Trees Atlanta Update

From announcing its first-ever native plant sale to planting native grasses and wildflowers along the Eastside BeltLine trail to kicking off walking tours of the new Atlanta BeltLine Arboretum, there’s a lot going on at Trees Atlanta these days. The organization’s communications manager Bethany Clark sent us the following update.

1st Annual Native Perennial Wildflower and Vine Sale

Trees Atlanta will hold its first-ever native plant sale Saturday April 6th from 8 AM to 1 PM at the organization’s Kendeda Center located at 225 Chester Ave. in Reynoldstown. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. is the event sponsor and proceeds from the sale will benefit Trees Atlanta’s youth education programs.

The sale will feature native, pollinator-friendly plants, and will also specialize in perennials that will be planted along the Atlanta BeltLine’s Eastside Trail. The full plant list can be viewed on Trees Atlanta’s website at

Trees Atlanta’s big annual sale is usually held in October, but this year the local tree-planting non-profit is introducing a new plant sale to coincide with its new education program: Birds, Butterflies, and Bees.

New Eastside Trail Meadow to Feature Native Grasses, Wildflowers

Starting in March and continuing through May, Trees Atlanta will plant 109,000 native grass and wildflower plugs along nearly 8.5 acres of the Atlanta BeltLine’s Eastside Trail. These plugs will grow into a native meadow that will become a much-needed source of nesting sites, food, and protection for birds, butterflies, bees, and more. Replanting native meadows is a new sustainable landscape trend in the southeastern U.S. In addition to creating natural habitat, the maintenance of meadows requires less fuel, water, and pesticides.

Trees Atlanta needs plenty of volunteers to help plant the meadow. Anyone interested in volunteering can find dates and location details for the three-month project at

The meadow Trees Atlanta is planting this spring will be unique because it is growing right in the central urban context of the Atlanta BeltLine and its new Arboretum (see item below).

BeltLine Arboretum Becoming Reality

The Atlanta BeltLine Arboretum (ABA) is a continuous loop of natural areas around the Atlanta BeltLine. An arboretum (pronounced ar•bor•ree•tum) is a botanical garden containing living collections of woody plants, such as trees and/or flowers. While most arboretums are located at a single address, the ABA will be a linear arboretum that encircles the entire city of Atlanta.

The ABA is a collective effort of Trees Atlanta, the Atlanta BeltLine, and members of the surrounding community. Comprised of trees, native grasses, wildflowers, art, and much more, the ABA forms a natural connection between 22 miles of Atlanta neighborhoods, trails, transit, and parks, while also attracting wildlife to a continuous corridor of habitat.

You may have already noticed the 600+ trees that Trees Atlanta planted last fall on the Eastside Trail: magnolias, sassafras, long leaf pines, hornbeams, oaks, elms, tulip poplars, hickories, dogwoods, redbuds, and more are all part of the ABA. And that’s just on the Eastside Trail! The arboretum will continue to develop as the Atlanta BeltLine itself continues to expand.

When fully planted, the meadow on the Eastside Trail will consist of more than 43 different species of grasses and forbs (forbs being herbs that are not grass or grass-like). The species will be planted and labeled in such a way as to make identification as easy as possible for visitors and native plant enthusiasts. In years to come, similar meadows will appear along the entire ABA, creating one giant outdoor classroom.

Planting a project this big requires teamwork! Trees Atlanta is partnering with Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center on a research component to the meadow. On March 1st and 2nd the Center conducted workshops to train community volunteers, contractors, and design professionals to properly install meadows and collect data for the ABA’s first research project and paper.

