Wednesday, July 25, 2012

What Will Happen to The Queen Mom's Oak Tree?

Oak tree showing to the left
The following article was written by Gertrude Taylor many years ago and was reprinted in Focus on April 15, 2002, soon after the death of the Queen Mother Elizabeth. It was submitted by Mrs. Taylor's daughter, Ethel Martin, who once operated a store in Blyth.

Two special oak trees were planted on the Blyth School grounds around 1940. Only one of the trees is still in existence. The future of that tree is now very uncertain as the former school grounds are up for sale.

Here is the article:

Big Oaks from little acorns grow. This is an old saying, but proof that it is still true can be seen growing in the school grounds in Blyth.

This story began in 1939. In that year King George VI and Queen Elizabeth toured  Canada. At every stop the Royal train made on this tour great crowds greeted them. Parents were anxious that their school age children should see them. The great interest shown by the children won the hearts of the Royal Visitors, so much so, that acorns from the oak trees growing in the Royal Grounds at Westminster, England, were promised to be sent to the schools according to the number of pupils attending each school, also saplings were promised.

The promised acorn, five in number, arrived at Blyth with instruction for starting and care of same.  Instruction were to start each acorn in a small container, with only a small amount of water, keep moist and in the sunlight. Each acorn was started in and egg sup. In a short time two began to show signs of growth. The other three made no such signs. Early the following year saplings, either one or two, arrived at Blyth.

In those years the 24th of May was always celebrated on the 24th , not a week earlier, nor a week later. I remember that year the 24th was on a Monday. Mr. Jim Huckstep, the town barber for many years in Blyth was also a great lover of horticultural work. He with some of the councillors, carrying a shovel and pail of water. took the saplings to the Memorial Hall grounds and planted them. They then took the two seedlings, which by this time had grown 10 or 12 inches in height, to the school grounds and planted them also. Oh, they seemed so small to be out on their own, but with the protection around each on they managed to come right along.

Because they had plenty of room to grow they are now two beautiful trees. I admit I was very pleased adn excited when the first signs of life began to show in each of the two acorns. I gave them my very best care and feel, when I look at the trees that I have been well repaid for my labours. I still believe that only God can make a tree.

Perhaps there are some who have never heard the story of the two Royal Oak Trees. They are growing on the North West corner of the Blyth school grounds.

The writer of this article lived in and around Blyth all her life until 1950 when she moved to Goderich. There are many beautiful trees in Goderich, too, but none so special to the writer as the two Oak Trees that began life in my egg cups.

Written by Mrs. G. M. Taylor, Goderich, Ontario

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