot pain, it's probably not normal. The pain doesn't have to be sharp, either - if you have dull pain, tenderness, or weakness that lasts more than two days, a trip to the foot doctor may be in order.
Minor ankle and foot injuries, like sprains, are quite common. When a sprain happens, it's normal to experience some instability or weakness afterward. Chronic instability, however, is a more serious problem. Long-term instability or weakness may signify torn ligaments or something worse. If you've had trouble standing or walking for a long time, it's best to make an appointment at a foot clinic in Escondido.
North County Foot and Ankle Pro Tip: Podiatric experts like those at North County Foot and Ankle may have a long-term solution to help reclaim your mobility without surgery. Give our office call today to learn more!
Stiffness is a normal symptom that should be expected with sprains, plantar fasciitis, and arthritis. Often, you can alleviate such stiffness with rest, weight loss, stretching, or even new shoes. With that said, if you're experiencing ongoing stiffness, it could be a red flag that something more serious is going on.
When you've been sitting for a long time, you may have noticed a popping sound from your feet when you stand. That sound is perfectly normal. So long as it's painless, you've got nothing to worry about. However, if you feel pain when you hear a popping noise, it could indicate a subluxation or dislocation, which are conditions that require a podiatrist's attention.
If you're not sure whether you should be concerned about a painful foot or ankle symptom, give our clinic in Escondido a call ASAP. Our helpful technicians can help answer your questions and set up a time for you to speak with one of our friendly podiatrists.
Here are just a few of the typical foot problems we treat daily.
Do you have intense heel pain that appears when you first stand up, only for it to disappear after a few steps? If so, you could be one of the millions of people in the U.S. suffering from plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is most often caused by an inflamed ligament covering bones on the bottom of your feet. Also called "Policeman's Heel," this painful condition is a common reason for heel pain, but it won't go away on its own.
Almost all cases of plantar fasciitis will get better with easy, non-surgical treatments and lifestyle changes. A good place to start is by refraining from activities or sports that cause pain, like jogging, hiking, running, or aerobic exercises.
Common treatment options at North County Foot and Ankle include:
Orthotic shoe inserts provide you with the arch support that your feet need, especially with shoes like women's flats that don't have much foot support. We also recommend wearing shoes that are appropriate for the activity you're enjoying, like hiking boots on your favorite trail and running shoes on the street or track.
Stretching regularly with gentle exercises can help prevent plantar fasciitis and stop flare-ups. Stretching your calves, specifically, reduces heel pain effectively. After you schedule an appointment at our foot clinic in Escondido, one of our doctors can explain the proper exercises in more detail.
Wearing a brace or splint while you sleep will keep your plantar fascia stretched. That way, when you wake up and take your first steps of the day, you shouldn't have as much pain because your plantar fascia won't have a chance to tighten up overnight.
North County Foot and Ankle Pro Tip: If you're still struggling with plantar fasciitis after using orthotics, treatments like orthobiologics, platelet-rich plasma (PRP) treatment, or extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT) may be more effective.
Ingrown toenails are among the most common foot maladies in the United States. Though common, ingrown toenails can be painful, resulting in swelling, bleeding, pus, and more. Various factors cause ingrown toenails, such as heredity, trauma, hygiene, nail conditions, and improper trimming. Thankfully, with the help of an expert, most ingrown toenails can be treated at home or in a podiatrist's office.
Ingrown toenails happen when the corners and sides of your toenails grow and eventually dig into the flesh around your nail. Most often occurring on the big toe, ingrown toenails become a serious concern when they are left untreated or when an infection is involved. To determine whether your ingrown toenail needs an evaluation by a foot doctor in Escondido, CA, keep an eye out for initial symptoms and infection symptoms:
To help prevent infection, try cutting your nails in a straight line, and don't cut them too short. Do not cut your nails to match the shape of your toe.
When your toenail becomes ingrown, you need doctors with real expertise in diagnosing and treating foot problems. At North County Foot and Ankle, our doctors are highly qualified to treat the underlying conditions causing your ingrown toenail. That way, you can enjoy long-term relief and also learn the ways to prevent ingrown toenails in the future.
