Friday, May 03, 2013

Gettin' Getty

I live in the Land of Enchantment - Yucca is our state flower, rock is evident in much of it, and cactus abounds in the natural areas where 2/3 of our population resides. Too bad our little "xeriscape" clique misses and even knocks that trinity.

I don't, and the Getty Center in Los Angeles (LA) gets their own trinity of dry gardens!

Some comments, many photos - taken 4/7/2013.
The Getty, as it's also called, used many similar plant forms to ours', plus
hardscape materials in grand style. 


Shadows from a softer, coastal light

This place is huge, not including the art museum part, of which we barely saw.

OK, I barely saw anything in my 2 hours there, so make
 a full day of Getty. Including seeing a couple favorite spots at various times of the day, in case the light does something different. And dodge into the interior art spaces, in-between.

This is the garden before you go anywhere, at the top of the elevator, before boarding the tram.

Formality, assymetrical balance, angles, soft and sharp, and color without flowers

Even where not blooming, Getty was off the chart! So is their culture's embrace of budgets commensurate with expectations, for their outdoor living spaces. It was in the upper 60's, by the way...room temperature.

Cor-Ten steel, edges along planters where the grade changes, pleached Crepe Myrtle standards

Mediterranean meadow and hedges, with the typical California mountains spotted by various Quercuses (my own word)...imagine being the only person sitting out there like the couple on the far right, for hours and hours?

Discrete, but powerful flower massing, via lavenders

Regarding more applicable garden and landscape traditions, I think horticulturist Panayoti Kelaidis once asked something like, "what if the pilgrims landed ashore in La Jolla...?" That's about 100 miles south.

I can tell you exactly what I would be doing and wouldn't have to do today, and I bet I'd be mostly correct.

Discrete use of water and xeric plants

Stone pavers, moss, and vines against a north-facing stone wall

Nice paving design, nice budget...same stone, but less moss out in the open 



Sunset Zone 23...someone has to live there, and most every succulent on earth

The Getty has had a college night for years. Imagine seeing a great live band
in this place, with old and new friends, among all this creative energy?

The most recent one - here

Watch the video, too, and see how some attendees got inspired. For those who
land a good job in places like Albuquerque or your city, I wonder how they will
now view gardens, once art and science meet?

My guess is some will want a great garden and not settle for covering their
ground cheaply with gravel and a few scattered, inappropriate plants...

I bet you know where I'm going!

Succulent heaven, color and mingling

Great mix of hardscape and plants - seat wall, gravel, low and dwarf-tree succulents

There! This is what some people like me get fixated on, when we hear "Getty".

Having been, I'm now into so much more there.

And some of that plant trinity, LA-style! The 405, AKA San Diego Freeway, which
snakes towards where I lived over 20 years ago - drum roll - San Diego!


"LA is a great big freeway..."

A little damage on an Opuntia robusta, maybe from some cold this past winter? Or is it water or soil-related?

Variation within mass

It's popular among some here to ask, "but what happens when a few of those
plants (barrel cacti) die?" Sheesh!

Even a few random grasses (weeds?) popping up among the cacti adds
interest, before they are pulled out by very careful workers.

My favorite plant grouping

A larger water feature, using similar paving seen earlier

Are those Dawn Redwood or Bald Cypress trees?

The massings of Italian Stone Pine / Pinus pinea, at their peak in the Mediterranean climate of places like greater LA. They love it in the desert southwest, too, and old gardens far east into the Texas Hill Country like Fredericksburg have some...but they get larger than this. Much. 60-80' tall. That's alot of pine nuts.

Nearing dinner time, we drove down Live Oak Encino Blvd to our alfresco dining experience, wine, and even count black Mercedes Benz cars all the way, before I had to turn in and drive back to Las Vegas. It's a business trip, don'tcha know?

Next time, more time. Including the Getty Villa in Malibu, just miles and 20 minutes to 2 hours away, depending on the time of day one attacks yet another destination among LA's endless offerings.

More on the Getty's gardens - here...and things to do with children - here. I recommend for any trip made with kids to LA, to have 1 day at the Getty for 1 day at Disneyland or even roller-coaster heaven, Magic Mountain.

Glad I didn't visit the Huntington museum and gardens, or Lotusland this trip?

- - -
Some of you know my move and the start of the rest of my life is drawing near.

