Oak tree planted in memory of Stephen Thorning

A red oak tree now stands at the Wellington County Museum and Archives in memory of Stephen Thorning.

A former life member and past president of the Elora and Salem Horticultural Society and Wellington Advertiser history columnist, Thorning died on Feb. 23, 2015.

The Wellington County Museum and Archives allowed the society to plant the tree on May 15 near the access road to the Aboyne library branch.

Elora and Salem Horticultural Society president Dudley Foster thanked those who braved “this lovely spring Canadian day.” He quipped that Environment Canada had told him that this would be the perfect day for a tree planting.

Society member Jude Dowling thanked all those who helped make the tree planting possible.

She noted the society purchased the tree and that Wellington Place administrator Janice Hindley provided permission to plant it. She said Foster and his wife went out to “interview” trees to select one for the site.

Wycliffe (Sandy) DeLong and Susan Thorning undertook the ceremonial planting.

Thorning said her brother loved trees “and one of his first horticultural activities was planting all of the trees around the original Thorning property to make up that evergreen windbreak.”

He was about 12 years old at the time, she said.

“After that, every spring he would scour the property for the little tiny seedlings, which he said were planted by the birds.”

Thorning said her brother would plant those seedlings in the garden and take care of them.

One of them is a “perfect” tree, she added.

“There are two oak trees we can see from (the) sunroom in our new house on the property. One of them is the most perfect specimen tree.

“I remember Steve looking at it smugly. I asked him how old the tree was and thinking how nice it would be to plant some more … he said the tree was probably 40 years old.”

Since the tree was still not that tall, they decided to get faster-growing trees.

“I’m really so pleased to see this tree here and I thank the horticultural society for doing this and for all of you for coming to mark this occasion,” said Thorning.

DeLong added “the horticultural society was so important to Steve. One of the things I found in the house were all his winning entries over the years from the flower show.”

DeLong added the oldest entry “was when Steve was 11 years old … and he treasured these … and kept them for over 50 years.”

Foster said a plaque will be added to the tree later this year to commemorate “Steve.”