Students are back to school, weather has (kind of) cooled, and fall is nearly upon us. But in the Getty Center’s Central Garden, there is only more summer. The garden is in a state of delightful renewal. As plantsman Jim Duggan told me, “There are only three seasons in the garden—winter, spring, and summer.” That’s right: until the winter rains hit, it’s still officially summer.

Restored Color


Million bells (Calibrachoa sp. ‘Calipetite’)


Dahlia cultivar (Dahlia sp. ‘Tanjo’)

The peak of summer brought dahlias of all colors to life. Yellows, purples, reds, and pinks burst like fireworks against the blue summer sky. As the dahlias finish their bloom through mid-September, gorgeous petunias and other bright annuals are ready to jump in.

Look out for the tropical canna flowers in the stream garden. They’re daring red and totally striking. On the path to the bowl garden you might catch the second bloom of the show-stopping hibiscus flowers. Here you might also notice some petunias, ornamental peppers (very, very spicy), and playful textures of foliage in the shrubs.

Tropical canna flower

Canna lily (Canna sp. ‘Black Knight’)


Coleus (Plectranthus sp.)

New Beginnings

This year, for the first time since the Getty Center’s opening 17 years ago, two things have changed. The first is easy to notice—the bougainvillea have been pruned. They’ll continue to flower and grow through the rest of the warmer months, but now with fresher energy.

To notice the second, you’d have to read between the lines, or rather, look between the plants.

A layer of mulch has been added to the stream garden, specifically designed by Robert Irwin with dark-as-coffee soil, to conserve water. Mulch keeps the soil moist longer, slows the growth of weeds, and promotes growth of these little seedlings.


New life in the stream garden

Enjoy the colors of the extended summer garden until the start of November.