How Western artists do gardening

August 9, 2012 | By | Comments (7)
Trees made of rebar in the Central Garden at the Getty Center

Photographs courtesy of the Getty Center

A Westerner who isn’t a gardener created a Western garden. That’s the short version behind these awe-inspiring “trees” made from rebar and filled with bougainvillea in the Central Garden at L.A.’s Getty Center.

When San Diego artist — read, not a landscape designer — Robert Irwin was picked for the project 14 years ago, he challenged notions of what a garden should be. The result? An ever-changing outdoor museum that’s all West: Tree trunks from industrial leftovers, a floating maze crafted from azaleas, a stream with boulders used to tune the water’s sound.

The floating azalea maze in the Getty Center's Central Garden

The floating azalea maze in the Getty Center’s Central Garden

After closing for a few months for (imperceptible) hardscape renovations, the gardens have reopened. So, I don’t care how many pictures you’ve seen of them, or how many times you’ve been, GO.


  1. vinegirl

    I saw the host of Victory Gardens putting this bouganvillia and rebar together on one of their epsidodes.

    November 6, 2012 at 5:45 pm
  2. solarpan

    “Solar Power not only reduces greenhouse emissions and provides a renewable energy source. But lowers the cost of your energy bills.”

    solar power quotes

    September 12, 2012 at 8:43 am
  3. No ordinary trellis – Westphoria | A blog by Sunset

    […] really like the trend of artists turning their attention to the garden. Keep it up (in this case, literally). Tags: garden YOU MIGHT ALSO […]

    August 29, 2012 at 4:01 am
  4. Indore Flowers

    Hi — very nice metaphors! I teach holistic practitioners how to build their businesses, and I use the idea of the “personal compost pile” quite a lot in reference to life experiences many people would throw away or ignore. When you allow your whole life to be part of who you are now, you obtain quite a wonderful yield from every day! So, like Jillian, I’ll probably borrow the phrase, too because it works on so many levels.

    August 16, 2012 at 8:51 pm
  5. Gomes Nursery

    never seen anything like this before, would love to see the floating azalea maze.

    August 16, 2012 at 7:26 am
  6. Patti Kubran

    I love this concept of creating protection for the plants/trees. I took pictures of this several
    years ago when I first visited the Getty. I plan to make some of my own to protect plants
    from our local deer.

    August 11, 2012 at 1:05 pm
  7. Nurse Frugal

    So excited to see the changes!!! I LOVE the garden, it’s so unique and beautiful! I need to find out if they will be exhibiting Monet anytime soon at the museum.

    August 9, 2012 at 10:04 am

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