Category: Nature Wisdom

Fruit Tree Pruning Demonstration – Sat Dec 14, 2013

SoCal Fruit Tree Pruning Pieter Severynen

Pieter’s Culver City Pruning Workshop, January 2013

In other parts of the country Spring might not arrive until mid-March and run through May. But Southern California is a different story! 

According to popular westside arborist Pieter Severynen, spring sap flow in Southern California may start as early as mid-January, depending on the weather. Pieter advises us to prune our fruit trees either before or after the spring sap flow—but not during. 

This well-timed FREE pruning demonstration (including resources — see below!) will help you build your pruning confidence and get you on track for healthier and more prolific fruit  trees.

with Pieter Severynen

Saturday, December 14, 2013
1 – 4 pm
private residence garden
10784 Northgate St. , Culver City, CA 90230
(near WLA College)

Attendance is FREE,
but preregistration is required.
Please RSVP:  or call 310-838-6744

Please download and print the following hand-outs to bring to class (PDFs):




Arborist Pieter SeverynenPIETER SEVERYNEN is an arborist and licensed California Landscape Architect with 35+ years’ experience and a former garden columnist at the L.A. Times  (the popular “Tree of the Week” series). He is the former director of planning and design at North East Trees. His presentations on behalf of TCC at the 2013 Mar Vista Green Garden Showcase were well attended so don’t wait too long to reserve your spot at this December Pruning demonstration!

Gardening workshops plus access to composting & worms bins — coming to Culver City in 2014

PLANNING AHEAD: Our friend Cathi Vargas from the CC Public Works Department says “Spread the Word & Save the Date!” Some FREE gardening workshops coming to town next year, sponsored by the Los Angeles County Smart Gardening Program. Everyone welcome— from beginners to the more advanced. See descriptions below. No reservations needed. Each class 1.5 hours.

PLUS, AVAILABLE ONLY FOR WORKSHOP ATTENDEES… Composting and Vermicomposting bins at a discounted price. (scroll to the bottom of this post for a peek)

Hands-on instruction on composting, worm composting, and grass-cycling, plus water-wise and fire-wise gardening.

Introduction to organic gardening, how to landscape with native friendly and drought tolerant plants, and integrated pest management (environmental ways to control pests). 

LA County Smart Gardening ProgramLOCATION :

Veteran’s Memorial Building,
4117  Overland Ave.,
Culver City, CA 90230
The Garden Room


• Saturday, February 22, 2014
• Saturday, July 26, 2014

• Saturday, April 19, 2014
• Saturday, October 25, 2014

For more information call PW Environmental Programs and Operations at 310/253-6411
or see the L.A. County webpage at


Discounted Composting Bins!

Here’s a peek at what you can order once the workshop dates get a little closer…
(AVAILABLE ONLY to Smart Gardening Workshop Attendees)
—Cash or check only, limit 2 bins per household—

 LA County Compost Bins Available for Workshop Attendees

Free Eco Movie: Ecological Consciousness, Sat Aug 10, 2013 — 7 pm


There are billions of years of collected wisdom in the fabric of our being.
How do we unlock our inner cosmic energy in the landscape?

TCC & our neighbors Transition Mar Vista/Venice are co-hosting an inspiring video from one of NYC’s leading permaculturists, Andrew Faust of the Center for Bioregional Living . Join us in exploring what it means to begin to live in ways that intentionally participates with evolution.


Saturday, August 10, 7-9pm
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center, 13325 Beach Ave Marina del Rey 90292

FREE event—donations always welcome.

Discussion follows film


Andrew Faust

ABOUT ANDREW: One of North America’s premier Permaculture teachers and designers with nearly two decades of experience in the field, Andrew Faust’s passionate and visionary presentation and curriculum has been inspiring and motivating students since his days as an alternative school teacher at Upattinas in Glenmoore, Pennsylvania. Andrew lived off the grid in West Virginia for 8 years where he designed and built a Permaculture inspired homestead including a 1600 sq ft strawbale house. He moved to Brooklyn in 2007 and has been applying his knowledge to the urban landscape, culminating in a Permaculture Design Certification course many consider to be life changing.

