Time out for lovely trees

The poet Joyce Kilmer, in 1913, wrote the oft-quoted lines, "I think that I shall never see / A poem lovely as a tree."

The Huntington Beach Tree Society, though, is encouraging people to come as close as they can on Arbor Day.

The nonprofit society plans to host a tree-planting dedication Tuesday in front of the traffic median at Main Street and Adams Avenue. As part of the festivities, President Jean Nagy and others have invited visitors to present their favorite poems about trees.

"Probably the tree is lovelier than the poem will ever be," said Nagy, who admitted that Kilmer was probably right.

Society and city officials will gather at 10 a.m. in front of First Christian Church at 1207 Main St. to dedicate the planting of four Camphor trees on the median.

Four years ago, the society and city began planting Camphors on medians stretching several blocks on Main Street, and the upcoming planting is the last phase.

When the ceremony begins, members of West Coast Arborists will have already dug holes in the median and partially planted the trees, Nagy said.

Before the top layer of dirt goes in, the society will pass out leaves to those in attendance and ask them to write "power words" that will be buried with the roots.

"Every time they pass that tree, they'll think about their power word," said Nagy, who listed "energetic," "beautiful" and "long-lived" as examples of words people can write.

After the planting, the society will invite attendees to share poems and stories about trees.

Randy Menzel, the head of tree services for the city's Public Works Department, said the city and society chose Camphors because they provide an attractive cover, as well as plenty of shade, for the median.

The efforts of the society, which claims on its website to have planted more than 5,000 trees around Huntington Beach, contribute to the city's charm, Menzel said.

"I would definitely say it would increase property values, especially as the trees mature, just because of the aesthetics of it," he said. "If you look at a city like Santa Barbara, with their mature tree population, it's a beautiful place to visit."

If You Go

What: Arbor Day ceremony

Where: Main Street and Adams Avenue, Huntington Beach

When: 10 a.m. Tuesday

Cost: Free

Information: http://www.hbtrees.org

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