If you have a bony bump near the bottom joint of your big toe, chances are it's a bunion. Bunions are deformities on your feet that are formed when your front foot bones become misaligned. When this happens, the misaligned bones cause the top half of your big toe to point inward toward your second toe. From there, your tendons will tighten, which pulls your toe even further inward. Once your toe is pulled more inward, the bottom joint of your big toe will bulge outward. The bulge you see is actually what we refer to as a bunion.
Without treatment, your toe pain can worsen, and the bunion can grow. Painful swelling in the balls of your feet can also cause hammertoe. Hammertoe happens your second toe is bent out of shape by your misaligned big toe.
Luckily, North County Foot and Ankle is California's go-to clinic for bunion treatment in Escondido, CA. Our highly-trained doctors can stop these uncomfortable conditions from happening and help prevent worse conditions from developing.
Jason Morris, a board-certified podiatric foot surgeon in Escondido, CA, is one of the top podiatrists in the greater San Diego area and has successfully treated patients with bunions for over ten years. He offers advanced treatments for bunion pain, such as:
Our hand-made orthotics, which are worn in your shoes, are molded to fit your foot exactly, correcting bone misalignments and relieving pain much better than cookie-cutter, store-bought options.
Drs. Morris and Redkar performs state-of-the-art triplanar correction surgery using 3-D digital imaging and a minimal incision approach. This procedure is very effective and works by rotating misaligned big toe bones back to the proper position. Once your toe bones are back in position, a metal plate is attached to your bones so that they remain aligned over long-term use.
Drs. Morris and Redkar may recommend both surgery and custom orthotics to keep your foot pain-free and your bunion from growing back.
If you’ve been enduring foot or ankle pain that affects your mobility and quality of life, why not make a change for the better? At North County Foot & Ankle Specialists, our podiatrists in Escondido help patients of all ages. Drs. Morris and Redkar take a patient-first approach with all of our podiatry services. Both are highly qualified and recipients of prestigious awards.
Featured in Los Angeles Magazine’s prestigious Top Doctors list of 2021, Dr. Avanti Redkar is a board-certified podiatrist that specializes in foot and ankle pathology. Dr. Redkar earned her undergrad degree in biology at the University of Scranton and her master’s degree in nutrition at SUNY Buffalo. She attended podiatry school at the New York College of Podiatric Medicine. Her three-year surgical residency at Good Samaritan Hospital in West Islip, New York, included foot and rearfoot surgery, wound care, and hyperbaric medicine training. Dr. Redkar also completed a one-year fellowship in sports medicine and ankle reconstruction.
After a rigorous three-year residency at the University of Pittsburgh, Jason Morris, DPM, moved to sunny California to practice podiatric medicine. Once there, Dr. Morris worked as an attending physician at UCLA Medical Center and Cedars Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles. Since relocating to the Escondido area, he has been a staff physician at Palomar Medical Center in Escondido and Poway. Dr. Morris is a podiatric foot and ankle specialist with board certification in rearfoot and forefoot reconstructive surgery. Dr. Morris has undergone extensive training in sports medicine, ankle trauma, diabetic limb salvage, and reconstructive surgery.
If you've been enduring foot or ankle pain that affects your mobility and quality of life, why not make a change for the better? At North County Foot & Ankle Specialists, our podiatrists in Escondido help patients of all ages. Drs. Morris and Redkar take a patient-first approach with all of our podiatry services. From minor bunion treatments to complex issues like foot fractures, every treatment option we consider is chosen with your best interest in mind.
Our podiatrists are members of several professional organizations, including:
If more conservative treatments are better for your condition, non-surgical solutions like custom orthotics may be the best route. If you need ankle or foot surgery, our podiatrists will complete your procedure with time-tested skill and precision. Because, at the end of the day, our goal is to provide you with the most effective foot and ankle pain solutions with the quickest recovery options available.
Contact us online or via phone today to schedule an appointment at our Escondido office. By tomorrow, you'll be one step closer to loving life without foot or ankle pain.
