There once was a half city block in downtown Silver Spring, Maryland that was everyone's favorite place to hang out with the family. Toddlers ran around, teenagers flirted loudly. All that, and no danger of grass stains or those annoying insects – coz it was covered with artificial turf.
And its very popularity annoyed the crap out of actual landscape architects, as evidenced by the long and numerous stories about the dire situation in Landscape Architecture Magazine. Lots of regular gardeners were annoyed too, and horrified by the public's loudly proclaimed preference for the fake.
The gathering spot came to be called the "Silver Spring Lawn" and its popularity grew til it was abruptly turned into a construction site – for the city's new Civic Center, a rendering of which you see here. The outdoor space will be a skating rink that'll be used for concerts the rest of the year, plus lots of seating and unspecified landscaping around it all, with plants that will presumably be real.
I learned all about the civic center – indoors and out – because it was my assigned subject for a film production workshop I enrolled in over the winter. (The back story about the workshop and my attempts to do videos is all here.) Each film team was also assigned an interviewee, and ours was a county employee in charge of promoting the project. Film students and filmgoers, just imagine our eagerness to film a blizzard-battered construction site and a bureaucrat. But with access to photos of the cool spots in Chicago, New York, Toronto that inspired the architect for this project, and infectious music found by my very cool co-director, we were happy with the result. And boy howdy, so was our interviewee, who's now using our three minutes of video to build excitement for the project's grand opening. All good, but I still want to see the landscape design, which doesn't exist yet. Hope it wasn't a victim of "value engineering".
To see the video and a photo of the film production class and our teachers, click here.
The State of Gardening Videos Today
As much fun as the production workshop was, it wasn't cheap and the goal was to improve my garden and gardening videos, which up til now have been amateurish in the extreme (though about average for garden videos, I'd say). But that's my mini-rant; what do YOU think of gardening videos you're suddenly seeing everywhere? And what would you LIKE to see that isn't now available?
Next up for me is filming the first of hopefully many short tours of DC's awesome public gardens. Maybe I'll wait til after all the spring hoopla is over, though, because everyone already knows we have blooms now. Wowing people with DC's gardens in August would be much more fun.
Astroturf photo by M.