Siblings grow 300 trees, find healing from heartbreak in progress

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By Daniel Warn / dan@yelmonline.com

On a given day in Yelm City Park or Cochrane Memorial Park, locals from the Yelm area, Coco Lopez, 22, and her brother Kevin, 15, could be seen walking around with one of their 300 baby trees.

The siblings have a nursery at their home in the Yelm Highway area, about a mile from Red Wind Casino, which started out as a sort of home-based plant science project.

Now, the business may soon turn into a business for the siblings, who saw around 40 trees sold last year, which is double the usual payoff. Most of the duo’s current income goes to their hobby, though both have their eyes on a possible business license.

“We like to call it our business or our nursery, but it’s more of a hobby,” Lopez said. “See, it started a long time ago. We kind of picked up (saplings) around the neighborhood and just cultivated them. “

It was actually Kevin’s doing.

In 2014, he had big plans to grow a tree, take care of it, and see it grow. Yet he didn’t stop at just one tree. The nursery grew to around seven in no time.

“We weren’t very successful back then, but we tried it and really liked it,” Kevin said. “Over the years, we built (the nursery) and it just got bigger and bigger. One day we had 12, then a few years later we ended up with 100, then 200. ”

Now, with around 50 of the 300 trees ready to be sold, the forest is the limit for the siblings. From their stock, the duo have blue spruce trees, several types of cedar and a locust tree ready for repatriation, as well as a dozen other types of trees in different stages of growth.

“We love growing them in general – seeing the changes with each passing year, seeing the buds popping,” Lopez said. “I just like growing trees in general and sharing that with everyone.”

Kevin accepted.

“Sharing our passion with people is one of our favorite things,” he said. “We love to grow trees, and as we watch them grow, we sell them. And by doing this, we are building our nursery. As we grow we sell more trees.

The siblings have a “Kevin and Coco’s Trees” Facebook page for the business side of things and also an Instagram page to share their trip.

“On our Instagram page, we kind of share our adventures with our trees,” Lopez said. “Like, we walk around the neighborhood with them and sometimes we do fairy garden stuff. Sometimes we go to the park and take a tree with us.

Still, the siblings have faced their fair share of grief and challenges in recent times, obstacles that trees have made a kind of balm for.

“We recently lost our mother last year,” Lopez said. “It hasn’t been a full year yet. In pursuing our trees, honestly, I think (his passing has) brought us even closer to our passion. And that made us more determined to keep these trees alive.

When they are with their trees, thethey feel their mother’s presence, they said.

“She kind of lives through them,” Lopez said. “She has always loved seeing our trees and getting to know them.”

Sometimes their mother would go out and look at the trees, encouraging and helping the siblings in their hobby, creating a forest of treasured memories of a mother who found joy in what her children were most passionate about, Lopez said. .

“We actually have a tree that we named Annette after my mother,” Lopez said. “And she was able to see the tree shortly before she died. The Madrones of the Pacific are his favorites.

The grief that accompanies the loss of a parent has only been associated with the hardships siblings face on a daily basis.

“Other challenges that my brother and I face, aside from losing my mom, are that we both have ADHD and we both have autism,” said Lopez, whose pronouns are them and them. .

They added that it was difficult to ensure that all watering and tree maintenance was done in an organized manner, especially with Kevin who completed an online schooling last year due to closures related to the COVID-19.

Kevin said the nursery was what got him through the year of mourning and virtual learning.

“There were a lot of things I was losing motivation and interest in, and one of my last and biggest interests was trees,” he said. “I just like growing trees, being around trees. Just being in touch with nature and seeing the trees reminds me of everything I have done and accomplished in my life, and how beauty can come from the things in which you have worked so hard.

And through their work with trees, the siblings try to go beyond their own situation, to touch the lives of others and the world itself, Lopez said.

“By planting a tree, you save the world,” they said. “There’s nothing wrong with wanting to save the world, honestly. We love what we are doing here and it also helps the world. We are very passionate about it and I would say pursuing your hobbies is definitely something you should be doing, because if you are interested in it, it is never work.


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