My wife and I just returned from a one week vacation to Indio, California. The Coachella Valley (in which Palm Springs is located) is one of my wife and my favorite vacation spots. We have points in the WorldMark (now Wyndam) condo system and they have a really nice resort in Indio on the east end of the valley. Nearly every time we stay there we visit the Sunnylands Center & Gardens. I have taken a lot of color photos there in the past but when we were there last week I took along only my infrared camera. Currently I am using an IR converted Nikon D300. The nature of Sunnylands makes it an ideal subject for infrared. Even if you aren’t shooting during magic hour you can still get nice images with IR.
Sunnylands is the former Annenberg Estate, in Rancho Mirage, California. The entire estate is 200-acres and is currently run by The Annenberg Foundation Trust. The part of Sunnylands I like best is the nine acre gardens. The landscape was designed by The Office of James Burnett, with horticultural consultant Mary Irish. The garden design was inspired by the Annenberg’s collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings which they bequeathed the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1991.
The gardens are unlike nearly any other public gardens you will see in that each of the beds are composed of a single species of plant. All told, there are more than 70 species of native and arid-adapted plants from North and South America, Africa, and the Mediterranean. The adjacent beds blend beautifully together to create a wonderful and very sculptural garden.
If you are ever in the area I highly recommend a visit to Sunnylands. Oh yes, I forgot to mention that admission is free. Pretty amazing in today’s world!