The Man Who Saved the Big Tree (Click here to view picture and story)

(as referenced in the left hand tab Tim's Bio. )

Introduction: At a recent Candidate Forum, a person walked up to Tim and said, "You're the man who saved the big tree." This was a reference to the mention in "Tim's Bio" of Tim's having saved the giant Wisteria that is now in his front yard on Park Blvd.

It turns out that "saving the big tree" was meaningful to many people, so this story is being posted to honor the Wisteria and to symbolize the qualities of caring and nurturing that can be difficult to communicate to 60,000 Palo Alto residents in a short election cycle.

The rest of the story . . .

A giant Wisteria once stood as the sentry to the old Children's Hospital (across from Nordstrom's near the San Francisquito Creek), and put out a wonderful sweet essence through its brilliant purple blossoms.

The tree greeted many chronically ill children on a daily basis, as nurses would navigate wheelchairs under the towering vines.

With the arrival of the new Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford, the old facility was vacated in favor of a new, modern, and expanded facility with state-of-the-art, life-saving equipment.

Many doctors, nurses and employees, who remember this as a magical place of healing or a sweet place to say goodbye, have retained a sentiment about the Big Tree with the wonderful scent.

Before the bulldozers arrived to prepare the site for development, Tim Gray arranged to bring a giant digger, a semi truck and a plant doctor to rescue the Big Tree. (While most aged Wisteria are smaller vines, this plant had developed a large trunk and a 12 ft. height, to be rightfully classified as a giant.)

Before the Big Tree arrived at Gray's residence on Park Blvd., a seven ft. wide and six ft. deep hole was excavated in the front yard. The Big Tree was laid horizontally on the semi truck and transported across town to Park Blvd., where its massive root system was placed into the hole of the exact same size. A plant doctor was on hand to make sure the the roots were placed in the exact same north, south, east, and west alignment as its previous residence. A shot of special enzymes was delivered by the plant doctor. Even at that, the tree had a 75% chance to live.

Though the cost was considerable, "it wasn't really something I had to think about very much, Gray said. "In a sense, it represented the essence of the spirit of Palo Alto, and I just knew someone had to save it."

Not only did it live but it has thrived, and it has rewarded the neighborhood with beautiful purple blooms while broadcasting its wonderful scent (and memories) for the past fifteen years.


Right man for the job!

Such a wonderful story, I look forward to smelling the tree one day.

I know you to be dedicated to 'Right Human Relations' and that you always try 'To Do the Right Thing' so That makes you the 'Right' man for the job!

All the Best,

Saving the giant tree

I remember that day when you saved this wonderful tree. I went to the parking lot at Children's Hospital to watch the tree being uprooted.
My older daughter was born with a severe case of scoliosis and we spent a major part of her young life at Children's Hospital having body casts made and going for physical therepy. That tree also meant alot to us because it was the only bright spot in our lives asssociated with going to the hospital.
When I heard that you were going to save the tree and plant it in your front yard I was so excited that I wanted to participate in some small way and is why I donated some money to help you with the exhorbitant price you paid to have this done.
This action on your part is just one of the major reasons you should be elected as a council member for the City of Palo Alto.

"The man..."

Thank you for sharing the story. I hadn't heard it from you yet and can say that based on what I know about you I am not surprised in the least that it didn't take much thinking for you to 'do the right thing' by the neighborhood. Palo Alto is blessed to have you and your family and will be even more so with your service on council.
You are the man.