Irwin
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At the Getty Central Garden with Robert Irwin

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Robert Irwin, the artist who designed the Central Garden at the Getty Center, has walked the landscape monthly ever since it opened a decade ago. He quietly retired this year, ending his role as shepherd of what he has long called “sculpture in the form of a garden.” Irwin is shown beneath bougainvillea shooting from rebar bowers, one of several visually playful elements of his creation. (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)
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Irwin’s design is composed of three parts: the plaza, the Bowl Garden and the Stream Garden, shown here with its London plane trees leafing out in April. (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)
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The colors and textures of the Central Garden are captured in springtime. Here, Canary Island daisy in its peak bloom. (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)
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A lone blue bloom rises among a sea of yellow ‘Bronze Beauty’ irises. (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)
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Allium ‘Mt. Everest White’ sends up clouds of flowers. (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)
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Geranium maderense, which can bloom spring to midsummer, brightens the Central Garden. (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)
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Allium ‘Globemaster’ sprouts bulbs worthy of Dr. Seuss treatment. (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)
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Though Irwin was criticized for his plant selection in the water-bound azalea maze, he still defends his choice. “I was looking for a plant that had certain properties, and the azalea kept coming up as a possibility,” the artist said, later adding: “There is a famous azalea grower in Altadena called the Nuccio Brothers. For four generations, that’s all they’ve done is grow azaleas. They told me which azaleas are going to do [what], which peat moss to get, how they should be grown. I did my homework.” (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)
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“There’s no palette as rich as a garden,” Robert Irwin says. “And the intensity of it — I make this statement all the time: You can’t plan nature; you court her.” (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)
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