Sunnylands Labyrinth, Rancho Mirage

A Guest Blog by
Teri Petrzalek

Background Information:

Sunnylands is the 200-acre estate outside Palm Springs of Walter and Lenore Annenberg. In 2001 they created a trust fund to “address serious issues facing the nation and the world community.”  A 25,000 square foot, Mid-Century marvel, this peaceful oasis is set in the center of a 9-hole golf course. The property is now used for retreats as well as high-level summits. Former President Obama met Chinese President Xi Jinping.  Other dignitaries include the Reagans, Prince Charles and Margaret Thatcher. The work of the Foundation is committed to sustainability, Global Cooperation, Democratic Institutions and Global Health and Food Security.

Teri in Sunnyland Labyrinth

A hint of Thyme.

A visitor center was constructed at the entry and with it several breath-taking garden vignettes. As we toured the gardens, the tree-lined path around the great lawn opened to a clearing which contained a labyrinth. The 7-circuit path was wide and separated by low plantings.

To finish reading this guest blog, go to 1080 Labyrinth of Recovery and Laughter. 

Attract Hummingbirds this Summer

This Nectar is TOOOO Hot!  Ahh, Just Right!
Lijun Chadima, Guest blogger

Every year I always like to put the hummingbird feeder out as soon as the weather warms up.  It’s been difficult this spring because of the crazy temperature fluctuations.  Earlier this spring I was enjoying the warm sunshine on our porch when a beautiful ruby-throated hummingbird flew over and seemed to be wondering, “Where the heck is the feeder?”  I boiled the sugar water that afternoon and hung out the feeder the next morning.

Mystery – Why No Hummingbirds?

After a couple days the level of the sugar water in the feeder didn’t appear to go down at all.  My little friend stopped by a couple more times, but each time he flew off after just a brief sip.  I went out to check the feeder and discovered it was so hot that I could barely hold it in my hand.  No wonder the hummingbirds weren’t drinking any!  I suddenly remembered a bird show I saw on PBS that stated hummingbirds try to avoid extreme heat, so that afternoon I took the feeder down from its regular spot which was in direct sunlight, and moved it to a new location where it was in the shade under the sun umbrella.

Mystery Solved!

That apparently did the trick because the very next day multiple hummingbirds took turns drinking from the feeder.
Hummingbirds are a source of endless fascination for me.  They are full of energy and dart around the sky in all directions like little helicopters.  What a treat when one actually stops to rest on the ledge and enjoy a drink from the feeder.  Just remember to keep it in the shade so it’s not too hot for them!
Click on the link below, download and watch the video by Lijun of the hummingbird happily sipping nectar in the shade.

Marijuana!

Hemp plant

Hemp is amazingly tough and useful.

As we drove along a rural road recently we spotted a healthy patch of wild marijuana.

Most Iowans call it ditch weed.  For an” illegal” plant it’s amazingly common across much of the United States and loves living in poor soil out in the hot summer sun.

The plant is technically called Cannabis sativa and comes in two forms that look identical. One is usually called marijuana and contains the active ingredient THC that gives it medicinal and psychoactive properties.

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Poison Ivy’s Secret

Vines on fence

Poison Ivy loves edges

This summer millions of Americans will have unhappy encounters with poison ivy. For most people, the result is a patch of itchy bumpy skin that goes away after a few days to a week or so. Unfortunate others will develop a serious reaction that includes severe itching and swelling.

 

The very best way to not get a case of poison ivy is to avoid the plant and its culprit – urushiol, an oil that causes the allergic reaction. It’s on the plant’s leaves, in the vines and the sap.

Avoiding urushiol is a surefire way of avoiding a poison ivy rash, but many people have trouble identifying the plant. Fortunately, poison ivy has a secret.  Knowing it helps people avoid the plant.

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