How Western artists do gardening

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.


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

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.