If you’ve just moved to a new home or apartment in Escondido, a great way to discover your new city is to explore the local parks. From the peaceful scenery of Rod McLeod Park to the relaxing Felicita County Park, the parks in Escondido, CA offer a wide variety of options. Maybe you’re looking for a place to relax and have a picnic, or to get active with activities like swimming and biking &ndas...
If you’ve just moved to a new home or apartment in Escondido, a great way to discover your new city is to explore the local parks. From the peaceful scenery of Rod McLeod Park to the relaxing Felicita County Park, the parks in Escondido, CA offer a wide variety of options. Maybe you’re looking for a place to relax and have a picnic, or to get active with activities like swimming and biking – the parks in Escondido have something for every activity. So come along as we check out the favorite parks in Escondido, CA.
This popular neighborhood park in Escondido features a playground, picnic area, and walking trail. It’s situated in a quiet residential area and surrounded by mature trees, providing a peaceful atmosphere.
Amenities: Picnic area, BBQ grills, playground, restrooms
Address: 1701 S Iris Ln, Escondido, CA 92026
If you’re looking for parks in Escondido with a wide array of amenities, then Westside Park may be your new go-to spot. It has a playground, basketball court, and plenty of open space for picnics and playing.
Amenities: Basketball court, playground, restrooms
Address: 333 S Spruce St, Escondido, CA 92025
This hidden gem boasts a picturesque stream, towering trees, and a lush green landscape. It has a playground, picnic area, and trails for walking or jogging.
Amenities: Baseball field, concession stand, picnic area, BBQ grills, playground, restrooms
Address: 2401 N Broadway, Escondido, CA 92026
Another great park in Escondido is Grove Park. It features a large grassy area perfect for picnics, playing frisbee or tossing a ball. It also has a playground, basketball court, and walking path.
Amenities: Basketball courts, picnic area, gazebo, playground, walking path, restrooms
Address: 745 N Ash St, Escondido, CA 92026
Located in downtown Escondido, this park has a splash pad, playground, and a historic train depot that houses the Escondido History Center. It’s a popular spot for community events and festivals.
Amenities: Picnic area, swimming pool, horseshoe pits, art, restrooms
Address: 321 N Broadway, Escondido, CA 92025
This Escondido park is known for its large shade trees, making it a great spot for a picnic on a hot day. It has a playground, basketball court, and trails for walking or jogging. Those living in Escondido also love this park for its swimming pool.
Amenities: Swimming pool, ballfield, tennis courts, basketball courts, playground, picnic area, recreation building, restrooms
Address: 501 N Rose St, Escondido, CA 92027
If you’re a nature lover looking for a spot nearby your home in Escondido to get outdoors, you need to give Felicita County Park a visit. This sprawling park has over 2,000 acres of rolling hills and lush valleys. It features several hiking trails, picnic areas, a playground, and a scenic pond.
Amenities: Picnic area, playground, walking trails, restrooms
Address: 742 Clarence Ln, Escondido, CA 92029
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ESCONDIDO, CALIF. — Bridge Group Investments and Steerpoint Capital have acquired North County Mall in Escondido, about 30 miles north of San Diego. Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (URW) was the seller, according to the Escondido Times-Advocate. The sales price was undisclosed.Situated on almost 83 acres, North County Mall totals nearly 1.3 million square feet. Tenants include Target, Macy’s, JC Penney, 24 Hour Fitness, Forever 21, H&M, Apple, Cheesecake Factory, BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse, Black Angus Stea...
ESCONDIDO, CALIF. — Bridge Group Investments and Steerpoint Capital have acquired North County Mall in Escondido, about 30 miles north of San Diego. Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (URW) was the seller, according to the Escondido Times-Advocate. The sales price was undisclosed.
Situated on almost 83 acres, North County Mall totals nearly 1.3 million square feet. Tenants include Target, Macy’s, JC Penney, 24 Hour Fitness, Forever 21, H&M, Apple, Cheesecake Factory, BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse, Black Angus Steakhouse, On the Border and more. The mall opened in 1986.
