Ten trees arrived at the Wedge Brewery, their roots wrapped in burlaped balls of dirt, on the the back of a flatbed truck. “They look kind of funny up there, on the truck,” said Julia McAffee of Chicago who was there to drink beer, not plant trees. “I had no idea people did things like this. No one in Chicago plants trees in places like this.” This place, everyone agrees needs some beauty. And shade.
The Wedge is wedged between train tracks and a building which is decidedly urban. Facing directly west has been an issue with heat and glare during prime beer hours, so Tim Schaller, the owner has been looking for ways to make his patio more friendly. Large sails worked for a while, but upkeep was an issue. Finally he hit on trees.
Then he called Susan Roderick at Asheville Greenworks. “Sure,” she said, “that will fit in with our larger goal of making the RAD more green, and less urban gritty.” Greenworks has been working all up and down the Clingman and Depot Street corridor, planting rose bushes in front of barbed wire, trees and shrubs where they can. The recently announced ‘Green the RAD’ plan envisions the artists and businesses in the area to sponsor work for one month each. One, Constance Williams Gallery, is combining their month with the opening of their group show on Saturday, December 10th.
The trees needed volunteers to get them to their permanent homes. Greenworks provided tools, and 15 volunteers from 12 to 78 years old spent the next several hours positioning the Sycamores and Elms into their holes, filling it with dirt, tamping it down and watering the trees. Other volunteers planted Itea shrubs along walkways, mulched bare dirt areas, and picked up trash. Some very little volunteers took the bags the mulch came in and started picking up trash all on their own. Sagan and Tegre Paxon made it a competition to see who could get more trash. Meanwhile Sophie Densmore and Maya Strull took a more leisurely and less-competitive approach and worked together.
As the sun began to set over the West Asheville ridge, more and more volunteers wiped their brow, looked around at the new trees, and headed for some well-earned beer.
Another opportunity to volunteer to Green The RAD is coming next Tuesday, November 15th 3-5 p.m. when Asheville Greenworks will be coordinating the planting of Daffodil bulbs. If you are interested in volunteering, and meeting some other people who do this sort of thing, call Asheville Greenworks at 254-1776.