By UBC Botanical Garden |
The Gardens at HCP is getting a piece of BC history. A tree propagated from the original Golden Spruce from Haida Gwaii will be planted in the Gardens on October 4th.
The public is invited to a dedication ceremony at 1 pm following by a reception and screening of the film “Hadwin’s Judgement” which is based on the book “The Golden Spruce: A True Story of Myth, Madness, and Greed” by John Valliant. This book will be available in our gift shop.
We hope to see you at this exciting event and please come back as we all enjoy seeing the growth.
BC History recounts the amazing story of a proud, majestic and beautiful tree, the Golden Spruce – Picea sitchensis ‘Aurea’. Growing on Haida Gwaii (formerly the Queen Charlotte Islands), its fame extended internationally, with people coming to view it from many parts of the world until this 300-year-old unique tree was cut down in 1997.
Scrawny in size, but immense in history, the little tree described in the article below, is now living in the Gardens at the Horticulture Centre of the Pacific (HCP) where it moved in October 2017. It is a direct descendant of that famous tree, grafted from a branch of the original Golden Spruce, onto Sitka Spruce rootstock (which is the green vertical branch that you see).
Because this tree was grafted from a lower branch of the original tree, it lacks the hormone needed to make one branch turn upwards to form a dominant vertical “leader”. Therefore, it can only form a bush, rather than the typical triangular shape of normal trees. The lack of chlorophyll (green) in the golden needles means that they sunburn easily and then some can drop off. This is why it needs to grow in a shaded spot. To our knowledge, this is the oldest surviving direct descendant of the original tree, but all others are the same shape as this tree, resembling a bush.
The full story of the original Golden Spruce can be read in the national bestselling book, available in the HCP Giftshop: The Golden Spruce: A True Story of Myth, Madness and Greed By John Vaillant
The DVD, “Hadwin’s Judgement” is a movie about the sad story of the events that led up to the cutting down of this magnificent tree, and is available to view or borrow for HCP members.
The following story is one dictated by Jim Kinghorn, the propagator of this tree, to his daughter in 2013, less than a year before he died. The tree spent most of its life at Jim’s residence in Saanich, and was moved to HCP as a donation to honor this amazing tree and its prominent place in BC History.