Throughout 2013, the Getty community participated in a rotation-curation experiment using the Getty Iris, Twitter, and Facebook. Each week a new staff member took the helm of our social media to chat with you directly and share a passion for a specific topic—from museum education to Renaissance art to web development. Getty Voices concluded in February 2014.—Ed.
When I was a little girl my dad, a nurseryman by trade, would take summer strolls with me in our backyard to peruse our strawberry patch and see how it was faring through the season. I would wait for him on the back porch in the early evening to arrive home from work, ready for our ritual. He would come take my hand in his—my tiny fingers could barely wrap around one of his rough and thorn-punched fingers—and we would search together to spot that signature red fruit. I’d watch Dad gently rake through the leaves until his palm would surface with at least two or three perfect strawberries. He’d hand them to me with the intent for me to eat them on the spot! And I did with great delight and a huge smile.
During those early years, I learned from my dad (and my grandpa, who founded and owned Marsh’s Nursery in Pasadena) that if we cultivate the land and help it grow, it always gives back. Today I’d like to give back and say thank you to the incredibly talented men (and woman!) of the Grounds and Gardens crew of the Getty Villa. This team performs backbreaking work every day. They elegantly trim, groom, sweep, rake, cut, haul, dig, harvest, and expertly beautify the full site and gardens. And it’s all done with a smile!
For two years we worked together side-by-side in the heat and in the rain. I had the pleasure of photographing to the beautiful melodies of gardeners whistling nearby. (Now that is a true moment when nature and humans synchronize!) The team was extremely supportive of my daredevil feats, like being 8 months pregnant photographing in a tree, or standing on a 10-foot wall to get the perfect shot. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
I give a special mention to Getty gardener Efrain Perez. He is a passionate employee who takes his job very seriously. He always says hello and greets each fellow employee and guest with a smile, an occasional hug, and sometimes a bundle of lavender. The success of the images of the hummingbird nest (below) goes to Efrain. Imagine the scene of me, eight months pregnant, in the rain, standing on a chair with a camera in one hand, and the other on Efrain’s shoulder. He stood there with his steel-toe boot under one foot of the chair so it wouldn’t sink in the mud, while balancing that chair and my weight for 15 minutes…all with a smile.
On any given day, Efrain would come into the studio with great excitement: “Come, come! I’ll show you. Let’s go! Let’s go!” He would take my hand in his—yes, rough and thorn-punched—and lead me out to the gardens. He would gently pull back the foliage to reveal a nest of baby swallows. And there I was, a five-year-old once again discovering nature!
Thank you for reading along this week as I’ve expressed myself and shared my work and passion for photography and wildlife. I am grateful.
Thank you Tahnee!
We all here at the Getty thank you personally, Anne, for your great supervision of this team. Greatness comes from the top!
Thank you for this wonderful post. Efrain is truly a wonderful human being; exactly as you describe him.
I really enjoyed this behind-the-scenes series, with such beautiful shots and thoughts!
Awesome! I’d love to go there one day and visit! Must be amazing.
What a wonderful story … You Tahnee are truly amazing and talented.
Thank you all for your kind words and support!
I appreciate the amazing gardeners at the Villa each week. I see them quietly working early mornings to keep the gardens so beautiful for all of the visitors. Each season is amazing. Thank you so much for highlighting them!
Great team and lovely article!! Efrain Perez always welcoming with his wonderful smile!
Hi, Lisa! Thanks for checking out the posts. Miss you and the rest of the RANDites. tlc