Oak Tree Seedlings Are Growing Nicely at the YMCA’s Simon Meadow in Temescal Canyon

Eight tiny oak seedlings were planted in the center island. Flags were place by each one.

Circling the News received a November 6 email from Palisadian Tracey Price, co-founder of American Growers, who wrote:

“A while back, you featured a story about the mysterious oak tree saplings that were planted at the parking lot of our local Recreation Center.

“After getting permission from the director of the Recreation Center, we transplanted them to Winding Way at Simon Meadow and they are growing nicely! Did you ever find out who originally grew them and planted them?” (Visit: americangrowersco.com)

In April, residents noted that baby oaks had been planted on the island in front of the Palisades Recreation Center.

CTN alerted readers that Natalia Johnson, a ninth grader, had rescued seedlings that were growing curbside in the asphalt on Haverford Avenue, by Founder’s Island (across from Theatre Palisades).

Natalie’s mother, Christie, told CTN that “The roots were doomed, trapped by the asphalt. They are special seedlings, linked to the history of the Palisades. The Rec Center island has been treeless for too long. What a perfect place for them.”

Natalia, who attends Harvard-Westlake, loves the outdoors and “we do guerrilla-gardening projects together,” Christie said. “Some work, some don’t. For instance, we spread 1,000 California poppy seeds on the Via bluffs. We only got one sprout, which we named Nemo.”

“I think gardening teaches so many life lessons–about investment, about patience, about loss, problem-solving and rewards, and when to invest and when to give up. When to make hard decisions about the seasons and the cycle of life,” Christie said. “The most important thing I’ve learned is that you need to provide the right kind of environment for the particular individual you are working with; different individuals need different conditions to thrive. It’s all the same with people.”

Christie, husband Harry, Natalia and her sister Sophie have lived in Pacific Palisades since 2003.

Although the baby oaks are no longer at the island, Pacific Palisades Community Council President David Card has said that when the parking lot makeover is completed for Potrero Canyon Park and the island in front is repaved and landscaped, five oaks in 36-inch boxes will be planted at that location.

(Editor’s note: The landscaping contract for Potrero Canyon Park, according to Pedro Garcia at an October PCH Task Force meeting, is supposed to be advertised this month and is supposed to be awarded in February or March. At that meeting, he said, “We have ordered the plants and construction [planting] could start immediately after awarding.” He said it would take about 10 months for the planting.)

The transplanted oak trees are doing nicely in Winding Way in Simon Meadow.

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