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.
Irwin’s garden scheme is composed of a tree-lined walkway, streambed strewn with boulders, plaza and cascading waterfall, and a reflecting pool featuring a maze laid out with azaleas. Soaring, sculptural splayed constructions are fabricated of industrial rebar and festooned in bougainvillea. These volumetric steel bowers provide a spot to stop, rest, and take in the scenery.
Water features are highlights of the Getty campus, bringing a lively energy to the gardens, and a refreshing ambiance to the main plaza that adds to an overall inviting atmosphere.
Robert Irwin’s Central Garden plan echoes a natural ravine in the existing topography, and features a rocky watercourse and ravine.
A favorite area at the Getty represents the work of Olin Partnership, Landscape Architects. Their design of the Getty Center Cactus Promontory presents an intriguing desert landscape, with the Los Angeles skyline providing a dramatic backdrop in the distance.