Folger Garden Club Berkeley
April 28, 2020

Trees on Folger Avenue? Maybe in the Jurassic Period, but not in the modern era. Folger Avenue, like many streets in West Berkeley and Oakland, has suffered from industrialization and development, leaving it devoid of nature and greenery. In 2014, a friend told me about a City of Berkeley program that allows homeowners and businesses to plant native trees for free as long as citizens agree to provide two years of care. Go Berkeley! After much patience and persistence, the concrete was cut in 2016, and ten Trident Maples (Acer buergeranum) were planted.

Folger Garden Club Trees

The young saplings immediately needed protection. After all, Folger Avenue is busy; cars began plowing into them right away. In line with our recycle, reduce, and reuse sprit, I decided to build planter boxes using scrap lumber and pallet wood. One of my favorite things about Sun Light & Power is how eager our team is to pitch in and help a good cause. Before the final screw was landed in the planter boxes, Eric Nyman had offered to paint and waterproof them. Marc Kollar and Steve Broyles then volunteered for compost and mulch runs to fill the planters. Thus The Folger Avenue Garden Club was born. Within months, a bee swarm and a hummingbird nest appeared on Folger Avenue. Nature was returning.

Folger Trees Prune Marc

After almost three years of hand watering via five-gallon buckets, the trees are thriving. Marc’s adopted tree is the standout as it grows amongst native California poppies just outside the Sun Light & Power Hangar door. Ironically, this was the first tree to get hit by a car in the early days. This is a story of nature’s resilience — and the gardener within the concrete jungle. There are currently ten trees in planter boxes maintained by fifteen Sun Light & Power employee owners. Any SLP team member who would like to help weed or water is encouraged to participate and should feel free to contact me for ways to get their hands dirty. Greening Folger Avenue is good for the garden and the gardener. Shine on!

Jesse Quay is Senior Project Developer and a Vice President on Sun Light & Power's Board of Directors. He is also a leading member of our Green Team.

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