SAN DIEGO – The Padres’ season has finally arrived and the fans across the county have rallied behind the team, from wearing the team’s jerseys to new Friar-themed offerings.

But, there’s one hidden gem garden in Del Mar that is celebrating the team’s return to Petco Park with an extra special display all about the Padres.

Gwen’s Garden, a memorial garden for a beloved animal friend just steps away from Dog Beach, has been decked out in a display all about the Padres in honor of the season opener last night.

The garden was created by North County resident, Jimmy Joe Gooding, through the “Adopt a Spot” program through the City of Del Mar, gaining approval for it about five years ago. It was dedicated to his yellow Labrador Retriever named Gwen who passed about two years before.

He planted new flora in the area that was once known for being a sort of “eyesore,” giving it new life with flowers, succulents and other greenery. During holidays, Gooding takes to decorating the garden.

Gooding has “done everything” in terms of decorations in the garden, he told – from spooky Halloween trimmings to Fourth of July adornments. 

“It was just another fun thing,” Gooding said. “It brings happiness to people.”

But this year, the born-and-raised San Diegan and lifelong Padres fan decided to take up a new theme in honor of the start of the season, decorating the garden with ornamentation for his hometown team.

Among the decorations set up in the beachside plot, there are gnomes clad in the Padres’ brown and gold stationed around a baseball diamond, a scoreboard with a star hanging for the signature catchphrase of Jerry Coleman, a scarecrow sporting a catcher’s mask and a collection of baseball bats.

  • A picture of the Padres-themed gnomes set up in a baseball diamond at Gwen's Garden in Del Mar, put up in honor of opening weekend for the Padres' season. (Courtesy of Jimmy Joe Gooding)
  • A picture of paper plates adorning a fence at Gwen's Garden in Del Mar that are decorated to look like baseballs with the names of Padres players, put up in honor of opening weekend for the team's season. (Courtesy of Jimmy Joe Gooding)
  • A picture of some of the other decorations adorning a fence at Gwen's Garden in Del Mar near Dog Beach that were put up in honor of opening weekend for the team's season. (Courtesy of Jimmy Joe Gooding)

The whole display took about two weeks to put together, in part because of delays due to rain.

The ornamentation in the garden comes from all over and the design is mostly improvised based on whatever he can find. For the Padres themed garden, he said he found things from thrift stores and used household items like paper plates, among other things.

With the highly anticipated season underway, Gooding hopes that this display – however short-lived – helps give the Friar Faithful an extra bit of delight and good fortune to the team, as they embark on another run for a World Series title.

“Hopefully, it’ll bring some good luck,” Gooding said.

Sunday will be the last opportunity for Padres fans to view the team’s decorations. On Monday, Gooding said he’ll be transitioning to a new theme, given the upcoming Easter holiday. 

Gwen’s Garden is located along the zigzag sidewalk near Dog Beach on Camino Del Mar, south of Via De La Valle.