Busy shoppers might never stop to notice the four small street trees that are bravely blooming on a busy stretch of South Orange Avenue.
“It’s a pretty hostile environment,” said George Berkeley, owner of . He explained that the trees are planted in a bed of gravel, rocks and broken cement.
Berkeley and several other merchants – the owners of , (KALM) and – are the primary caregivers for the plucky trees, which the Village planted a few years ago. The shopkeepers diligently tend to their wards; watering them frequently (every day in hot weather), fertilizing and shooing away school kids who want to hang on the fragile branches.
Last year, the tree outside the bagel store had to be replaced, and that’s when the store owners banded together and vowed to give the little trees a fighting chance.
“When we saw what they were being planted in, it dawned on us that we needed to water them every day,” said Berkeley. “Also, there’s a lot of reflective heat on them from the sun bouncing off the sidewalk.”
Their efforts seem to be paying off: all of the trees are blooming and budding right now.
“There was but a stump there when we moved in,” said KALM owner Ben Salmon. “The tree is three years old now and looking great, I’m proud to say.”
Berkeley’s tree suffered a setback last year when it was the victim of an overzealous municipal pruning, but he has put in a request for a new one. “I have heard from an unnamed source that the tree gods might be smiling on me,” he said slyly.
In other news, it’s not just trees that are blooming in South Orange: Ben Salmon is the proud father of a new baby girl, Sydney Jane, born on Monday night. Congratulations to Ben, wife Emily and big brother Caleb. It will be an extra-special Mother’s Day for the Salmon family this year!