Two thousand miles east of L.A., the final touches are being put on a pint-sized version of the Getty Center—in flowers. The mini-Getty will be unveiled Friday at the Philadelphia Flower Show organized by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, which this year has challenged landscape architects to transform museums around the country into botanical form. Rising alongside the Getty Center are the Guggenheim, the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, the Barnes Foundation, and the North Carolina Museum of Art, to name just four of of this year’s participants.
The Philadelphia Flower Show is the world’s oldest and largest indoor flower show. (If you’re wondering why it’s indoors, check the weather in Philly today.) If it relates to plants, you’ll find it there: from massive displays of rare orchids to discussions on vegetable gardening to stop hunger.
Each participating museum worked with a garden designer who sought inspiration in its collections, buildings, or grounds. Our collaborator is the Philadelphia firm of Burke Brothers, whose landscape architect Vivianne Englund-Callahan created this SoCal moment in the middle of the Pennsylvania Convention Center. In a bird’s-eye-view, the 40-by-55-foot installation looks like an abstract painting, filled with blocks of contrasting colors and textures.
Two trellises, inspired by these lavender ones at the Getty Center, lead to a central open space surrounded by seating walls and flowering trees.
Englund-Callahan drew inspiration for the installation from several aspects of the Getty Center’s architecture and gardens—the travertine grid, the Azalea Pool, and the cactus garden on the South Promontory overlooking L.A. Also—and really, what plant-lover could resist?—she snuck in a nod to Van Gogh’s Irises.
The Getty-in-flowers opens to the public on March 1 and closes March 9. If you’re in Philly and lucky enough to see it and its neighbors on this unusual and completely original museum row, snap it and share with the hashtag #ARTiculture.