From Pasadena Now, March 10, 2023:
Nearly thirty Ficus Macrocarpa trees, commonly known as the Indian Laurel Fig, have been planted recently on Green Street between Marengo and Hill Avenue, in the latest community planting project by the all-volunteer Pasadena Beautiful Foundation.
These trees were handpicked and tagged by Emina Darakjy, who spearheaded the project for Pasadena Beautiful, and were planted by a City-provided contractor who also installed root barriers to prevent sidewalk damage that can be caused by the Ficus’ strong roots.
“The Pasadena Beautiful Foundation was founded in 1960,” explained Darakjy, a past president of Pasadena Beautiful and current Tree Program chair. “We work with individuals, community organizations and the city to restore, to renew and protect Pasadena’s Parks, its urban forest and public spaces.”
Darakjy continued, “We continue to partner with the city, to supplement their tree planting program. We also co-sponsor Arbor Days and pay for the trees that are planted. Over the years we have planted and paid for hundreds of trees in parkways, parks and in schools.”
The 28 Green Street trees were paid for from the foundation’s Tree Fund, said Darakjy, along with a generous $ 10,000 donation from a “local family foundation.” The total cost for the tree planting was $36,400.
As Darakjy explained, Foundation tree planting sites are first surveyed and approved by the City’s forestry division. Planting spots are then marked with a white line on the curb, and the city notifies Dig Alert to mark any utility lines before any trees are planted.
Assistance for the planning was provided by Public Works Director Tony Olmos; Eric Mirzaian, Public Works Administrator for Street Maintenance; and Faustino Joya, Crew Supervisor/Forestry Inspector, and his crew.
“It was a very much appreciated team effort,” said Darakjy, who grew up in Morocco, where she first developed her love for trees.
“I have always had a passion for nature and trees,” she told Pasadena Now in a recent interview. “I trace it back to when I was young growing up in Morocco, next to Maamoura Forest on the outskirts of Rabat, one of the largest cork oak forests in the world, and enjoying many Sundays picnicking under these majestic trees.”