by B.J. Hauswald and Mary Pomichter
Chestnut Hill Tree Tender Volunteers
On Saturday, Nov. 18, Chestnut Hill Tree Tenders and a large group of volunteers again planted trees throughout the community. This is an ongoing effort to install well-suited trees throughout Chestnut Hill to replace the many lost and aged trees and help preserve Philadelphia’s “Garden District”.
Tree Tender Chris Sohnly, founder and principal of Spruce Hollow Designs that specializes in restoration using native plants, recently sponsored a tree-pit contest to encourage local landscapers and homeowners to plant around their street trees and in easement areas, the publicly-owned but privately managed strip of land between the curb and sidewalk.
The project was inspired by the University of Michigan Nature for Cities project where 11 percent of all Ann Arbor residences installed a garden in their easement areas, often in small clusters as neighbors influenced one another.
Contest winner Zach Cross, an undergraduate landscape architecture design major at Temple University created the award-winning design, which was installed on the island at the intersection of Lincoln Drive and Springfield Avenue. Thanks go to the Chestnut Hill Community Association, which has assisted with purchase of plants used in the winning design so that there is now a beautiful garden to enhance another public space.
In addition to tree planting, the group has been able to expand its support services for planting installations and maintenance, including the formation of a pruning club because of the volunteer contributions of several certified arborists, horticulturalists and landscape designers on their team. Plans for the spring also include a workshop to assist homeowners who want to plant a garden of native plants in front of their homes.