From March through May, the planting will take place. Hundreds of volunteers will be needed to help Trees Atlanta plant the meadow. If you are interested in volunteering, Trees Atlanta will lead plantings on select weekday and weekend mornings from 9 AM to 12 Noon in March, April, and May. Check the Trees Atlanta calendar for information and to RSVP:

Docent Walking Tours of the BeltLine Arboretum to Start on April 12

Beginning April 12, Eastside Trail visitors will be able to register for an Atlanta BeltLine Arboretum Docent Walking Tour. The walking tours will be led by well-trained experts called docents who will help tour-goers explore the Eastside Trail while focusing particularly on the horticultural collections and interesting facts about the BeltLine. The walking tour takes approximately 90 minutes and begins from an easily-accessible trailhead in Inman Park. Each docent will prepare his or her own unique talking points to spotlight native trees, architectural interests, key historical stories, and more.

To take advantage of this free walking tour, which is offered all year so you can experience every season of the ABA with a trained docent, contact Kate Baltzell at Trees Atlanta at Online registration will begin soon. Special group accommodations will be available.

Trees Atlanta thanks Kaiser Permanente for helping to make the Atlanta BeltLine Arboretum Docent Program possible.

For more information on these programs, please visit or contact Bethany Clark at 404-681-4892.

Kanuga looking spectacular with new trees

Kanuga was already looking better than usual after a recent cleanup by the city (thanks to Jenifer Keenan for bird-dogging Atlanta Public Works). But now the Atlanta BeltLine Corridor Project has planted trees along the entire length! The trees are a test plot underplanted with buffalo grass, which should provide a drought-tolerant ground cover.

Looking up the full length of Kanuga from Monroe

Looking downhill from the middle of Kanuga

Looking uphill from the middle of Kanuga

Reminder to Bag Fall Leaves for Removal

By: Peggy Berg

With the onset of fall, VaHi residents will once again be treated to the beauty of the seasonal color change – and the challenge of dealing with all those lovely little leaves when they finally fall from their branches.

As you implement your leaf removal plan this year, we’d like to remind you that it’s not only discourteous to your neighbors and bad for our ancient and over-burdened sewer system to blow leaves into the street instead of bagging them for city pick-up, but it’s illegal as well.

In a nutshell, the city requires that all property owners bag their leaves in biodegradable paper bags for pick up. There are penalties – including fines – for failure to bag leaves for removal appropriately. If you do your own leaf clean-up, please bag your leaves for city removal. If a yard service does it for you, please require them to bag the yard waste.

If you’re interested in perusing the applicable city code, follow this link. Enter the section of code you’re looking for in the search box in the upper right hand corner of the page. The applicable sections are:

Section 130-36: Removal of yard trimmings

Section 74-601 through 74-611: Unlawful disposal of litter

Storms Damage Elm Trees Along N. Highland Avenue

This week’s storm caused some limb damage among the elm trees along the northwest corner of the Virginia-Highland street scape. The Parks Department promptly trimmed the fallen limbs, and Parks Arborist Paul Lewkowtiz will evaluate their health and recommend further pruning or replacement in the next couple of weeks.

The trees are young and were heavy from the rain and their load of fall fruit; in those respects this should not be considered a rare phenomenon. This is a species generally considered to be well-suited for the location. We’ll update with Paul’s observations when we hear them.

Thanks to VaHi resident (and retired city arborist) Tom Coffin for his general comments and background info on this topic.





Trees Atlanta planting

Saturday morning 12/10 ( 9 til noon) Trees Atlanta will be here to plant 60 new neighborhood trees in areas near the BeltLine. Meet on Arcadia Street at Virginia Avenue in tree planting clothes along with your gloves – kids welcome with parental supervision. This is yet another way to meet your neighbors, and then you can watch the trees you helped plant grow and prosper in years to come. Direct any questions to our VaHi tree lady, Stephanie Coffin at

Voice – Fall 2011

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- Summerfest success
- President’s corner: volunteer for the board!
- Safety update: street captains, graffiti removal
- New Highland Park brick purchases
- 2011 Gold List of neighborhood businesses
- Street tree do’s and don’ts
- Patrols expand in VaHi and Old Fourth Ward
- VaHi history book published
- Parks update: Orme and New Highland
- Bella Cucina
- Repairs coming near Chevron and The Cavern
- Garrison Afterschool expands

