Sunday, January 31, 2010

The next best thing

The next best thing to planting in your own garden is planting in someone else's.

Yesterday, the MulchMaid joined over 80 people in the Overlook and Arbor Lodge neighborhoods to plant street and yard trees with Friends of Trees. We planted over 85 trees in Overlook alone. Here in the Pacific Northwest, late winter is one of the best times to plant trees so they benefit from spring rains while they are first settling in.

Friends of Trees has got it down to a science. First, they get all the trees that people have ordered and bring them to a central location.
Even leafless, trussed for travel, or bare-root, the young trees look beautiful.

Then teams with an FOT-trained team leader and an assistant take their assigned trees to the homes to plant them.

Here are my team's trees. We planted a cascara sagrada, a Jonagold apple, an asian pear, two hawthornes, a strawberry tree (Arbutus unedo) and three Douglas firs. We had three of the tree's homeowners on our team.

Generally, the tree holes are dug ahead of time. Team leaders demonstrate proper planting techniques and make sure the homeowners know how to care for their new trees.

I only managed a few pictures of the actual tree-planting process because everything was so wet - this is Portland, people - and it was pretty muddy. In fact, you could tell the veteran tree planters by their rain pants: my jeans got very muddy! At least I remembered to bring my insulated work gloves.

Above, our team has just finished planting a shapely young hawthorne tree in the parking strip of the happy homeowners in the center of the group. They couldn't believe the price: just $14.99.

So if it's too early or too wet to work in your own garden, I recommend getting your planting fix (and meeting some new gardening friends) by joining a Friends of Trees event. Check it out - there are still lots of plantings left to go this winter and spring.


  1. Hi Jane~~ It must have been a very gratifying day. Working in the rain isn't all that bad once you resolve yourself to the fact that you're going to be a wet mess until you hit the shower. Fun.

  2. Those last 2 shots really sum up the muddy January gardening experience here in Portland! Our 2 parking strip trees are from 'friends of trees' and 2 other homes on our block have continued the trend, love them! Thanks for sharing your planting adventure!

  3. Great post--great blog. Thanks for getting the word out about Friends of Trees, and thanks even more for planting with us.
    If you ever want more information about a Friends of Trees planting, check out our blog, Growth Rings:
    There's a funny video submission regarding last weekend's planting.

  4. I always notice how the neighborhoods with street trees look the nicest, and streets like mine without many trees look like there's something missing. What a great way to get involved in the community and to ensure that the streets will be lined with beautiful trees for years to come.

  5. What a great idea, bringing some natural greenery to the streets.


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