Thursday, June 27, 2013

It Is Hard To Beat City Hall In Pasadena

They say 'you can't fight city hall.'

Of course, I grew up in Chicago when the first Richard Daley was ruler--oops, I mean, mayor, and where his powerful Democratic political machine got things done. Sometimes the politics got dirty;

some might even say kinda shady, too.

 I don't know anything about the politics in Pasadena, California. But when it comes to beautiful Spanish Colonial architecture, a courtyard garden with pink roses and the kind of shade provided by California live oak trees

--oh, and a Baroque-style fountain by the way--

then the beauty of this city hall might be tough to beat.

Showing up to work here to manage government or even paying a parking ticket could put me in a better mood just seeing this place.

 And, as noted on a Pasadena visitor website, residents here do take pride in their city hall, which was completed in 1927 by the San Francisco architectural firm of Blakewell and Brown. The building is on the national register of historic places.

Today I came across a book, The Gardens of Democracy, by Eric Liu and Nicholas Hanauer (2011). The title caught my interest right away. Briefly, the authors of this book want to change the way both liberal and conservative Americans view how their government works. Specifically, they would like to get rid of the government machine metaphor.
On their website, the authors write: "We believe instead that the right way to see things is through the metaphor of a garden: that we live and govern ourselves in complex systems that require tending; that the role of government and citizens alike is to seed, feed, and weed the gardens of our democracy." 

Cultivating democracy vs. machine politics. Hmm.
Something to consider this week as we celebrate independence day and the birth of our democratic nation. 

Meanwhile, I will be in my garden on July 4th, cultivating a variety of burgers on the grill. I hope you will be in a garden, too. Happy Independence Day!

This is GardenEnvy.

Copyright 2013 by Jeannine at 
GardenEnvy logo by dezine9. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Small Urban Garden In Los Angeles Serves Up A Tall Order

Decorative letter 't', with two books behind it. he Los Angeles Public Library building

is a landmark at 630 West 5th Avenue in central L.A.  It was built in 1926 by architect Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue    

in a Mediterranean revival style and is topped with a tile mosaic pyramid.
It certainly stands out in the modern downtown area of this west coast concrete jungle.

And the small but pleasant Maguire Gardens

just outside the building is the perfect soft antidote to all the hard concrete and tall steel.

There is a walkway through the small garden which is landscaped with borders of hedges, lots of trees including Jacaranda and tall Cypress,

a few fountains,

several benches for reading, of course,
 and there is a lovely restaurant with patio seating in the garden.

It is just enough green space to serve as a little sanctuary

for urbanites to come back down to earth in the midst of a skyscraper heaven in the city of angels.

This is GardenEnvy.

Copyright 2013 by Jeannine at 
GardenEnvy logo by dezine9. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Get Thee To The Getty Garden In Los Angeles

                        The central garden at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles is both garden and art. It was designed by artist Robert Irwin who started planning it in 1992.

 Three iron bowers filled with bougainvilleas are a beautiful feature here

and one of my favorites. Placed together in a triangular format they create a small shaded patio at the end of the 'zig zag garden' that is built around a small ravine.

I was here just a couple of weeks ago during the first week of June. I have been here before and the bougainvillea stands out in my mind from two previous visits. It is a perfect display for this large, thorny and showy vine.

 The brilliant hues of bougainvillea against the all-white museum building and blue skies made me think of my visit to Greece, where this vine is a standout for the same reasons.

They are stunning, especially against white backgrounds.

The maze of azaleas floating on a pond of water is another stunning feature at this garden. This is beautiful in green and must be amazing in early spring when the flowers are blooming! 

 I love seeing this maze from all angles, whether from under the angel's trumpet,

surrounded by the colorful garden,

or with the waterfall in the background.

 Engraved at the Getty museum garden is Irwin's statement, "Always changing, never twice the same." Of course, that is one of the attractions to gardens--living art, always a work in progress and, in this climate, available year round. So I plan to get back here when those azaleas are in bloom.

This is GardenEnvy.

Copyright 2013 by Jeannine. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Norton Simon Museum Sculpture Garden Carves Memorable Moments

The Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, California is a remarkable private collection and 
study in art, with paintings by the European masters: Renoir,
van Gogh, Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, and Italian artwork from the Renaissance.

It is also a study of sculpture:

 sculpture in a garden.

Suddenly, from different perspectives the combinations of plants and sculpture, and variations in light carve a new dimension that you can't experience inside a museum.

The soft twilight, the purple hue of the Jacaranda blooms and the reflections on the pond painted a romantic glow last Friday evening.

There is a small treasure trove of Rodin sculptures placed in the front of the museum that initially sets the stage

but the back garden steals this show.

It was an unplanned stroll through a lovely garden and art museum with my husband
 last Friday evening;

one of those things that just sort of worked out spontaneously when we arrived in town around the dinner hour and learned that the museum is open late on Friday nights. And, as we learned when we got there, admission is free on the first Fridays of the month.

As I said, one of those things that just worked out.

 I love when that happens.

A memorable evening of great art and a beautiful garden in Pasadena.
And there is nobody else that I would rather share these moments with.

This is GardenEnvy.

Copyright 2013 by Jeannine. All Rights Reserved.