Springtime At The Getty: “Birds Are Singing, The Azaleas Are Glowing”

It’s springtime at the Central Garden. Birds are singing, the azaleas are glowing, and burgundy tulips and blue irises line the paths. However, the crowds are gone—the Getty Center has closed temporarily to minimize the spread of coronavirus.

View back toward the Getty Center from the furthest point of the Central Garden Sarah Waldorf
A view back toward the Getty Center from the furthest point of the Central Garden. Photo by Sarah Waldorf

The J. Paul Getty MuseumThe quiet comes at a time of transition for the garden. Spring always brings change and renewal, but this year Getty’s new horticulturist, Jackie Flor, has been trying to channel the vision of the garden’s creator, artist Bob Irwin, as she brings the garden back to his original intent

Does the new Golden Celebration rose with its rich, sweet scent honor Irwin’s intentions for that spot?  How about the trio of new Redbuds ready to pop? And how would he feel about her attempts to curtail the wildly proliferating Madeira Island Geranium? Yes, they were his favorite plant, but they have run rampant.

“I’m not heartless,” she said a few weeks ago about the robust plants with pink flowers. “But they need to be tucked back into their proper place.”

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