Although no plans were released for changes under the new ownership, a press release from the City of Escondido — which owns most of the land on which the mall rests — said the buyers “are eager to bring new investment and retail opportunities to the mall and are committed to working with and supporting the local community.”
The property is the fourth mall that Bridge Group Investments and affiliates have acquired in California over the past six months with support from Steerpoint Capital. Previous acquisitions include The Shops at Montebello in Montebello, Antelope Valley Mall in Palmdale and Northridge Mall in Salinas.
Bridge Group Investments is the family office for the Mersho family, led by George Mersho and Ralph Mersho. Since its founding in 2004, the firm has invested more than $400 million in retail, industrial and multifamily real estate. The Mersho family opened Shoe Palace in 1993, growing the business from a single brick-and-mortar location to a chain of more than 170 stores across the Southwest.
Steerpoint Capital is an investment management firm led by Bo Okoroji, who previously served as the head of U.S. investments at URW and held multiple senior roles at Simon Property Group.
“Acquiring the North County Mall is especially significant for me, given my tenure at URW and how familiar I am personally with the asset,” says Okoroji. “Thanks to its location in Escondido along the I-15 and its leading retail, dining, fitness and entertainment offerings, we’re confident that the mall can be positioned as a vibrant community hub as well as a dominant player in the regional retail marketplace.”
The buyers have hired Spinoso Real Estate Group to oversee North County Mall and handle its management, leasing, redevelopment, operations and marketing. The privately held, New York-based real estate firm specializes in the management and leasing of large-scale enclosed shopping malls.
URW will continue to maintain its leasehold interest in the mall, which expires June 30, 2053, according to the Times-Advocate. The City of Escondido also leases directly to JC Penney and Costco, and has one location currently vacant, the former Nordstrom property. Macy’s owns and operates its own parcel.
— Kristin Harlow
COLUMBUS, KAN. — Northmarq has brokered the sale-leaseback of a Sonic-occupied restaurant property in Columbus, a city in Southeast Kansas. The sales price was $1.2 million. The 1,127-square-foot building is located at 228 W. Maple St. Matt Lipson of Northmarq represented the Missouri-based seller. Hamman Real Estate represented the buyer, a California-based individual investor.
Nonprofit says it hopes to expand pilot program pioneered in North County to other statesSure, Apollo’s sitting, shaking, leash walking and fetching skills have improved since he started living in a group home with four men with developmental disabilities.But this one-year-old lab, explains resident Adam Holwuttle, does his own kind of work, his presence and acceptance helping to smooth out the rough edges that can appear among roommates.“Apollo helps me a lot like when we go on walks, my attitude, my anger...
Sure, Apollo’s sitting, shaking, leash walking and fetching skills have improved since he started living in a group home with four men with developmental disabilities.
But this one-year-old lab, explains resident Adam Holwuttle, does his own kind of work, his presence and acceptance helping to smooth out the rough edges that can appear among roommates.
“Apollo helps me a lot like when we go on walks, my attitude, my anger, my frustration, he comes up to me, gives me kisses,” Holwuttle said, the dog’s head in his lap.
Kelly Bridges, who has lived at the spacious home in a quiet Escondido neighborhood since 2019, said Apollo’s willingness to shake or even dance around the room, standing up paws in hands, is its own kind of positive feedback loop.
“I can rely on him to help me feel better, and he feels the same for me; I know it happens that way,” Bridges said. “You don’t have to be a certain kind of person to love a dog and be nice to a dog ... because if you don’t love anybody or anyone, how can you love yourself?”
Apollo is actually this home’s fifth foster dog provided under a strict agreement with Escondido’s Furballs Furever Rescue.
Operated by Merakey, a not-for-profit developmental and behavioral health services company that runs nearly 600 group homes in five states, the Escondido location is its first to participate in such an arrangement. As near as the company can tell, this arrangement is the first of its kind pretty much anywhere.
