Thirty years of planting trees and memories

The saplings planted for Saturday’s 30th annual Elysian Park Tree Dedication and Planting were more twig than tree. Their trunks were barely wider than a thumb, with spindly branches mostly barren of leaves. But those who had gathered for Saturday’s dedication of the 23 fragile saplings across Elysian Park only had to look at the surrounding grove of mature trees – some cloaked in brilliant yellow and orange leaves – to see the future of the newcomers.

A total of 853 trees have been planted in Elysian Park since 1979 when the Citizens Committee to Save Elysian Park, a park support group, began organizing the event. The trees – ranging from Golden Rain to Coast Live Oak and California Sycamore – are purchased by residents and dedicated in honor of a loved one, whether they be alive or dead, human or animal (Saturday’s honorees included two dogs, Boris and Darwin).

Most of the ceremony was given over to the tree donors to speak about the loved ones they had chosen to honor. Former Echo Park councilwoman Jackie Goldberg and her partner, Sharon Stricker, spoke about Goldberg’s mother, Rose Margolis Goldberg, who passed away in May at age 98.

“Now we can come and visit her little tree,” said Goldberg of the Hong Kong Orchid planted in her mother’s memory. Visiting her mother’s tree will show that “things grow and life continues.”

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