This may be my last large post on this blog, even with over 100 post ideas in queue which I'll mostly delete, though I'll try to keep the Desert Edge online. But before I go, I have some smaller posts to do. And if all goes well, I'll start a new blog where I land, and post that new location on this blog.

I have many memories of the relationships I've made and lost over these years!


















38 comments:

  1. Love the photos.
    You're moving? Best wishes for whatever comes next, and I hope to see a new blog soon.

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    1. Thanks, it is a must-see in LA. I am moving, and hopefully I'll continue with a new blog!

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  2. Lovely images, but you know I don't like that last part. I don't know what I'll do without my desert fix every now and again.

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    1. Thanks, Danger. Last part - there's a 75% chance it will be to a desert city, but even if the 25% comes true (or I ditch all those and go to Alaska), I will find desert posts. Oh yes, I shall...

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  3. Good luck with your move. I've enjoyed this blog, and I hope wherever you end up, you will continue to inspire and teach us. As for the Getty, it is fabulous. I've never seen crape myrtles pleached - what a great idea! Love all the colors in the photo with the caption "Sunset Zone 23". And I love mass plantings - it's funny, but the mass plantings of the barrel cacti make each one look so unique and individual.

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    1. I will certainly try, and I'll continue learning from "all y'all", as I hear in Texas! That place was brimming with creativity, regardless it was on a contemporary theme. The colors - yes, succulents we far from zone 23 haven't a hope to do. But the barrels - I noticed that individuality, too.

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  4. I have been there and it is gorgeous. Seems to me I even did some sketching there.
    Where are you moving too? Please be sure to keep us tuned in with the new city and new blog.

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    1. Next time, I hope to linger all day (and spend time inside), if you couldn't tell! Still undecided, a tough decision.

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  5. Yours is my favorite blog. You have one of the few "gardening" blogs that is actually written by a contentious professional. Who else talks about the design-maintenance connection? Good luck and please don't disappear.

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    1. Thanks so much - I would have a hard time choosing my favorite blog! I will try not to vanish, at least not for long.

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  6. I'm so glad you got to go to the Getty and blogged about it so we could see it through your eyes. Next time we are in LA. We were there for UT at the Rose Bowl a few years ago and did every garden we could find. Alas there was only time to do the Getty Villa But after its makeover that was interesting. Move? I hope you will keep us up to date. Good luck.

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    1. I want to see the villa next time, too. And some of the gardens at the Huntington. Just too much to do there. I will definitely keep everyone updated where I end up touching the ground!

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  7. My mom, of all the people, sent me an article about the Getty garden when it first opened. Great story about its garden designer.... Must get there some day.

    A picture with a word is plenty for me, from you, on your blog.

    I have no worries for you. You're being moved by Providence to exactly where you need to be. Enjoy the ride. Even the scary bits, and the painfully slow stretches.

    Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

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    1. Even though I was always a Dodgers fan, I guess living in San Diego had me knocking LA like their locals do. But really a unique place and more to do than humanly possible. Glad I inspired you to go some day, and I really appreciate your encouragement...I'm going to need it to get it all done!

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  8. You have shown images I don't remember seeing anywhere else. Your comment on the combinations along with attention to light and shadow are so valuable in understanding a place I would love to visit.

    When we lived there, the villa was my favorite place so I've always wanted to see the new place.

    I had wondered what you would do with the blog, now I know. A whole new blog for a big life change. Decision time is getting close so should be fun to hear.

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    1. Very glad to show more than the cactus promentory - I didn't even get to all of my photos, or other areas of the grounds, let alone inside. It was h-uuuu-ge!

      Blog name change, and possibly a change in my business name depending on locale, too!

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  9. David,
    I'm going to miss you blog. Your ability to both see and explain is a rare gift. I'm sure I'm not the only one who's had their eyes opened and their appreciation enriched by reading your blog. Thank you and best of luck in your new endeavor.

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    1. Thanks, that's encouraging! Though where I relocate to, it will be a new place but still the same edgy me. I hope to keep shedding new light on how I see outdoor spaces there!

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  10. Wow - what an amazing place.

    I'm an (sadly) infrequent visitor but have enjoyed your insights into a way of planting which differs so much to what we have here in England. Already I'm looking at your inspirational images and thinking about the alternatives which would work well over here.

    Good luck in your new endeavours :)

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    1. It was so enjoyable - definitely great to make a full day of it!

      Thanks for visiting again - I do remember you from past visits, including my visiting your blog. Yes, different, but I think classic design principles can be adapted anywhere, including with a modern twist! Thank you - I hope to continue from a new vantage point soon after I move.

