Wednesday, February 26, 2014

An arty garden

Finally I've made a couple of trips and have some new gardens to tell you about. Over the weekend, I travelled to Los Angeles with my friend Jim to visit two art galleries, both of which have great gardens. I'll tell you about our second visit first as it was the smaller and easier to describe. The Norton Simon Museum, located in Pasadena, just outside LA has beautiful art collections, including much sculpture located around the garden. Norton Simon himself was an industrialist, owning corporations such as Max Factor, Avis car rental  and Canada Dry. His amazing art collection was amassed over a short 30 year period and found a home in the Pasadena Art Museum which was eventually housed in the current striking building in 1969. The building wraps around the garden designed by Nancy Goslee Powers in 1999 on the site of an established garden originally called Carmelita.

The centre of the garden is an informal lake around which there are meandering paths and beautiful plantings, designed as settings for the many pieces of sculpture. There are numerous examples of sculpture by Rodin, Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth and other 20C sculptors. Each piece is beautifully integrated into the garden with real sympathy and unlike other sculpture gardens, is not overcrowded. Having been horrified to see a young person being warned for touching a priceless painting, it was most embarrassing to be reprimanded ourselves for sitting on the rough stone base of a Henry Moore! Woops!

Love the shadows on the wall behind

The climate in this area is mild and frost free although not so hot and harsh as Palm Springs. Exotics such as Strelitzia, Chrondropetalum and Aeonium mingled with more temperate species such as Phlomis, Nandina, Euphorbia and even grape hyacinths. Later in the summer the pool will be ablaze with marginal irises, water cannas  and water lilies. In particular we were fascinated by the huge pods and escaping fluffy seeds of the silk floss tree.

Dried seedpods of Koelreuteria

A shrubby Tagetes

Strelitzia of course - part of a huge bed of them


Silk floss tree - Ceibia speciosa

Silk floss tree in flower - not taken at Norton Simon!
Doryanthes palmeri - Palmer Spear lily

An Aloe - don't know the species

Seedpods of Cassia leptophylla - gold medallion tree
Dead flower husks on a young liriodendron - tulip tree. Never seen so many on a young tree and it wasn't a freak as there were several similar aged specimens.

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