Voice – Spring 2010

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- Triangle island renovation nears completion
- Home Tour recap
- Local Haiti relief efforts continue
- President’s Corner: Callanwolde silent auction results
- SPARK students introduced to debate
- Spotlight on Grady High School
- Grow fruit in your garden
- Streetscape update
- Green Dream silent auction a success
- Safety update: Reed administration and the APD
- Orme Park Phase One improvements
- How healthy are your trees?
- History part VI
- Col. Mustard reviews Rosebud

Changes to Trees in CVS Parking Lot

Note that the CVS on North Highland is having a water problem at the edge of their building and will have to go in and do some construction to fix it. They want to take down the three crapes that are blooming right now at the edge of the building because of construction. They will in exchange put in two islands in the center of the parking lot and plant 3 Chinese elms. Two trees in one and one in the other. Many thanks for Frank Mobley for negotiating this arrangement with CVS!

New Crepe Myrtles – Don’t top!

Crepe Myrtles in Our Neighborhood
Stop! Don’t cut that Crepe Myrtle!
The neighborhood has planted over 100 myrtles along North Highland beginning in 1995 to prepare for the Olympics. The myrtles stretch from Ponce de Leon to Amsterdam. The idea was to create a long avenue of beautifully formed myrtles. Just this winter Trees Atlanta added about 17 new crepes to fill in on the west side of North Highland. Trees Atlanta prunes the trees every year to create a consistency of shape and size. Although many people think that it is proper to prune myrtles, actually it weakens the tree forcing rapid growth into many shoots. In addition, the tree in a weakened condition is open to insects, primarily mites in myrtles. Another problem is the severe cutting usually results in sprouting right at the height of Stop and Pedestrian signs. This year is no exception. We only have one more weekend until the trees have leafed out. Help us protect the myrtles on Highland. Any questions, please feel free to write me at

Many thanks!

Stephanie Coffin
ISA Certified Arborist

Voice – Fall 2003

Sidewalk memorial to Cunard family

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- Vote for your Board of Directors on September 3
- President’s Address by Steven Kushner (criticism of Atkins Park resident parking)
- Proposed amendment to VHCA bylaws
- Security patrol update, by Officer B. Miller, Jr.
- Virginia-Highland by the numbers, by Chip Gallagher
- Meet congressman John Lewis
- Pictures from Summerfest 2003
- Highland Hoer: Late summer gardening, by John Wolfinger
- First person: Barrel of Fun, by Robert Ramsay
- Picture of sidewalk memorial to Cunard family
- City arborist suggests ways to check on your trees’ health

Voice – Fall 2002

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- VaHi gets first Jewish outreach center (Chabad Intown)
- Letter to the editor from Ben Northrup: “New urbanism is not mere nostalgia”
- Child and infant CPR classes
- Fundraiser for Piedmont Park off-leash dog park
- Officer Dave gives advice
- President’s corner: Summerfest success
- The 100 crape myrtles of Highland Ave., by Stephanie Coffin
- It’s high time for tea, by Jenn Ballentine (drink tea and talk to each other more)
- Mosquito madness meets match, by Chip Gallagher
- Pearls of wisdom from Highland Hoer, by John Wolfinger

Brookridge Tree Petition

UPDATE, 7.3.01

Joan Walters wrote a letter on 6/28 to Susan Miller thanking her for her responsiveness to many neighbor’ concerns about saving trees on 817 and 821 Brookridge and asking for clarification regarding her proposed changes to her tree plan for 821. It was unclear whether Ms. Miller had made any changes to the tree plan for 817 and Ms. Miller has not responded to several phone calls. Then on Friday 6/29, a FOR SALE sign was posted on the 817 Brookridge lot. Apparently Ms. Miller is asking $275,000 for that lot or $550,000 for both lots but she does not want to sell 821 separately.

On 6/30 the City installed sewer lines for both lots.