Some might find that fact surprising as dogs and other animals have been embraced pretty much everywhere in health care. These days, therapy dogs roam the halls of hospitals, cancer units and nursing homes, helping people with anxiety, stress and loneliness.
But group homes, especially those where residents may be prone to outbursts and even minor violence due to neurological conditions, have not generally been on the therapy dog circuit, let alone considered as suitable foster homes for dogs such as Apollo, whose previous family surrendered him once he started chewing furniture, having indoor accidents and refusing to go in his kennel.
AnnMarie Stanton, director and program lead for this particular residence in Escondido, said there were quite a few nos before Furballs Furever said yes.
“We had to jump through hoop after hoop to get this started; everybody said these guys can’t do it, they might get violent and cause trauma to the dogs,” Stanton said. “But the animals have what we call a safetynet crisis plan where we guarantee, in the event of a behavior, the dog immediately goes to his kennel or behind a locked door.”
That rule has only been used once so far across five dog fosterings, and it remains, Stanton said, a powerful governor of behavior.
“If somebody is upset and they’re starting to raise their voice, the others will say, ‘hey, you’re scaring the dog, bring it down, you can be mad, but go in your room and close the door, we’re not going to scare the dog,’” Stanton said.
That ability to limit outbursts has had very measurable results.
Of Merakey’s four group homes in San Diego County, the only one with a dog also has the lowest rates of property damage.
Dogs, the company has found, also serve as useful disruptors, their needs for walks, playtime and feeding breaking into the often-rigid schedules of those who live on the autism spectrum.
To eventually move to less-restrictive residences in the future, clients must learn to deal with disruption and interruption, and nothing snaps a comfortable routine like a dog who must be let out to do their business.
But it goes much deeper than that. Dogs and other animals provide the thing that every person needs at the core of their being: A purpose.
“The animals need them, they need their love and affection, they need them to get a bath, they need them to go out on walks, they need them, and to feel needed and wanted is huge in this community,” Stanton said.
Agreeing to work with Merakey on the project was a leap of faith for Furballs Furever Rescue which has only been up and running in Escondido for three years. Founder Katherine Chilidonia said that she had previous experience working in group homes for children and, talking with Stanton, could see how residents could benefit.
So far, all four of the dogs that the group of men have fostered previous to Apollo have been adopted and not returned to the rescue.
Part of that success, she said, comes down to the dogs and the people being able to relate to each other. Both, after all, have struggled to fit into the footprint of society’s expectations.
“The guys, they know that the dogs they are fostering and that are put in their hands, that they’ve gone through things too, and I think that’s kind of where they find that level ground,” Chilidonia said.
Merakey has been watching the program closely and plans to use it to add animals to other group homes it operates.
Elise Tretola, a senior vice president for the company, said that the San Diego Regional Center, which supports 4,000 residents with developmental disabilities in San Diego and Imperial counties, and the California Department of Developmental Services, have been willing to support the innovative but unprecedented initiative.
“We just don’t get this kind of opportunity in other states where we operate,” Tretola said. “Now that we have a model and we have results, we think that we have an opportunity to go back to some states and say ‘look what we’ve done here, can we get a similar kind of partnership?’”
“We believe this is so needed that you could put these programs in every state, and you would have a waiting list to get into them.”
Of course, it is not just about the willingness of service providers to participate; shelters also have to be willing to foster their dogs with specific group homes. Matching specific dogs to specific groups of clients, both Chilidonia and Stanton said, is the key to success. Dogs with significant health problems that require extensive medications can be more difficult to match as can clients who are afraid of animals.
While some might suspect that it is difficult for these guys to let their dogs be adopted by other families, they don’t seem to resist the idea that Apollo will eventually move out, as the four before him did.
Bridges said letting go won’t be easy.
“It’s hard because Apollo is unique, at the same time very playful and sweet and lovable,” Bridges said. “It’s like having a son or daughter, and you hate to see them go, well, it’s the same for animals.”
But this crew of dog trainers has found a quick way to cheer up.
“If they get adopted, what do we do?” Stanton asked.
“Get a new dog,” Holwuttle replied.
