Los Angeles

Getty Center Gardens

Getty Promontory Photo © Alice Joyce

I visited the larger-than-life Getty Center soon after it opened in 1997, and was allowed to wander through the gardens before the campus opened for the day. It was a fabulous chance to study the design and appreciate the details. I’ve often returned to spend time touring the 110-acre hillside setting, set off by sparkling Roman travertine buildings which include the J. Paul Getty Museum. Many of the gardening world’s cognescenti were first drawn to visit and critique the controversial Central Garden, designed by artist Robert Irwin. On a recent L.A. jaunt to experience the garden in Autumn, I enjoyed the scent of roses, colorful Brugmansia & Tibouchina amid colorful stems and branches of deciduous Cornus cultivars, massed bright orange succulents, and dense plantings of society garlic embraced by clipped boxwood hedges.

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Desert Travel

The Desert in Bloom

Anza Borrego Hawk Canyon Photo © Alice Joyce

Stunning natural settings to trendy eateries: When my travels include vigorous workouts in rugged terrain, I look forward to indulging my foodie cravings, accompanied by a glass of excellent wine. Known as one of the top U.S. sites for spring wildflower displays, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park did not disappoint. I’d hoped to visit since moving to California, and finally found time for a mid-March getaway. Myriad conditions must be in harmony for wildflowers to appear in this magnificent setting: A matter of rain, sun, wind, and temperature: all in harmony during the prior year and the season leading up to Spring. 2011 is proving to be noteworthy, with vast swathes of lupine, dune evening primrose, brittlebush, and ocotillo (Fouqueria splendens), to name but a few. Set in the midst of Anza-Borrego State Park is Borrego Springs .. a town that comes to life most vividly during the wildflower season. A small, friendly oasis, Borrego Springs offers a limited number of rooms available in a comfy resorts, motels and no-nonsense hotels, campgrounds, and the lovely Borrego Valley Inn.

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Art

Urban Light by Artist Chris Burden

Chris Burden: Urban Light (Photo: Alice Joyce)

A sculptural installation by artist Chris Burden, this “forest of street lights” takes center stage on the LACMA campus.

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