Thanks to the Friends of the Urban Forest, this weekend my neighbors and I planted 35 trees out here in the Outer Richmond. It was a well organized, exhausting, and wonderful way to spend a Saturday and get to know some of the great people who live out here at the edge of the continent.
It all started when I saw a sign up in our local coffee shop, and called the number on the pull-away tab, who turned out to be my neighbor up the street named Suz. She, and other folks, were meeting at a neighborhood gathering spot near a playground I never heard of before. Once there, Naomi from the FUF gave a slide show of the trees that were known to grow in the neighborhood, which was a great bit of information as we live 2 blocks from the Pacific Ocean and between the fog, salt air, and unique micro-climate we have quite a challenge to grow anything except dune grass and ferns.
We then had to choose which tree, and how many of them, we wanted to plant, and then sign some papers giving the utility companies and the city permission to check for pipes, lines, etc and if all clear, cut a hole in the cement for the tree.
All of that went perfect. I found out I could indeed get two trees, one for each side of my driveway. I volunteered to have all the trees delivered to our house, and on Friday, two big trucks full of California Oaks, Ginkos, Cherry, and Olive trees showed up at 7 am. Three of my neighbors, and I, unloaded 35 of them and carried them into my backyard. Yesterday at 8 am, every family that had ordered a tree, plus 5 folks from FUF, and a boy scout troop showed up and we divvied up into 6 groups, loaded the trees onto pickup trucks, and mobilized around the neighborhood to plant them. Before all of that I got to plant the first two trees in front of our house to act as demonstration (perks of being the host.) I chose an Coastal Oak and an Olive tree.
Here is Charlie Starbuck with FUF and one of the little neighborhood helpers showing me how to dig the hole to right depth.
Here is my crew driving one of the three stakes into the ground. These stakes help secure the tree, and more importantly protect it from car doors.
Here is my house, with the oak tree on the left, and the olive tree on the right. Tiny now, but I am told that if I water them every Saturday for 3 years, they will be much bigger, and healthy enough to stand and grow on their own for decades.
Here is my crew after we planted the last of our trees:
Afterwards, all the crews met up and had a potluck. It was awesome to kick back with good people in the nighborhood, have a beer and piece of chicken, and talk about what we love about living here: the ocean, the park, the city, but mostly the people and the things they do.
If you live in San Francisco, you should check out the Friends. They are a great group.