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Los Angeles

Getty Center Central Gardens

Getty Center Architecture: Richard Meier

Getty Center - 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.

Getty Waterfall Photo © Alice Joyce

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.

Photo © Alice Joyce

Getty Garden Maze Photo © Alice Joyce

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.

Getty Plaza Pool Photo © Alice Joyce

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.

Getty Plaza Fountain Photo © Alice Joyce

Robert Irwin’s Central Garden plan echoes a natural ravine in the existing topography, and features a rocky watercourse and ravine.

Getty Center Ravine in Fall Photo © AliceJ oyce

Canon – my camera of choice ..

Tibouchina Photo © Alice Joyce

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.

Modern Landscape Architecture on

Getty Promontory Photo © Alice Joyce

Visit the Getty Center Central Garden

The Getty Villa – Malibu …. on Alice’s Garden Travel Buzz

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