On 7/2, Frank Mobley, the Senior Arborist told Joan Walters that Susan Miller has not resubmitted a revised tree plan yet. If she does, the plan will be posted again and neighbors could review the changes to see if they are satisfied. At that point, a decision would be made about whether to go forward with an appeal or not.

Of course, the best outcome would be if the lots could be purchased and continue to be used as the greenspace that so many people have enjoyed for years, but that would be a big undertaking. We will continue to explore the options and keep everyone updated.

UPDATE, 6.21.01

Thanks to everyone who signed the Brookridge petition both online and off and wrote letters to Susan Miller, the developer. On 6/19/01, the day before the hearing of the appeal was scheduled, Ms. Miller asked the Tree Conservation Commission to cancel the appeal hearing because she was working to revise plans and would resubmit them to the City at a later date. We thank everyone who came to the hearing on 6/20/01; we were unable to notify everyone regarding the last minute cancellation and apologize for any inconvenience.

On 6/21/01, Joan Walters received a letter from Ms. Miller which responded to the concerns which had been raised by neighbors at a meeting with her on 6/8/01. In part, her letter reads: “I have revised my plans for 821 Brookridge Drive to address your concerns about trees. My revised plans result in saving all trees in the rear set back area, particularly the large water oak that everyone has been so concerned about and saving an additional tree in the front set back area. The changes have substantially reduced or I should say eliminated any meaningful backyard for the proposed houses. This for me, is a major compromise in an effort to address your concerns and move forward.”

We are in the process of trying to get more details from Ms. Miller, as well as a copy of her revised plans to review in order to understand more fully the specifics of her proposal. For example, the letter only addresses one lot: 821 Brookridge (the lot on the left); and says nothing about 817 Brookridge (the lot on the right). We will continue to keep everyone posted regarding developments.


The Virginia Highland Board of Directors has voted to support the appeal to the Tree Conservation Commission filed by neighbors on April 30, 2001, for property at 817 & 821 Brookridge Drive. The following is being posted on behalf of those neighbors filing the appeal:

The appeal regarding the clear cutting of the two lots has been scheduled for a hearing before the Tree Conservation Commission. It will be held at 6:00 pm on Wednesday June 20, 2001, in Committee Room 2, Second Floor, Atlanta City Hall (downtown) 55 Trinity Street, SW, Atlanta. The appeal is supported by the Virginia Highland Board of Directors as well as by Neighborhood Planning Unit (NPU) F. Attend the hearing if you can. Numbers can make a difference in showing a broad base of support.

Several neighbors have met with Susan Miller, the developer of the lots at 817 and 821 Brookridge Drive (overlooking Orme Park), who plans to build two 3,600 to 3,800 square foot houses. We do not dispute her right to build these houses, if they meet City Code, or her right to remove trees in the footprint of the buildings. However she is planning such extensive grading that she says it is impossible to save any trees. We believe that it is possible to modify the plans so that there is less extensive grading which would allow some trees, particularly those close to the rear and side property line, to be saved. As of 6/13/01, Susan Miller has not indicated any willingness to look at alternatives.


Fill out the petition below.

Write Susan Miller immediately and express your opinion about her removing all of the trees. Then fax or (e)mail a copy of your letter to Joan Walters who filed the appeal:

Ms. Susan Miller
1785 Johnson Road NE
Atlanta, GA 30306

cc: Joan Walters
677 Elkmont Drive, NE
Atlanta, Georgia 30306
fax: 404-872-5015

Attend the hearing of this appeal at 6:00 PM, Wednesday, June 20, 2001 in committee Room 2, Second Floor, Atlanta City Hall, 55 Trinity Street, SW [downtown].


Please call Joan Walters at 404-872-5649 or Stephanie Coffin (who is co-chair of the VaHi Civic Association Parks Committee) at 404-874-0523 if you have any questions or ideas regarding this situation.
Check this page for updates:
Read the Tree Protection Ordinance online at the city of atlanta website:


“I feel that every effort should be made to protect the trees at 817 and 821 Brookridge Drive. I oppose the planned clear cutting of these lots and urge Susan Miller to work with the community to save as many trees as possible.”




