The DC Environmental Film Festival is ON and gardening is on the agenda! Check out these gardening-related or gardening-relevant films, most of them free. Links to the movie titles have information about buying tickets.
March 21: Harmony, about Prince CharlesD.C. Premiere For three decades, The Prince of Wales has worked side-by-side with a dynamic array of environmental activists, business leaders, artists, architects and government leaders to address the global environmental crisis and find ways toward a more sustainable, spiritual and harmonious relationship with the planet. More.
March 22: The Voices of Transition. United States Premiere Taking us to France, England and Cuba, this passionate film on farmer and community-led responses to food insecurity presents solutions that are excellent in their common sense, simplicity and low cost, as well as their ecological integrity. More.
Launching today, the 5-minute documentary chronicles one man’s journey to reclaim an abandoned piece of land in Park View neighborhood of D.C. and transform it into a shared green space for his neighbors. It shows the determination of one person to build a green space for his neighbors in one of DC’s many “food deserts.”
Another documentary of interest to gardeners? The Corner Plot about 70-something Charlie Koiner of Silver Spring. It’s being shown this Thursday the 17th with two other shorts. Just follow this link to find out about it and other food-related documentaries being screened at the DC Environmental Film Festival. (That link takes you to The Slow Cook by DC food and food-growing blogger Ed Bruske.) Or click here to see learn about ALL the films being screened.)
I saw “The corner Plot” last summer when it was shown outdoors at the fountain in downtown Silver Spring. Big crowd-pleaser, with gardeners and nongardeners alike.
by Susan Harris
The Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital is back this year and a terrific documentary about community gardens will be making its world premiere there. Called “A Community of Gardeners” at I predict it’ll be a big hit with the crowd, based on the reaction at the in-progress screening of this film that I saw a year ago. I remember sitting next to Judy Tiger, a long-time community-garden organizer in D.C., and when the movie was over she turned to me and said, “I could watch community gardeners all night long. I didn’t want the movie to end.” Me, too! And congratulations to filmmaker Cintia Cabib for capturing the spirit of the gardens and especially, the gardeners.
TWO TIMES AND PLACES:
Thursday, March 24, at 7 p.m. at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, two blocks from Metro Center on the Red, Blue and Orange lines.
Friday, March 25, at 4 p.m. at the Town Hall Education Arts Recreation Campus (THEARC) in Anacostia, a few blocks from the Southern Avenue Metro on the Green line.
Each screening will be followed by a Q & A and discussion with filmmaker Cintia Cabib and community garden staff members. Please click here for ticket and reservation information and directions to each screening.
We know you’ll all want to hear author Catherine Zimmerman talk about reducing our lawns and bringing some ecological balance to our yards. She’ll be doing exactly that this Saturday Dec 4 at our Beltsville store, from 11 to noon. Also, signing her book,Urban and Suburban Meadows, Bringing Meadowscaping to Big and Small Spaces, a step-by-step guide to installing meadows.
Here’s Catherine being profiled by Jane Pauley!
Guest post by Catherine Zimmerman, author of Urban and Suburban Meadows.
I’m dreaming of a vibrant spring meadow with Wild columbine, False blue indigo, Beard tongue, Yarrow, Lupine, Spiderwort, Shooting star and Virginia bluebells!
As we go into the gardener’s twiddle your green thumbs season, why not dream up a new landscape? A meadowscape! Contrary to popular belief, meadows do not need to be great big fields of flowers and grasses. You can have a meadow garden in as little as a 25-foot square, sunny corner of your yard where you don’t need lawn.
Why convert some or even all of your lawn into a meadow planting?
Lawns tend to be monocultures (single species) of non-native grass that typically cover large areas of the yard. So why is that a problem? Single species landscapes, be it all grass or some other ground cover, offer no plant diversity. Plant diversity is important because our birds, butterflies, bees, beneficial insects and small mammals depend on a rich variety of plants as hosts (specific plants where insects lay eggs), for food, nesting material and cover. A landscape with diverse plants supports a diversity of good insects like ladybugs, lacewings, parasitic mini-wasps, dragonflies and birds that are the natural enemies of many garden pests. Some native meadow plants, that either host or attract these beneficial insects are; Yarrow, Mallow, Butterfly weed, Beard tongue, Aster, Bee balm, Goldenrod and Black-eyed Susans. The list goes on!
All plants have needs in terms of site conditions such as: wet, dry, sandy, rocky, clay, high organic matter or even poor soil settings. When the meadow plant is matched with the correct site conditions, (Right Plant, Right Place), the plant will thrive with little attention. Unlike a lawn, a meadow, planted with site conditions in mind, requires no fertilizer, no pesticides and no water. Meadow plants can flourish even in the poorest soil environments.
A lawn must be mowed over and over from spring through frost. Meadows are mowed once in late winter or early spring. Leaving your meadow planting up over the winter provides food and habitat for meadow inhabitants.
Unlike turf grass, meadows have very deep root systems that serve to control erosion and block pollutant run-off from entering waterways.
Cost: Once the meadow is established, meadow plants will outcompete the weeds. Little maintenance is required versus a lawn. Lawns are typically watered, mowed, fertilized and treated with pesticides at a surprising cost. A study of a seeded, 1/3-acre site, planted in meadow versus lawn, shows a $20,000 savings to the homeowner over a ten-year period when a meadow is planted as a lawn alternative.
Meadows are beautiful, colorful and ever changing. They evoke a sense of peace and calm while the activity of the meadow’s inhabitants provides endless enjoyment.