Andrew is founder of The Center for Bioregional Living in Ellenville, NY with his partner Adriana Magana. The Center is a pilot campus for his students and clients to learn how to create diverse regional Infrastructures that are well adapted to LOCAL ecological, social and geological realities.  Being experienced in both rural & urban permaculture, Andrew’s curriculum teaches how to retrofit urban environments to be more ecologically sound and socially responsible as well as how to create positive relationships between cities and outlying rural communities.


Chicken-Keeping Workshop and Pot Luck, Sat July 20 2013, 1-4 pm

Chicken-Keeping Workshop

A busy afternoon


Experience the joys of Backyard Chicken-keeping!

Come hang out @ the Little Blue House for a fun and interactive chicken-keeping teach-in! Meet the chickens, see the henhouse and chicken run. Learn how raising chickens and veggies can be complementary activities. Featuring guest speakers the Gardenerd & HoneyLove! We’ll wrap up the afternoon with a potluck feast.


Little Blue House—Culver City 90230
For specific address, RSVP
or text or call 310-780-1051
(please RSVP for a head count)

Workshop is free—
Donations are welcome (helps support future events).

Please bring a potluck dish for 8-10 people.

About Our Guest Presenters:

Christy WilhelmiChristy Wilhelmi will talk to us about chickens as gardening companions and the “workhorses” of a healthy garden ecosystem plus other kernals of wisdom from her new book Gardening for Geeks which she’ll have on hand for purchase. ” REVIEW: “Gardening for Geeks is written in easy to understand language that will be useful for both the beginner and advanced gardener. There are loads of photographs, drawings and charts to help you see exactly what the author is covering in each chapter. If you pick up one gardening book this season, this needs to be it.” – Confessions of an Overworked Mom

HoneyLove Urban Bee KeepingHoneyLove’s Chelsea McFarland will pop by to speak for the bees! A local nonprofit conservation organization, HoneyLove’s mission is to protect the honeybees and inspire and educate new urban beekeepers. Why urban beekeeping? HoneyLove believes that the city is the last refuge of the honeybee. Our home gardens are free of pesticides, and in cities like Los Angeles, there is year-round availability of pollen and nectar.

NEWS FLASH: Arborist to Speak at House #5F at Mar Vista Green Garden Showcase


Arborist Pieter Severynan at a recent fruit tree pruning seminar in Culver City. He has generously offered to speak at the upcoming Green Garden Showcase


Saturday, April 20, 2013
Showcase hours: 10 am – 4 pm

10:30 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.

House #5F
11375 Matteson Ave, LA 90066

Transition Culver City is proud to announce that popular westside arborist and landscape architect Pieter Severynen will be offering three short presentations at the upcoming Mar Vista Green Garden Showcase!

The author of the LA Times’ popular “Tree of the Week” series, Pieter will be sharing his wisdom with Showcase visitors as well as providing helpful hand-outs. Anyone who pops by during this window of time is in for a treat! Here’s the schedule:

10:30 – 10:45 am
Care of Southern California Fruit Trees:
Selection, Planting, Pruning and Maintenance

11:00 – 11:15 am
Recommended Low Chill Fruit Trees for Southern California

11:30 – 11:45 am
A Silent Jungle:
The Soil Under Our Feet

Come learn from an authentic master tree whisperer! Pieter has 35+ years experience as a Licensed California Landscape Architect and 20 years as a certified arborist. He speaks to civic groups on a variety of environment-related subjects including water in the world & global warming. His independent LA consulting firm is known for creating integrated, low resource consuming, emotionally appealing, environmentally sensitive, ecologically sustainable green space designs that emphasize character revealing trees and shrubs, low maintenance and long term viability.

This showcase garden, one of 100 gardens open to self-guided tours on the Showcase day, is also the Guest Booth for our local Transition Towns movement. Read more on TCC>>

Go to MAR VISTA GREEN GARDEN SHOWCASE website homepage >>

Transition Guest Booth at 2013 Mar Vista Green Garden Showcase

11375 Matteson Ave. — Showcase Garden #5F — Transition Town Guest Booth

Saturday, April 20, 2013
10 am – 4 pm
Throughout our Community!

