Green Gardeners in training!

Ready to go drought resistant with your landscaping and wonder where to find help?

Commissioner Paula Daniels
of the Department of Public Works has recognized the problem and is doing something about it. She is developing a program that will retrain and certify the gardeners that do landscape maintenance so that they are able to support our efforts to replace turf lawns with drought resistant landscaping. This program is also vital so that they have continued employment. You played a part by completing the survey that we circulated in July.

Christopher McKinnon of the MVCC has been working closely with the Commissioner and shares his recent experience with the team developing this program -

I had met Mario Lopez and Raul Anorve of IDEPSCA at a Green Gardener organizing meeting hosted by Public Works Commissioner Paula Daniels and offered my yard as an example of what future green gardeners would have to learn in order to get hired by the ever growing numbers of citizens who are removing their turf and replacing it with water wise plants and hardscape.

On a sunny morning a few weeks ago about 40 trainees in IDEPSCA’s green gardener training program stopped by our yard to view the drought tolerant mostly California natives that had replaced our lawn front and back. IDEPSCA is the Institute of Popular Education of Southern California in Spanish, a non-profit which educates low income Latina and Latino immigrants concerned with solving problems in their own communities.

Little did I know that I would be professor for the next two hours. Luckily I had before and during pictures of the turf removal and had practiced oratory about the process at the Mar Vista Community Council green booth a few Sundays ago.

We were do it yourselfers so I have an innate sense of what it takes to make the lawn removal to green transition. My wife Pat and I were peppered with non stop questions that participants had on their worksheets that we were not privy to. How much did it cost, what is the name of that plant, you have vegetables, what kind of sprinkler system etc. We were also able to showcase and demo the city installed rainwater harvesting pilot program rain barrel. We simulated rain with our hose aimed at our roof.

After the barrage we toured around the block to view from the street four other green garden showcase participants and others. We stopped off at the Beyond The Lawn vegetable garden of Yvette Roman and Fred Davis and Fred gave impromptu info on their lawn to vegetable oasis.

We ended up on Marcasel Avenue side of LA Fire Department #62 along the 300’ bare wall. I pointed out the missing plants and vines and the invasion of weeds and grass. I received a pledge from Mario that his group would volunteer to help weed and replant if we got permission from LAFD to install drought tolerant California native vines and plants.

I believe it was of help in the education and transition of garden workers to the “new” Los Angeles landscape.