Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Elegant Symmetry - Lush Greenery ... Getty Villa

An Italian Stone Pine graces an alcove near the entrance to the Getty Villa.

Architectural embellishments link the interior of the Getty Villa Museum to the exterior spaces. An inlaid marble pattern replicates a floor in the ancient Villa dei Papiri, at the Villa's Temple of Herakles.

In the Outer Peristyle garden, a bronze sculpture is placed as it would appear at the Villa dei Papiri.

Machado and  Silvetti Associates of Boston redesigned the Getty Villa site, a 12-year undertaking. Upon reopening in 2006, a contemporary take on an ancient structure emerged on the Getty campus: A 450-seat open-air classical amphitheater; approached from a new elevated walkway. T, my traveling companion, waits patiently.

In the skillfully balanced layout of the Outer Peristyle, pomegranate trees and Grecian laurels 
provide structure, abetted by sweet violets. The Outer Peristyle's formal pool ... edged in ivy topiaries. 
Gallica, damask and musk roses create background effects. 

Decorative paving enhances the garden's symmetry.
An inviting destination year-round: Admission to Getty Villa is free, however, advance timed tickets are required.
The Lion Head Fountain adorns the Herb Garden, planted with medicinal, culinary, & species with religious significance. Fruit and fragrance meld here amid plums and limes, olive and quince, peach and fig trees; the earth blanketed in ground-covering lemon balm.

The Inner Peristyle garden utilizes motifs from nature, such as Acanthus leaves.

The Inner Peristyle's intimate confines center upon a lovely reflecting pool, 
while marble basins punctuate each corner of the garden.

Women drawn to a stream are replicated in the garden's bronze sculptures.
Click on links below - Getty Villa Part I & II


  1. I love the papyrus and Stone Pine. About now I could dive into the pool and float after swimming a few laps! As always your photos are lovely and presented with interesting perspectives.

  2. Hello Alice,

    It is obviously a very beautiful garden to visit. I like the bronze statues that flank the pool, but my favorite is the bronze in the middle of the pool.

  3. A 12 year undertaking? I couldn't undertake this in 12,000 years! Elegant is the perfect word for this. It really is stunning. I have to say that I also truly enjoyed the virtual sunshine. hehe. It's rainy and grey in my neck of the woods so that sunshine was an added bonus. Thank you for the pick me up!

  4. Hi Alice, I think I probably know the answer to this question but are people allowed to wade in the formal pool? It looks so refreshing. Getty Villa looks like the setting for an epic romance novel.

  5. Great post on symmetry. The balance is so calming. And I almost feel warm looking at your photos.

  6. What great photos, it is such a special place. I am feeling guilty that I have not been to see the Getty villa since the remodel...I only live about 40 minutes away!

  7. I like the Inner Peristyle garden with the reflecting pool. Lucky you to get to visit. Lucky us that you share your photos!

  8. A very attractive garden - though I think the tiles in the formal pool could have been a different colour - it looks more like a giant swimming pool (perhaps it was?). There is a very good balance between the formal planting and the hard landscaping. I have tried growing Cyperus papyrus but have never been able to keep it over the winter, even under cover.

  9. I like the first two photos but a bit too ornate the rest of the gardens are for me. I think Getty used to own a modest manor house near here Sutton Place which I confess to never having visited the gardens but believe they were lovely.

  10. Sounds like the vote is split on whether to install an ancient Roman Villa with formidable bronze statuary in the back yard... We could all afford to if we wished to have such a garden, right ;~))

    Thanks Noelle, Deb, Easy, and all, for dropping by, your comments are appreciated.

    Carol, I am glad to hear you enjoy the perspectives - deciding where and how to frame a photo is still intriguing to me.

    It's always fun to recall the brilliant sunshine in L.A., as it reflects off the Pacific. Grey, here, too, so I'm craving blue skies.

    Get yourself over there :O)

    I had better not find you wading about in the long reflecting pool!

    I've had not luck with papyrus, either. It's a wonderful plant given the right situation. And yes, the color choice for the paving seems a bit odd, but perhaps it, too, is a replication from Villa dei Papiri.

    Getty died at his home in England, as I recall. I need to check, but believe he may not have seen the Villa's completed renovation, if my memory serves.

    Did you catch a glimpse of Tomas: my driver/husband/garden companion?

  11. Alice, you truly are blessed. I clearly need to get out more... preferably, somewhere in Californ-eye-yay! Great pictures and narrative.

  12. Perhaps Thomas like me enjoys a less formal garden, a riot of cottage garden plants perhaps or just his newspaper.

  13. oh why can't I have a garden like that? So beautiful, thanks for showing me around (and BLUE sky - lovely)

  14. What a lovely tour round this garden - so elegant and orderly. And I'm hungry for sunny shots at this dark time of year in Scotland.
    Interesting to read your comment about Forsythia not flourishing where you are. I guess it needs that chill factor.

  15. What an absolutely lovely garden. It makes me wish I could have lived in another era- filthy rich of course, and just while away the time in the herb garden and inner peristyle.