Garden savvy, patience and help from family, friends turn neglected yard into budget-friendly habitat for birds and butterflies In Jeanne Reutlinger’s world, gardening is an act of collaboration with friends and neighbors — meaning you don’t need much of a budget at all to create a prize-winning front yard. In Reutlinger’s case, her garden is the 2022 WaterSmart Landscape Contest winner for the city of Escondido’s water district.Reutlinger, now 85 and physically unable to do much gardening these ...
In Jeanne Reutlinger’s world, gardening is an act of collaboration with friends and neighbors — meaning you don’t need much of a budget at all to create a prize-winning front yard. In Reutlinger’s case, her garden is the 2022 WaterSmart Landscape Contest winner for the city of Escondido’s water district.
Reutlinger, now 85 and physically unable to do much gardening these days due to a back problem, took on the landscaping project in 2019 when she moved into her Escondido home at age 81. It was two years after the death of her husband Ron, following more than 50 years of marriage. The couple had lived for many decades in Crown Point and, years before, had bought two rental homes next door to one another in Escondido. Their daughter Diana Simpson, one of the Reutlingers’ four children, now lives in the second home, and both women have roommates.
Upon moving in, Reutlinger took on the project of creating a lush but low-maintenance, low-water garden herself, with some help from Simpson and her son John, who lives on Palomar Mountain. It took her three years, putting to use all she had learned during her years of gardening at her Crown Point home and the mountain and desert cabins she and Ron had owned, as well as a childhood filled with gardening with both her mother and grandmother.
Reutlinger explained that when she moved into her Escondido home, the yard was full of weeds and neglect.
“It was baked by the hot sun and car exhaust from the nearby asphalt street,” she recalled. “Wanting to conserve water and create a natural, low-maintenance habitat, I had a forlorn lawn full of weeds and ruts.”
Reutlinger was already having her driveway extended, so she asked the man doing the work if he could put his Bobcat to use on the front yard to scrape away the weeds, old tree roots and debris, which he did. He also provided a nice mound in one area to elevate some of the future plantings.
Now that it was cleared and shaped, Reutlinger could get a better sense of what she wanted to do — but she had no designer to lay it out, nor any plans at all. What she did have was a goal.
“I wanted to do my own planting and create a colorful waterwise garden to attract butterflies and small birds,” she explained. “I am 85 years old and did the flower, succulent, small shrub and groundcover planting myself over the past three years. It has been a continual work in progress.”
OK, Reutlinger has had help. Her grandson John helped her with the large plantings. And he contributed to the striking birdbath feature.
“I told him I wanted a wood stump as high as his waist to put my dish on for a birdbath,” she said. “He told me, ‘Oh my gosh, I’ve had one sitting around for years.’ So, he brought it and it was just right.
“A couple of weeks later he told me he found another piece. It’s more like a branch, and we poked it down a hole at the bottom of the stump. The smaller attached branches extend over the birdbath. Birds perch on it, sharpen their beaks on it a little. There are sometimes seven or eight birds in there just flapping around and taking their baths, and I can see it all from my kitchen window.”
Reutlinger barely went to a nursery. Instead, she’d take walks around the neighborhood and if she saw plants she liked, she’d knock on the door and ask the residents if she could take clippings. Those clippings alone resulted in a lush groundcover of creeping myoporum, a perennial groundcover native to Australia. But it was time-consuming. She explained that she would sit on the ground and work a 3-foot-by-1½-foot area of ground, digging deep, adding soil conditioners, and watering well one day, followed by planting her starts and covering them loosely with the new soil the next day. And so it went until she made her way around the rest of the yard, keeping it moist daily, lugging her supplies with a old metal wagon.
Friends also contributed to her project, giving her birds of paradise and magenta bougainvillea, creeping rosemary and rock purslane. She also acquired a couple of Leyland cypress plants, red and yellow and pink lantana, a pink miniature rose bush, marigolds and California poppies. And Reutlinger’s favorite: giant yellow gazania daisies. In fact, the only original vegetation she kept were a couple of bushes against the house, below the kitchen window, and a massive juniper that had clearly been there for decades.
