Just to be clear, I earned the title of Johnny Appleseed before my colleague Brent Green did. While Brent was secretive about our tree planting projects in Los Angeles, I was not so about our similar projects in Los Gatos. While Brent’s neighbors wondered where their new street trees were coming from, mine read about their new park trees in the Los Gatos Weekly Times.

In fact, the exposure from that article is how I started my weekly gardening column in the same newspaper just a few months later, in October of 1998. Los Gatos is a smaller town than Los Angeles is. Secrecy was not an option. Sadly, our projects in Los Gatos, and then in Scott’s Valley, did not continue. We concentrated our urban tree planting efforts in Mid City Los Angeles.

The tree planting projects that I am referring to are our Birthday Trees that I wrote about last January. As I explain in that article, Brent had been wanting to plant trees in the formerly blank and broad medians of San Vicente Boulevard in Los Angeles. I just happened to be able to supply such trees from those at the farm that got a bit too past their prime to be marketable.

I do not intend to be redundant to that article, but want to share this video, Johnny Appleseed. As much as I hate to admit it, Brent is much more entertaining than I am. (I should later share one of my old videos from Gardening By The Yard, so you can compare.) I should probably look through more of Brent’s old videos to see if there are others that would be interesting.

If I had more time, I would write more about Brent’s work to improve the urban forests of the Los Angeles Region.


17 thoughts on “Another Johnny Appleseed

    1. Thank you. I have not been involved with his plantings for many years. When I was, it was gratifying to plant trees that I would have otherwise needed to dispose of on the burn pile. Even now, when I go to Los Angeles, it is gratifying to see that a few of the are still happy and doing well. Most of the first trees we planted are gone now because they were in easements that are now being used by a new trolley system. We knew that they would be there only temporarily, so it was worth it while it lasted. A few that we expected to be removed are still there, and were protected during development. The trees that Brent planted since then are in much better and ore permanent situations. It is sad when some get removed by those who do not appreciate them, but he keeps planting more. Eventually, I should write about how Brent saved a bunch of Canary Island date palms that were being sold right off of the embankment of the Santa Monica Freeway to developers! I wish I had more time to devote to Brent’s projects. I don’t like Los Angeles much, but it is so excellent to be involved with making it a bit better than it is.

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  1. This is so inspiring. You gotta be a good person if you like trees. 🙂 When I moved to my house a few year ago, a family member came to visit from California and complained that there were too many trees around my neighborhood. I told her, that’s one reason I moved here.

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    1. California is an unusual place all the way around. The diversity is crazy. I grew up on the Santa Clara Valley side of the Santa Cruz Mountains, when there were still a few remnants of the formerly vast orchards there. Urban landscapes were not very old, just because the urban areas were developed in the 1950s. Just a few miles away are the dense redwood forests of the Santa Cruz Mountains where the tallest trees in the world live. The forests are very dense and dark! Los Angeles is in a semi-desert region, and many parts of it can still use more trees. I like growing things. Brent likes planting things and growing the to maturity. He loves Los Angeles too. It all works out.

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      1. https://www.greenartlandscape.com/
        I should probably update the website. It does not get much use. You may have seen some of Brent’s work on television, although because I do not watch television, I would not know where. If you remember the (really lame) ‘reality show’ ‘the Osbournes’, Brent landscaped that home for the previous owners in the early 1990s, and maintained it until the Osbournes relocated to Hidden Hills. Unfortunately, Christina Aguilar (?) moved in and trashed it.

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      2. Stunning? That is a word that landscape designers use. Brent gets all the fancy adjectives. Much of what you might have seen about Brent could have been about the public landscapes, such as the street trees of Los Angeles, and the palms of the Santa Monica Freeway. Although he tries to be hip and trendy, he is also somewhat controversial too, and has a way of getting into ‘situations’ while protecting the urban forest of Los Angeles.

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      3. Normally, I most grow horticultural commodities. It does not look like much until it goes into gardens or landscapes. What I do out in landscapes for part of the week is fun, but not what I normally do.

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