Hillside Natural Area
Located along the north side of Schmidt Lane
7500 Schmidt Lane
El Cerrito, CA 94530
The El Cerrito Garden Club has established a program which enables individuals or groups to have a tree planted in memory of a family member or friend. The Memorial Grove is located in Hillside Natural Area (Schmidt Lane entrance).
The El Cerrito City Council, the El Cerrito Foundation, as well as the El Cerrito Garden Club and garden designer, Harland Hand, cooperated in the preparation of a master plan for the Memorial Grove. In 1989, the El Cerrito Foundation disbanded, and the El Cerrito Garden Club assumed responsibility for the project. Foundation funds were used to install irrigation lines in the Grove several years ago, eliminating the need for laborious hand watering using buckets lugged up the slope by volunteers.
The Grove, ranging along the north side of Schmidt Lane and up-slope near the Recycling Center, is approximately one acre in area. Its largest trees were planted over 25 years ago by various groups, including Scouts and Marines, with seedlings from the State Division of Forestry.
Arborists now recommend one-gallon size trees rather than trees in larger containers as smaller trees establish themselves more quickly and grow faster. Fall planting is best for the young trees to take advantage of the cooler weather and winter rains.
One-gallon trees are planted each fall by Garden Club volunteers. Plaques are installed on the reverse side of the large redwood sign marking the entrance to the Natural Area. Donors are notified in advance of the planting dates and plaque installation. Garden Club volunteers water, fertilize, and maintain the trees year round.
The cost for a memorial grove planting is $150, which includes both the plaque, the tree, and the planting. For more information or to request a living memorial planting, please call the Community Development office at City Hall at (510) 215-4382. Or you can send an email by clicking on Contact Us (see tab above) and entering your contact information for us to reach you.