From left, Cowichan Hospice executive director Gretchen Hartley, arborist Warren Walters, Sarah Stokes of Dinter Nursery, and Duncan city councillor Carol Newington put the finishing touches on a newly planted apple tree in Centennial Park, grown from a cutting off a beloved tree that had to be cut down in the Cairnsmore neighbourbood. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

From left, Cowichan Hospice executive director Gretchen Hartley, arborist Warren Walters, Sarah Stokes of Dinter Nursery, and Duncan city councillor Carol Newington put the finishing touches on a newly planted apple tree in Centennial Park, grown from a cutting off a beloved tree that had to be cut down in the Cairnsmore neighbourbood. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Cairnsmore apple tree gets new life in Duncan’s Centennial Park

Four cuttings live on from beloved tree on hospice site

A “baby” apple tree — one of several saved when a beloved long-standing tree had to be taken down for the construction of Cowichan Hospice House — was planted at the Centennial Park Community Garden early this month.

When the original tree had to be cut down in 2019 to make room for the new facility at the corner of Cairnsmore and Cavell streets in Duncan, Cowichan Hospice had the idea to keep the tree’s legacy alive by grafting new ones from it. They reached out to Dinter Nursery, who put them in touch with retired arborist Warren Walters.

While it wasn’t the ideal time of year when he made the cuttings, Walters was able to keep four of six rootstocks alive. One was broken off by a bird shortly after he made it, and another died mysteriously over the winter.

RELATED: Sarah Simpson Column: New life born from old tree at Hospice House site

Two of Walters’s rescued trees were planted at homes in the Cairnsmore neighbourhood, one was planted at the hospice site, and one was planted in Centennial Park on Oct. 8.

Among those in attendance when the tree was planted in Centennial Park was Duncan city councillor Carol Newington, who was raised in the Cairnsmore neighbourhood and lives there now, just two blocks from where she grew up.

“As a youth, we used to pick apples from the tree,” she recalled.

“It’s so nice to see it’s been preserved. So many kids were affected by the apple tree. It’s a good memory.”

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