20 Inspiring Gardening Documentaries You Must Watch

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By Kathy C.

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20 Inspiring Gardening Documentaries You Must Watch


In the world of gardening, inspiration often blooms from the stories, struggles, and triumphs shared by fellow enthusiasts. If you’re seeking a cinematic journey that goes beyond the confines of your garden, these 20 inspiring gardening documentaries are a must-watch. From the art of sustainable farming to the transformative power of community gardens, each film encapsulates the spirit of cultivation, offering a tapestry of stories that resonate with both seasoned gardeners and budding green thumbs. Let’s delve into the world of these documentaries that not only showcase the beauty of gardening but also underscore its profound impact on individuals and communities.

1. The Biggest Little Farm (2018):

This documentary chronicles the journey of a couple who embark on a mission to create a diverse, sustainable farm against all odds. With breathtaking cinematography, it captures the challenges and rewards of harmonizing with nature to build a thriving agricultural ecosystem.


2. Dirt! The Movie (2009):

Exploring the importance of soil in sustaining life, “Dirt! The Movie” takes viewers on a global journey, highlighting the remarkable power of dirt and the need for sustainable soil management practices. It’s a compelling exploration of the intricate web of life beneath our feet.


3. The Garden (2008):

In the heart of Los Angeles, “The Garden” unfolds the story of a community garden that becomes a battleground for social and political struggles. This gripping documentary delves into the complexities of land use, community activism, and the resilience of those fighting to preserve their urban oasis.


4. Five Seasons: The Gardens of Piet Oudolf (2017):

For lovers of artful landscapes, this film offers a captivating glimpse into the creative mind of renowned garden designer Piet Oudolf. It explores his philosophy of “the fifth season” and his transformative work in creating immersive, sustainable plantings.


5. The True Cost (2015):

While not exclusively about gardening, “The True Cost” sheds light on the fashion industry’s impact on the environment. It serves as a thought-provoking reminder of the choices we make as consumers and the potential for sustainable practices, even in the realm of fashion.


6. Symphony of the Soil (2012):

Delving into the intricate world beneath our feet, “Symphony of the Soil” explores the connection between soil health and the well-being of our planet. It offers a holistic perspective on the importance of soil in sustaining life and fostering biodiversity.


7. Seed: The Untold Story (2016):

This documentary unravels the story of the global disappearance of seed diversity and the implications for food security. Through the eyes of passionate seed keepers, it underscores the importance of preserving and celebrating the diversity of our agricultural heritage.


8. Inhabit: A Permaculture Perspective (2015):

“Inhabit” introduces viewers to the principles of permaculture, showcasing real-life examples of communities embracing sustainable, regenerative practices. The film inspires a deeper connection with the environment and demonstrates the transformative potential of permaculture design.


9. A Plastic Ocean (2016):

While not exclusively about gardening, “A Plastic Ocean” delves into the global issue of plastic pollution, raising awareness about the impact of single-use plastics on marine life and ecosystems. It serves as a poignant reminder of the importance of sustainable living practices.


10. Our Seeds: Seeds Blong Yumi (2011):

This documentary explores the significance of traditional seed saving in preserving biodiversity and cultural heritage. Set in Vanuatu, it highlights the vital role of local communities in safeguarding their unique plant varieties for future generations.


11. Gardens of Destiny (2010):

Taking a global perspective, “Gardens of Destiny” examines the role of agriculture in shaping the destiny of communities. It explores alternative farming practices and the potential for sustainable agriculture to address environmental and social challenges.


12. Greenfingers (2000):

Based on a true story, “Greenfingers” offers a heartwarming tale of a group of British prisoners who discover a passion for gardening. The film explores the transformative power of nature and the healing effect of cultivating life, even in unexpected places.


13. Edible City (2012):

Set against the backdrop of urban landscapes, “Edible City” explores the growing movement of urban agriculture and the grassroots efforts to transform cities into sustainable, food-producing spaces. It’s an inspiring look at the potential for local food systems to thrive in urban environments.


14. Growing Cities (2013):

“Growing Cities” takes a cross-country journey across the United States to explore the rise of urban farming. The documentary showcases the diverse approaches individuals and communities are taking to integrate agriculture into the fabric of city life.


15. Wasted! The Story of Food Waste (2017):

While not exclusively about gardening, this documentary delves into the issue of food waste and its environmental impact. It encourages viewers to rethink their approach to food, inspiring a more conscious and sustainable relationship with what we consume.


16. Botany of Desire (2009):

Based on Michael Pollan’s best-selling book, “Botany of Desire” explores the intricate relationships between plants and humans. The documentary examines the desires that drive our cultivation of certain plants, revealing the co-evolutionary dance between humans and the botanical world.


17. The Seeds of Time (2014):

“The Seeds of Time” follows agricultural pioneer Cary Fowler on his quest to preserve the world’s crop diversity in the face of climate change. This thought-provoking documentary emphasizes the importance of seed banks in securing our global food future.


18. Kiss the Ground (2020):

Narrated by Woody Harrelson, “Kiss the Ground” advocates for regenerative agriculture as a solution to climate change. The film explores the potential of soil as a powerful tool for carbon sequestration and the restoration of ecosystems.


19. A Man Named Pearl (2006):

This uplifting documentary tells the story of Pearl Fryar, a self-taught topiary artist who transforms his South Carolina backyard into a living sculpture garden. Pearl’s passion for plants and dedication to his craft showcase the transformative power of gardening.


20. The Secret Garden (1993):

While a classic narrative film, “The Secret Garden” captures the enchanting spirit of gardening. Adapted from Frances Hodgson Burnett’s novel, the film celebrates the magic of nature and the transformative effect of tending to a garden.


As you embark on this cinematic journey through the lens of gardening documentaries, may these films not only entertain but also inspire a deeper connection with the earth and the profound impact of cultivation on our lives. Each documentary is a window into the diverse stories, challenges, and triumphs that shape the world of gardening, encouraging us to sow seeds of inspiration in our own green spaces. Happy watching!

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