Gardens and Architecture, Getty Center

Winter in the Central Garden

Foliage of Eschscholzia california in the rain in the Central Garden at the Getty Center

The winter solstice marks the official start of winter—and the unfortunate decline of visitors to the Getty’s gardens. But our outdoor spaces are never more beautiful than in the colder months.

The last leaves fall from the plane trees, and the crape myrtles are go out in a blaze of copper. With leaf cover gone, the plants underneath—delicate grasses, lush succulents, and persistent flowers—become the center of attention. And when it’s wet out, even the rain becomes part of the sculpture.

Winter rain on foliage in the Central Garden at the Getty Center

Each November our gardeners plant hundreds of tulip and allium bulbs, which drink in the moisture from the dark, tilled soil, plotting their spring eruption. Gardeners also install over 75 dogwoods and willows that patiently wait out summer in our greenhouse. They’re a riot of gold, coral, and chartreuse stems.

Rain on dogwood bark in the Central Garden at the Getty Center

Also beautiful in the cooler months are many kinds of grasses, some with interesting tendrils and others with silvery seedheads that catch the sharp summer sun—when it chooses to show itself.

Seedheads from grass in the Central Garden at the Getty Center

Bunch grass seedheads in the Central Garden at the Getty Center

Even bark gets more interesting in winter, especially when splashed with rain. Look for the multi-toned bark of the crape myrtles around the azalea maze—which is just now coming into its earliest bloom, in anticipation of spring.

Don’t rush me, azaleas! I’m still enjoying the colors, textures, and even storms of our fleeting L.A. winter.

Crape myrtle bark in the Central Garden at the Getty Center

Rain on plane tree bark in the Central Garden at the Getty Center

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17 Comments

  1. Ann
    Posted December 22, 2010 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    Beautiful photos!

    • Posted December 22, 2010 at 11:58 am | Permalink

      Thanks Ann! I think a rainy day is among the best and most dramatic times to photograph a garden.

      • Resim Kursu
        Posted June 18, 2013 at 1:56 am | Permalink

        Thank you for your nice message.

  2. Gina
    Posted December 28, 2010 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    Beautiful and vibrant photos!

  3. Anjum Husain
    Posted February 16, 2013 at 11:29 pm | Permalink

    What beautiful pictures…amazing

  4. GIrdhar
    Posted March 9, 2013 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    Amazing Pics….

    Really nice, It gives peace

    Regards

  5. jennifer eve
    Posted May 14, 2013 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    Really nice pics it feels good to see them all.

  6. Resim Kursu
    Posted May 31, 2013 at 2:43 am | Permalink

    What about spring in the Central Garden?

    • Annelisa Stephan
      Posted May 31, 2013 at 10:14 am | Permalink

      Hi Resim, Well, that would be the logical next post, wouldn’t it! The Central Garden is lovely right now. We’ll put it on our slate to bring in some new photos.

  7. Lana Marshall
    Posted June 14, 2013 at 5:53 am | Permalink

    Amazing post! It’s a natural raining photo and Also beautiful in the cooler months are many kinds of grasses.

  8. John Keeler
    Posted July 16, 2013 at 1:55 am | Permalink

    Really nice pictures. I always take nature pictures in the warmer months, this will inspire me to take winter pictures that aren’t snow!

  9. Danielle Reiber
    Posted August 13, 2013 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    Nature is beautiful don’t you think. We need to preserve it more so we can see pictures like this.

  10. Peter Cirjak
    Posted August 15, 2013 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

    Wonderful pictures!

  11. Papp Tamás
    Posted October 16, 2013 at 12:44 am | Permalink

    Amazing photos.

  12. Mbaeh
    Posted October 31, 2013 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    Very Beautiful Pics!

  13. Kolbi Jozsi
    Posted February 3, 2014 at 4:14 am | Permalink

    Nice pictures!

  14. mobrmg
    Posted May 13, 2014 at 5:49 am | Permalink

    Really nice pictures. I always take nature pictures in the warmer months, this will inspire me to take winter pictures that aren’t snow!

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      What unexpected thing have you learned by working at a museum?

      "The more time you take with the art, the better. 

      The first time I saw a work by James Turrell, my eyes totally deceived me. I walked into the room (Acton, at the Indianapolis Museum of Art) and saw a gray rectangle “painting”, but I was baffled and could not figure it out- I got closer and closer until my face was pressed against the wall next to it, trying to figure out what it was. When my friend stuck her arm into the painting and revealed the illusion (a square cut into the wall and lit to look flat), my mind was blown! You got me so good, James.

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