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Women in the Dirt

Articles: Women in the Dirt

The notion of a landscape as a stage for our lives is an apt, if somewhat simplistic, concept for an extremely complex set of factors that impact our daily lives.  Streets and sidewalks, public and private spaces, the natural and built environment around us is where we work, relax, engage and retreat.  Women in the Dirt is a documentary about seven remarkable California landscape architects who creatively collaborate with clients, the land, the climate, and their imagination to craft an environment that are both beautiful and functional. Inspiring and thoughtful, this is a film sure to make us all look up from our personal garden realm to consider the larger world around us, and the influence of those who shape it.

Released in 2011, Women in the Dirt has received numerous awards and recognition. For information about the director and crew of the film, find out about screening in your area, or purchase a DVD copy go to www.womeninthedirt.com.

Pamela Palmer
Blue Oak Woodlands, Sonoma, CA

“When things are simple, you notice detail. When they are quiet, you hear the rustle.” – Pamela Palmer

Pamela Palmer has the eye of an artist and the heart of a scientist and a healer. Her fascination with water and light infuse her work at every level. Focusing on habitat rather than strictly ornamental gardens, Palmer’s designs are both Modern and meditative.

Isabelle C Greene
Valentine Garden, Montecito, CA

“I don’t believe in struggle … The plants that were here originally can be used for just about all the purposes that imported plants can be used for.” – Isabelle C Greene

Isabelle C Greene believes in the natural beauty of native plants and providing a landscape of “exquisite comfort” that is as bold and risky as it is sweet and fresh. As the film states, Greene’s goal is to reveal California in her designs.

Mia Lehrer
Vista Hermosa Park, Los Angeles, CA

“As landscape architects we are equipped … to deal with the issues of our time. And we have a certain level of responsibility to make a difference.” – Mia Lehrer

Mia Lehrer “has her eye on more than simple gardens.” In addition to private residential work she is especially interested in revitalizing public places in Los Angeles and Orange County. In this capacity she is as much an activist as she is a designer, focused on creating, protecting access to, and finding funding for common venues and shared spaces conducive to healthy living.

Andrea Cochran
Walden Studios, Napa County, CA

“I influence how people think about space.” – Andrea Cochran

Andrea Cochran make brilliant use of the bold gesture, finds the geometry in the landscape and repeats it to memorable effect. A dramatic formal allee of trees contrasts with the larger landscape beyond, balancing the controlled and the natural.

“We need to start thinking of our streets as public space and make beautiful places where people want to spend part of their lives.” – Katherine Spitz

Katherine Spitz and Lauren Melendrez share a passion for transforming automobile-based landscapes–one of danger and stress–into more walkable, human-friendly environments. Spitz, an architect as well as a landscape architect, is known for embracing complex projects that transform public spaces. Melendrez works closely with federal, state, and local government agencies, advisory committees, and community groups to create streetscapes that nurture pedestrian as well as car traffic.

Cheryl Barton
Cavallo Point – The Retreat at Fort Baker, San Francisco, CA

“[my work] allows the opportunity to make people notice space.” – Cheryl Barton

Cheryl Barton calls herself an environmental and cultural artist. Her approach to sustainable design encompasses beauty, history, and ecology to create landscapes that resonate visually, emotionally, culturally.






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