Comments * :

* We are seeking volunteers interested in contributing their talents / expertise / time toward this effort. If you have construction, legal, architectural, earth / environmental sciences experience – we need you. Please make a note in the comments field above. Thank you.

Voice – Fall 2001

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  • Jules Burt, artist and creator of artwork for Summerfest incl. t-shirts
  • Planning update by Betty Baumann and Winnie Currie: Eats ‘n’ Sweets location, 830 Ponce (case to save the trees was lost)
  • PEDS
  • Summerfest 2001 was success
  • Park and tree news: GA Power line clearance, 817/821 Brookridge trees, Final defeat at 830 Ponce
  • Overview of VHCA committees

Great news for the neighborhood–and our trees!

The Ga. Supreme Court accepted the Virginia-Highland Civic Association’s appeal concerning the removal of trees on the property on Ponce de Leon and Freedom Parkway. The court issued a stay pending the resolution of the appeal! That appeal could last about a year.

This issuance is a great interim victory and means no activity can happen at the property until the appeal is resolved.

Thank you for all your support!

Voice – Fall 1999

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  • 780 N. Highland (as of 2012, Glamour Paws) – Doug Landau bought building and plans to demolish to make parking structure – help stop this
  • Cotton Club (capacity: 700, parking: 0) coming to Hilan Theatre – help stop this
  • Piedmont Park master plan update
  • Maintaining street tree diversity
  • Summerfest news

Voice – Winter 1995

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- VHCA Goals
- President’s Corner: Entertainment complex at site of Colgate Mattress warehouse remanded to BZA
- Profiles on 1995-96 board members
- Biking to the Olympics, by Dennis Hoffarth
- Tree News, by Stephanie Coffin, Parks co-chair
- Survey form: change in the Voice?
- Recycling pays off, by Nan Hunter
- Col. Mustard reviews Chow (1026 1/2 N. Highland) and Dark Horse Tavern
- Green with energy (how to decrease exposure to indoor pollutants), by Sarah Tomaka
- John Howell Park project: Felix deWeldon (who designed Washington, D.C.’s Iwo Jima Memorial) has donated design for sculpture “HOPE (International AIDS Monument)”

Voice – Fall 1995

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- Summerfest ’95
- President’s Corner: city Zoning board did not issue exceptions to Cartel Properties to build a 27,000 ft2, 2000-patron restaurant/entertainment complex, the largest in the city, on the site of the Colgate Mattress warehouse at 712 Ponce de Leon Place. Access was only via 2-lane Ponce Place and parking would be all-valet with only 3 spaces on-site.
- Tips from the trade (review of Kliphph Where? clothing store)
- John Howell Park Project: playground is finished! Outwrite Bookstore donates $3000 earned from Greg Louganis book signing event.
- Tree news: new tree ordinance protecting trees takes effect
- School roundup
- Finally, an intown farmer’s market
- Environmental potpourri
- Col. Mustard reviews St. Charles Deli
- Green with energy (weatherization tips), by Sarah Tomaka
- Summerfest 1995 photos (2 pages)

Voice – Summer 1995

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- Showtime again, Summerfest ’95 just around the corner, by Deborah Cox
- Many thanks, Steve Jagger (profile of Steve Jagger) by Debbie Skoczynski
- President’s corner: Storage facility at Virginia and Kanuga turned down, permit vetoed for “Hilan Billiards” at 800 N. Highland
- Atkins Park thanks supporters of landscaping of gate area
- Bike Stuff by Mike Goodman
- Girl Scouts do more than sell cookies, by Roberta and Sarah McQuade
- Neighbors and city team up to clean up (Ponce at St. Charles)
- Environmental potpourri
- Col. Mustard reviews Harry and Sons
- Green with energy (tips to lower water use), by Sarah Tomaka
- John Howell Park project, by Tinka Green
- Easter egg hunt at John Howell Park, by Sunny Williams
- Ponce Coalition update, by Jett Marks
- VaHi tree planting continues, by Stephanie Coffin