Where the mound had been created, Reutlinger placed the birdbath at the top, then added a variety of succulents, like jelly bean plants and mitre aloe, mixed in with the gazanias, zinnias, clouds of purple and white sweet alyssum, California poppies whose seeds she collects and flings throughout the garden, and flax lily standing above them. As a water-saving measure, she divided the mound into a few tiers progressing downward and installed curved scalloped brick edging to avoid runoff of water that came from rain or her hand watering. Throughout the mound and the rest of the garden are pieces of wood from Palomar Mountain that her grandson brought to her.
Reutlinger said the earth for each planting was supplemented with enriched potting soil to give nutrients and hold in the moisture. With a full sun exposure and a major street in front of the house, she said she had to be careful about planting some of the flowers close to the street since the asphalt from the street gives off a lot of heat. A bigger challenge, she admitted, are weeds and gophers.
“They’ve eaten a lot of flowers,” she said with a sigh. “I catch them with traps. Most of the weeds come after the rain, but I use a hula hoe to get rid of them.”
When it comes to Reutlinger’s passion for butterflies, she’s beyond dedicated. She basically has created a habitat of milkweed plants that volunteer around her front lawn and her backyard. At a recent visit, innumerable yellow, black and white striped caterpillars were fat and happy, munching on the leaves of the bushes, the seed-filled pods dense and about ready to burst open.
“I have been able to watch the full life cycle of the monarch from egg to growing caterpillar to chrysalis to beautiful adult butterfly right in my own yard,” she said.
“The many birds with their cheerful songs that enjoy my birdbath in the mornings are a delight,” she added. “I get many compliments from my neighbors who enjoy the beauty and color that my yard has added to our neighborhood. It was once a bleak and barren corner and has now been transformed with a lot of love and enjoyment over the years into a waterwise habitat for birds and butterflies, and it gives smiles to all who pass by.
“Being outdoors in nature has many mental and physical health benefits that all of our bodies need. A garden is good for our soul and helps us connect with our Creator.”
Reutlinger’s costs for her garden have been minimal. Her daughter estimates that, at most, she’s spent $250. Since she got a $250 gift card to El Plantio Nursery & Landscaping in Escondido, she basically came out even.
“It’s because I have been creative and have done most of the work myself,” Reutlinger explained. “It is easy to start plants from cuttings and saves money if one is patient and nurtures the little cuttings. I have planted California poppies, giant gazania daisies (which reseed themselves constantly), and marigolds every year from seeds I have collected and dried from the previous year’s flowers.”
She had minimal savings, because the landscape before her project was mostly weeds, and there’s no irrigation installed. Any watering is done lightly with a garden hose — or rain.
Plants used: dwarf jade (Portulacaria afra), creeping myoporum (Myoporum parvifolium), rock purslane (Calandrinia grandiflora), mitre aloe (Aloe perfoliata), sweet alyssum (Lobularia maritima), flax lily (Dianella enssifolia), paddle plant (Kalanchoe tetraphylla), Leyland cypress (Cuprocyparis leylandii), magenta bougainvillea (Bougainvillea spectabilis), creeping rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis Prostrata), sea lavender (Limonium latifolium), lantana (Lantana camara), giant yellow gazania daisy (Gazania rigens), wax-leaf privet (Ligustrum japonicum), ‘Everest’ sedge grass (Carex oshimensis), Lady Banks’ pink miniature rose bush (Rosa banksiae), California poppy (Eschscholzia californica), wild iris (Iris spuria) and bird of paradise (Strelitzia reginae)
Estimated costs: $250
Who did the work: Homeowner Jeanne Reutlinger, with help from her daughter and grandson
How long it took: Three years
Water savings: Minimal, because the space had gone to weeds until she began her project. But she waters by hand with a hose and planted low-water vegetation.
This is the fourth in an occasional series on winners of the annual WaterSmart Landscape Contest, conducted in partnership with the San Diego County Water Authority. To learn about entering the next contest, visit landscapecontest.com.
