The Siege of Queen Calafia’s Magical Circle Garden

I think about what California must have been like in the mid-19th century. It’s difficult to image Southern California without it’s endless clogged freeways, mega-malls, business parks, tract house developments, gated communities and 1980s spec construction-glut sprawl. Even in the early morning hours, when the dog-walkers, the sun-sensitive and early bird surfers are out, one can feel the pressure cooker.


Even so, there is no place I’d rather live or be from. I can’t help but wonder – what would Queen Calafia, California’s mythical warrior queen, think of all this?

Speaking of the Queen, a little-known Golden State treasure is Queen Calafia’s Magical Circle, Niki de Saint Phalle’s fantastical mosaic garden in Escondido. (Why Escondido was the city of choice is a mystery to me.) Here are a few pictures…



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