Spring Has Sprung at Sunnylands
Although one of the Palm Springs Valley’s most popular free attractions is stunningly beautiful year-round, one would be disingenuous to not admit that there’s just something about Spring that brings out the finest at the Sunnylands Center and Gardens in Rancho Mirage. Adjacent to the spectacular estate of Ambassador and Mrs. Walter Annenberg (the property open for private tours that my dear fellow blogger Diana Dodge and I have written about extensively since its remodel and reopening), the Sunnylands visitor center and gardens are always worth a visit on their own merits.
Springtime brings out the very best in landscape architect James Burnett’s designs, which include 50+ arid-landscape species totaling 53,000 plants on nine acres, with more than a mile of meandering walkways and paths. Seen from the main room of the visitor center, the great lawn is ringed with Palo Verde trees—in spectacular yellow bloom this time of year—framing a breathtaking view of the peaks of the San Jacinto Mountains. As you venture outside, enjoy the abundant sunshine. Stroll among the plants. Instagram your favorite flowering cacti. Or just sit in a quiet garden alcove surrounded by beautiful smokebrush and watch as cottontails, jackrabbits, desert iguanas, hawks, and the property’s abundant (and relatively rare) vermillion flycatchers cavort nearby.
There are also bugs! Lots of them! But don’t worry, they won’t bother you. They do, however, help the garden stay healthy and protect plants that may be bothered by “bad bugs.” Sunday, April 21, 2013 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. is “Bugs in the Garden Day.” Aside from releasing thousands of ladybugs (they control aphids), and a search for Monarch butterflies and their chrysalises, there will be all kinds of family fun including games, walks, talks, and arts & crafts.
I love Sunnylands, and come often with both out of town guests and local friends. It’s a great place to relax, have a pleasant lunch at the café, shop in the beautiful gift shop, and marvel at the gorgeous desert surroundings. www.sunnylands.org