Tour Maps available at:
Showcase Central — House #4H >>
Transition Town Guest Booth — House #5F >>
11375 Matteson Avenue, L.A. 90066 

This annual Earth Day event in Mar Vista offers self-guided tours of 100 home gardens that exemplify environmentally friendly alternatives to the classic lawn. These local homeowners, renters, schools and churches have all taken the leap and converted their thirsty green expanses into drought-tolerant landscapes and edible gardens. The tour covers the spectrum from homespun do-it-yourself projects to professionally landscaped environments—including urban farms, sleek architectural hardscapes, composting & vermiculture, rain harvesting, aquaponics, chicken coops, sculpture gardens, hummingbird gardens… you name it! This year’s tour places special emphasis on the critical need for ocean friendly gardens and California native gardens that support much needed pollinators such as honey bees and monarch butterflies. It’s a great day to gather ideas and inspiration for your own future lawn conversion!

The International TRANSITION TOWNS movement will be represented at the special guest booth at house #5F, 11375 Matteson Ave., Los Angeles CA 90066It’s a collaboration between two local chapters: TCC (of course) and our neighbors, Transition Mar Vista/Venice. So if you’re not in a hurry to see the other 99 showcase gardens, there’s plenty of al fresco patio areas here to sit down, pour a lemonade, and hang out to chat with like-minded people about community resilience, food security solutions, permaculture, alternative building, water harvesting, food forests, and much more.

Learn about Transition Mar Vista/Venice’s pay-it-forward Good Karma Gardens work parties—they’re a great way to get started if you want to learn how to grow your own food! And if you need even more motivation to drop by, come by to meet seedling master Matt Van Diepen (of Mar Vista Farmers’ Market fame!) who will be on hand with FREE veggie seedling giveaways and advice on how to include more home-grown edibles in your life.  Owner of Home Grown Gardens L.A., Matt is one of GKG’s skilled project coordinators.

This year, House #5F features dwarf fruit trees and berry bushes, a brilliant display of spring wildflowers, stealth veggies interspersed with drought tolerant natives, meandering flagstone pathways and do-it-yourself bistro-style hardscaping all done under strict budgetary parameters—everything cheap, recycled, scavenged and free!  For helpful Do-It-Yourself tips, read the event report and access the resource links from last year’s Showcase workshop D.I.Y.: Yes You Can!: Creative Lawn Conversions on a Budget.

Rainwater Capture


Another feature at this location is an unusual “hybrid” active and passive urban rainwater harvesting system.  Last winter the homeowners hosted a barn-raising-style Work Party to install the system. (SEE VIDEO HERE!) The volunteer crew, wrangled by Transition-friendly landscape architect John Tikotsky, created a passive diversion “reservoir” to help recharge the aquifer, helped install unique vertical tanks (an alternative to conventional rain barrels) for active catchment, and positioned a subsurface diverter pipe to feed the percolation area. The reservoir berms were planted with California native currants (ribes family) and shade happy leafy greens as the beginnings of an edible food forest understory. All this, in one day—a true demonstration of the power of community!

In efforts to support our community’s shift to a fossil-free future, TCC and our friends at the Culver City Bicycle Coalition are co-hosting a “pop-up” bike corral at House # 5F. Celebrate Earth Day in style: Visitors are invited to lower their carbon footprint by cruising the garden tour by bike!

Showcase maps are available at the Transition Guest Booth or Showcase Central at House #4F at 3635 Grandview Blvd.

2012 Showcase Bike Corral

Movie Night: Alternative Building! — Sat. March 16, 6:45 pm

Quick on the heels of our inspiring fieldtrip to Nader Khalili’s earth-building paradise Cal-Earth, TCC has decided to add an extra movie night to our March events:

GarbageWarrior Poster

TCC Eco-Movie Night:
Saturday, March 16, 2013  •  6:45 pm – 9:30 pm
WHERE: The Little Blue House
(RSVP TCC for location)
BYO drinks, FREE Popcorn!
Stay after for lively discussion.

Garbage Warrior is a feature-length documentary film telling the epic story of maverick US architect Michael Reynolds and his fight to introduce radically sustainable housing to the public. An extraordinary tale of triumph over bureaucracy, Garbage Warrior is above all an intimate portrait of an extraordinary individual and his dream of changing the world.

