This Garry oak comes from the local Tsolum River Garry oak nursery owned & operated by biologist Peter L. Maingon. The Garry oak is approximately 7 ft. high and in excellent health. The planting of this tree was carried out by a qualified registered arborist, Karen Cummings. Karen is an expert in the conservation and care of Garry oaks and serves on the Board of Comox Valley Nature.
Garry oaks are slow growing, very hardy and sturdy. Once established they can withstand long periods of drought and prolonged rainy seasons. They are very resistant to wind damage and are very low maintenance. Their average lifespan is from 150 to 250 years. Though some Garry oaks are known to grow to 325-350 years. Several of these old growth Garry oaks are located in St. Andrews Cemetery behind the old Anglican Mission Church. They are part of the “Tsolum River Garry Oak Ecosystem listed on “Canada’s Historic Places” national registry.
Garry oaks can grow to be large, as all oaks typically can. But the maximum canopy span will not overhang the rear parking lot. In time it will prove to be an excellent shade tree for back yard recreation activities and the parking lot. It will also help to intercept stray balls from the golf course from hitting nearby cars and buildings.
Garry oaks, as you probably know, are a unique native oak species to the Comox Valley and the southwest coast of B.C., Washington State and Oregon. They are designated by municipal by-law as a protected native tree species in Comox & Courtenay. The Comox Valley is their most northerly original habitat that extended up to Merville.
The Garry oaks are significant to the traditional culture and historic legacy of the Pentlatch of the Komox valley. They were once part of the culturally modified ecosystem, established through centuries of indigenous cultivation of Garry oaks, Camas lilies and other food crops over a 10 square mile area of the Komox valley. It is believed that the Garry oaks first came to Vancouver Island about 6000 years B.C.E, after the retreat of the last ice sheets in this area, and have been cultivated by the Pentlatch for around 4,000 years B.C.E.
Bill Henderson, a member of the parish, has ensured that the supply, delivery and planting cost were entirely covered at no expense to St. Peter’s. His reasons for this gift proposal to St. Peters are to commemorate the 130 year anniversary of St. Peter’s and to signify our acknowledgement and appreciation to Coastal Salish Pentlatch and Komox First Nation on whose land our Parish and Church are situated. It is also his special hope that the gift of this Garry oak will celebrate our shared faith and caring that has nurtured our Parish through this long Covid-19 pandemic. Planting this Garry oak in springtime may symbolize our hope and faith in our renewed future and the special place of our parish in the Comox valley.