Voice – Winter 1994

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- Board members each answer 6 interview questions (J.D. Christy, Debbie Skopczynski, Winnie Currie, Tom Austin, Bruce Taylor, Arnold Gross, Amy Waterman, Steve Jaggers, Mary Jo Peed, Melanie Davenport, Paul Concannon)
- Everything you wanted to know about zoning but were afraid to ask, by Stephen Jagger and Debbie Skopczynski
- President’s Corner, by J.D. Christy
- Annual meeting seats new board, by Beth Marks
- Photos from annual meeting
- Bike Stuff
- Environmental potpourri, by Nan Hunter
- Col. Mustard reviews Camille’s
- Happy (1st) birthday, Virginia-Highland Business Association
- Art supports A.I.D.S., by Shelley Scher
- Local group (CAUTION) makes a difference, by Shelley Scher
- School news
- Tips from the trade: Review of The Common Pond, which sold environmentally friendly products
- John Howell Park project, by Tinka Green
- Greening up for the gold, by Stephanie Coffin, co-chair Parks
- Letters of thanks from recipients of VHCA grants

Voice – Fall 1994

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- The Greening of the Neighborhood, by Stephanie Coffin, co-chair Parks
- SummerFest ’94, by Arnold Gross
- President’s Corner, incl. “the croissanting of VaHi”, by J.D. Christy
- Summerfest 1994 financial report (pre-tax profit $36,242)
- Post office changes inside and out, by Shelley Scher
- Bike Stuff, by Mike Goodman
- St. Charles-Greenwood proposed downzoning spawns task force, by Melanie Davenport
- Environmental potpourri, by Nan Hunter
- Highland herbalist: Tarragon
- Col. Mustard reviews and ranks seven places to have “a fancy cup of coffee”: Virginia’s Koffie House, San Francisco, The Dessert Place, Red Light Café, Chef, Aurora, and Highland Coffee
- Tips from the trade: profile of The Herb Shop Prevention Center
- Helping children at risk (for crime; discusses “CAR” program), by Paula Miller
- John Howell Park project, by Tinka Green
- A shopping tail (bringing your pets with you shopping), by Shelley Scher
- VaHi security patrol update (neighborhood-wide patrol was not started), by Beth Marks

Voice – Summer 1994

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- Summerfest time again
- VaHi Security Patrol (neighborhood-wide) set to start July 1, only $150 per year, by Beth Marks
- Mayor Bill Campbell addresses growing VaHi Business Assn., by Susan Guerroro, VHBA president
- The times, they are a-changin’ (Superior Foods closes its doors), by Swan McKnight
- Green facelift planned for N. Highland, by Stephanie Coffin and Kathy Couch
- Summerfest volunteers confess they did it for fun, by Bryan Hendrix
- The Highland Herbalist: Basil
- Bike stuff, by the Bike Guy
- Col. Mustard reviews Savage Pizza
- John Howell Park update (photo: Commissioner Boxill congratulates VaHi), by Tinka Green
- Recycle today, by Nan Hunter

Voice – Fall 1993

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- Summerfest contest was a piece of art
- My home, my castle and my office (profile of residents who work at home), by Deborah Cox
- Crime down sharply in FBAC area
- More B.S. (that’s bike stuff), by Michael Goodman
- Col. Mustard reviews Red Light Café at Amsterdam Walk
- Full text of updated VHCA bylaws
- Olympic trees, going for the green. Profile of Stephanie Coffin and her tree planting. By Kathy Couch
- Recycle today, by Nan Hunter
- John Howell Park fundraising update, by Jerry Bright
- Kidsfest successful 3rd straight year
- By-laws committee completes its work