EarthShip greywater purification system

Imagine a home that heats itself, provides its own water, and grows its own food. Imagine that it needs no expensive technology, that it recycles its own waste, and has its own power source. And now imagine that it can be built anywhere, by anyone, out of the things society throws away…

Thirty years ago, architect Michael Reynolds imagined just such a home—then set out to build it. A visionary in the classic American mode, Reynolds has been fighting ever since to bring his concept to the public. He believes that in an age of ecological instability and impending natural disaster, his buildings can—and will—change the way we live. Shot over three years in the USA, India and Mexico, Garbage Warrior is a snapshot of contemporary geo-politics and an inspirational tale of triumph over bureaucracy, as well as an intimate portrait of an extraordinary individual and his dream of changing the world. (from IMDb)

Michael Reynolds BioTecture

Michael Reynolds: another innovative architect offering solutions for a more resilient future. Image courtesy of:



Eco-Film: TRASHED, Sat. Mar 9, 7 pm @ reDiscover Center

“This film is a wake-up call about global waste.”
—Cannes Film Festival

This month’s eco-movie is the groundbreaking docu-feature Trashed starring Jeremy Irons who goes on a journey of discovery, disbelief, and hope as he witnesses the extent and effects of the global waste problem around the world and seeks out solutions. We buy it, we bury it, we burn it and then we ignore it. What happens to all the trash we produce? Each year, we now throw away fifty-eight billion disposable cups, billions of plastic bags, 200 billion litres of water bottles, billions of tons of household waste, toxic waste, and e-waste. But there are people and movements making a difference.

This meticulous, brave investigative film takes the viewer on a ride with Irons from skepticism to sorrow and from horror to hope. Official film website & trailer: Music by Vangelis.

We’re co-hosting this event with our neighbors Transition Mar Vista/Venice at   The reDiscover Center.What better place to screen a movie about trash than our local community art center/re-use warehouse/event space? An excerpt of their mission statement:

reDiscover promotes resource conservation, creativity, and community engagement through material reuse. Our Vision is for all Angelenos to have an outlet for acquiring and donating reusable material. As reDiscover meets this need, we move closer to a community where all waste materials can be rediscovered for their educational and creative value.

reDiscover is a nexus for environmental sustainability and crea using recycled materials. We achieve our mission and vision through strategic initiatives at our center with the reuse warehouse, gallery and event space, at schools and in the community. More about reDISCOVER >>

EVENT DATE: Saturday, March 9, 7:00pm
Doors open at 6:30 pm for networking and snacks.  Join in a brainstorming session after the screening!

VENUE: reDiscover Center, 12958 W. Washington Blvd., Los Angeles 90066   MAP >> 

FREE admission, donations welcome.

RSVP: Facebook users RSVP via reDiscover Center’s event page or email TCC.

Jeremy Irons in TRASHED


Eco-Movie Night—Sat, Jan 12 2013, 7 pm: HAPPY

Don’t miss our first eco-movie of the New Year, specially selected to lift the spirits and illuminate the way to positive solutions!
 This deeply moving documentary by Academy Award-nominated director Roko Belic explores the keys to human happiness through interviews with people from all walks of life in 14 different countries—from leading happiness researchers to a rickshaw driver in Kolkatta, from a family living in a Danish co-housing community to a Cajun fisherman, and many more. HAPPY combines real-life human drama and cutting-edge science to provide insights into the mysteries of happiness. The formula is not the same for everyone, but research shows that almost everyone can become happier. A community discussion will follow the film.

Official film website >> 

Co-hosted with our neighbors Transition Mar Vista/Venice

Eco-Movie Screening: HAPPY

Saturday, January 12, 2013
7 pm – 9 pm

but donations always welcome to help support future film nights

Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center
13325 Beach Avenue
Marina del Rey, CA 90292

Awakening the Dreamer, Changing the Dream SYMPOSIUM Sat., Sep 29th, 2-6pm

Awakening the Dreamer Symposium

We’re teaming up with Transition Mar Vista to present this awesome afternoon of inspiration!


Saturday, September 29 from 2:00–6:00pm
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center
13325 Beach Ave. Marina del Rey, CA 90292

Calling all citizens of Planet Earth!
Our world needs us to be
awake and active now more than ever.

This half-day symposium provides dynamic group interactions, leading-edge information, and inspiring multimedia to empower participants to respond to humanity’s current situation with informed, grounded optimism and clear-headed action plans for the future.

Don’t miss this FREE opportunity to feel connected with other change-makers in local and global community and be empowered to help accelerate the emergence of an environmentally sustainable, spiritually fulfilling, and socially just human presence on this planet.

Followed by a community potluck meal — bring a dish to share.


Questions/RSVP appreciated:
e-mail or call 310-822-9642

See trailer at (Pachamama Alliance)