For details on classes and resources through the WaterSmart Landscape Makeover Program, visit landscapemakeover.watersmartsd.org. Landscape rebates are available through the Socal WaterSmart Turf Replacement Program at socalwatersmart.com.
Golden is a San Diego freelance writer and blogger.
Sunday in the Park with George, starring Will Blum and Emily Lopez, runs through March 5, 2023.One of the most acclaimed musicals of our time, Sunday in the Park with George, won the Pulitzer Prize and was nominated for 10 Tony Awards in 1984 including Best Musical. This rarely-done musical was last produced in San Diego by Ion Theatre in 2016. Sunday in the Park with George, starring Will Blum and ...
One of the most acclaimed musicals of our time, Sunday in the Park with George, won the Pulitzer Prize and was nominated for 10 Tony Awards in 1984 including Best Musical. This rarely-done musical was last produced in San Diego by Ion Theatre in 2016. Sunday in the Park with George, starring Will Blum and Emily Lopez, runs through March 5, 2023. Produced by CCAE Theatricals. T.J. Dawson, artistic director of 3D Theatricals in Anaheim, will direct the 1985 Pulitzer Prize-winning musical. Tickets are available online at www.artcenter.org.
Check out production photos below!
On the heels of an incredible inaugural season which saw critically acclaimed runs of Once, The Light in the Piazza and Witnesses (world premiere musical), the team at CCAE Theatricals are excited to forge ahead as they continue to introduce this new theater company to greater San Diego. This summer they will mount their second World Premiere musical, Bottle Shock! The Musical based on the 1998 film starring Alan Rickman & Bill Pullman. Inspired by the true story of the famous 1976 Judgment of Paris, Bottle Shock!, follows one of the winning Napa wineries, Chateau Montelena, and the relationship between owner Jim Barrett and his son Bo. Bottle Shock! will be directed by Artistic Director, J. Scott Lapp and play the Center Theater July 7th-29th, 2023.
In the final days before the completion of his masterpiece, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, Georges Seurat is torn between making meaningful art and maintaining a relationship with his lover, Dot. One of the most acclaimed musicals of our time, Sunday in the Park with George won the Pulitzer Prize and was nominated for 10 Tony Awards including Best Musical. This stunning masterpiece merges past and present into beautiful, poignant truths about life, love and the creation of art. The story, spanning over a century, begins in 1884 with struggling artist Georges Seurat, who demands that the world look at art in a shocking new way. A century later, Seurat's grandson George-also an artist-is frustrated as he searches for his artistic path only to find the answer to his future is in the past.
Sunday in the Park with George stars Will Blum as George, Emily Lopez as Dot with Debbie Prutsman and Nicholas Bailey, Tucker Boyes, Juan Danner, Nikki Kelder, Colden Lamb, Catherine & Elizabeth Last, Ethan Park, Liliana Rodriguez, DeAndre Simmons, Bethany Slomka, Tori Stamm, Debra Wanger, Zanna Wyant and Elias Wygodny.
The creative team, includes T.J. Dawson, director; Elan McMahan, musical direction; Leslie Stevens, Associate Director/Staging; George Gonzalez, scenic design; Michelle Miles, lighting design; Janet Pitcher, costume design; Jon Fredette, sound design; Patrick Gates, projection design; Peter Herman, wig & hair design; Heather Longfellow, props; Kate Thorvick, assistant stage manager; Stanley Cohen*, production stage manager; and Lindsay Brooks, casting.
SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE
Directed by T.J. Dawson
February 17 - March 5, 2023
Center Theater at California Center for the Arts, Escondido
340 N. Escondido Blvd., Escondido, CA 92025
Tickets: $35 - $85
The Cast of Sunday in the Park with George
Emily Lopez and Will Blum
Zanna Wyant and Nicholas Bailey
Will Blum and Emily Lopez
Ethan Park and Bethany Slomka
Debbie Prutsman and Will Blum
*Disclaimer: results are not guaranteed, may not be permanent, and can vary per individual. Some images are of models, not actual patients.
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