The Octagon – May, 2022


Finally, Spring has arrived and with it the blooming flowers and the excited twitter of returning birds. After our Springclean-athon on April 30th, the Fintry Manor House is ready to welcome visitors for another season and will now be open for tours weekends only for now. By the end of June, we will be able to offer tours during the week as well.

Last Sunday saw a gathering of around 30 people for the unveiling of the indigenous plaque which states that we acknowledge that Fintry is on the unceded territory of the Sylix Okanagan Nation. Several of our native neighbours were on hand for this event which was followed by coffee and refreshments and tours of the Manor House.

Now we are getting ready for our next big event to be held this coming Sunday, May 8th…..our annual Spring Fintry Fair open from 10-4pm. We have over 20 vendors booked that will be set up on the lawn, plus various bands playing throughout the day, including the Kalamalka Highlanders Pipe Band. There will be Food trucks and entry is by donation ….. dogs on leash are welcome! It is a beautiful drive along Westside Road so come on out and make a day of it!        

While visiting Fintry, check out this magnificent tree on the lawn of the Manor House.  Dan, our Curator has been doing some research……  

 In the southeast quadrant of the front lawn of the Fintry Manor House there stands a tree, a veteran Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) perhaps about 150 years old. If that age estimate is correct, then the tree would have been in existence and incorporated into the garden as it evolved during the Dun-Waters’ era.  

At some point it suffered a near-fatal event, though we are not certain exactly what or when. A lightening strike may have been what it was.  The result however is clear, the largest part of the main trunk snapped off at a height of about 12 feet. Such damage could have caused the death of the tree, but in this case, side branches continued to grow, from which arose vertical stems each of which looked like a tree in itself.  About eight years ago, three of these side branches broke off, unable to bear the weight and twisting in high winds.

It was suggested then that the whole tree should be cut down and removed, but before any action was taken, the Friends of Fintry consulted with Cody Tree Services of Kelowna to see if there was any way to save the tree and its remaining branches.   Their suggestion was to cable the upright stems together. This was done, and the tree is still standing, having survived many subsequent wind storms. A beautiful demonstration of ‘ Strength in Unity’.

The Douglas Fir was introduced into cultivation by David Douglas in 1827, and is named in honour of Archibald Menzies, the botanist on Captain Vancouver’s voyage, 1791 – 1795.   The natural range extends from British Columbia southwards into the higher mountains of Mexico, and it has been introduced as a forestry tree in many other areas, notably Scotland.    The tallest tree in the U. K. is a Douglas Fir near Inverness, determined by the Scottish Forestry Commission in 2014 as being 217.10 feet (66.4 metres) high.    Visitors to Drumlanrig Castle can see a Douglas Fir that has grown from seed that David Douglas sent back in 1827.   Here at Fintry we appreciate BC Parks agreeing to let Cody Tree Services come to the rescue of this one on its own ground.

We look forward to seeing you at the Fintry Fair on Sunday where the festivities take place all around this great tree!

Kathy Drew,

Friends of Fintry Provincial Park

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