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  11. Oh David, if you don't keep blogging my brain may just shrivel up. I will miss you very VERY much. I hope "the start of the rest of your life" is an AMAZING ONE. Exciting...and filled with all things good. :)
    I love this post - the pictures, each of them, may just be some of the most inspiring I have seen. That mass planting! Incredible. Hard to focus on anything other than you possibly stopping blogging. :(

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    1. How nice, but even if I stopped, never designed one landscape or even visited one again, you would do great! But I'm sure I'll be back - same me, different place, at least address... Thanks - I think it will be, especially since I'm not decided...I may go to ATX and SA next week and the Wildflower Ctr garden tour, as I want to check out your region 1 last time.

      Getty - I thought of you & your family when I finished up my post. Hope you can visit some day!

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  12. The Getty visit was terrific, Dave. Lots of great design and plants. Best of luck with your move. I have really enjoyed this blog and look forward to the next. I agree that the principles are the same no matter where you roam. That is why, that what ever you talk about, it has always resonated even here in New Hampshire. I am looking forward to getting a vicarious thrill wherever you land!

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    1. And still a few more design ideas I saw that I intend to post on...one place I might move puts me 4+ hours from LA, so there might be more in the future. The same is true, New England to the SW...loving all this sharing of design principles with different ingredients!

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  13. Good luck on the move...I hope you share where you're moving to, wherever that may be :-)

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    1. Thanks, señor! Very soon, once I decide, I will let you all know my final destination. As fast as it's all happening, it might wait until I'm there? (already reserved 2 blog names - 1 name for 3 different desert towns, the other name for a very non-desert city:-)

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  14. Man, what a great final post!

    Who can not be awed by the Getty gardens? Interesting that you've skipped the very flowery Irwin Central Garden and shown us some of the surrounding plantings, including the cool work down by the parking that nobody seems to take time to notice. I'm glad you did!

    I'm of course curious about the further developments. From Desert Edge to Water's Edge or something radical like that? I hope that once life settles down you'll continue to share your travels and insights!

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    1. Thanks, though I have a few more to come, just not quite Getty! Truth is we ran out of time, and maybe it takes more than 1 day just to see the outside there...

      Water's Edge could be cool...hmmm. Yes, a fun journey is about to start...almost picked a place!

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  15. What a cool place - thanks for letting me visit vicariously!

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    1. You bet...I needed much more time there! If I move your way, Getty will be way out of reach...if I move west, it will be a 5 hour trip! BTW, I talked w/ your brother-in-law earlier...

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  16. I was really enjoying scrolling through your photos and then I got to the rooftop shot - and had to let out a 'whoa' when I saw it. I agree entirely with your favourite plant grouping. They look like something erupting! But then to the end of your post......damn it David, I only just arrived at this blog. This is not good. I salute your plan to move on to new things but only if you continue to blog.

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    1. Glad you enjoyed...Getty was so vibrant it was like an eruption of creativity and inspiration what little I saw. Thanks for the compliment - many more post before this one, as well as some more to come, before I re-group. In fact, as I type, I'm visiting / scouting out Austin, Texas...about to go on a garden tour put on by the Wildflower Center, so that might reap a few posts alone!

      Prediction - I will continue blogging from my new destination!

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  17. Your tour of the Getty was fabulous, unlike any other tour of the place I've seen. Thank you! Not knowing in which area of the country you'll be starting the rest of your life must be both exciting and frustrating. What brought on this change? Like many others, I'll miss this blog but am glad you'll continue blogging in your new area. Please keep us posted about where we can find you in the future. I hope all goes well for you!

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    1. Thanks, I was trying to catch more of all their great design ideas along the way we walked. A definite when going to LA!

      For me, it was finally being able to move to find a place where I'm wanted for being a landscape architect into native plants / sense of place, than to be just needed but not wanted. It feels better than ever, leaving it all

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  18. Loved touring the Getty with you, and appreciated not having to drive north up the 405! It's just 20 miles from me, but like you say, 20 miles could mean 2 hours plus in travel time. Best of luck with your big adventure, but please keep blogging!

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    1. OK, OK, I promise! (to try to keep blogging) So much at Getty, I have to return...for 2 straight days...even if I have to endure some traffic.

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  19. Great pictures! I'll have to visit the Getty...someday.

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    1. Thanks, D.! A definite worthwhile trip...the museum insides as good as the outsides...

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