Vimy Oaks Legacy...101 Years On...
Moving plant material across international borders can pose biosecurity risks.
Understandably, countries have regulations in place that determine what is acceptable and what is not. The story of the Vimy Oaks is an interesting example, writes Audrey Gerber.
Handful of Acorns
The Battle of Vimy Ridge took place in France in April 1917, and is considered to be the most significant battle in Canadian history. A Canadian soldier, Leslie Miller, sent a handful of acorns from Vimy Ridge home to Canada, and planted these on his farm in Ontario. Ten of these original oaks are now handsome old trees.
Monty MacDonald, president of the Vimy Oaks Legacy, had the desire to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy by planting oaks on a memorial site in France. He collected acorns and produced thousands of Vimy oak trees. However, his plans were thwarted when these trees were refused entry into France for biosecurity reasons.
Contract for 300 Oak Trees
A conversation at IPM Essen in January 2016 provided the solution. L’Orme Montferrat nursery, one of the speciality nurseries within the Les Pépinières de France group, were contracted to propagate 300 oak trees at their site east of Paris. The acorns were collected from the Vimy oak trees and sent over from Canada.
Opening November 9
While living trees were seen to pose a biosecurity risk, the acorns were acceptable to the French authorities. These Vimy oak trees are now 1.5m – 2m tall, and will be planted at the new park at Vimy in time for its opening on 9th November 2018.
L’Orme Montferrat nursery was chosen for this task because of its specialisation in trees and shrubs, and for its close proximity to the site.
This is an example of the impact of the International networking that is so valuable at the plant trade shows in Europe. Les Pépinières de France strengthens its business offer through the individual specialities of its member nurseries.