In January 1997, the first memorial tree at the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park was planted by members of the Pink Ladies Volunteer Corps.
They were honouring the late Mrs. Ena Watler, active Pink Lady, Garden Club member and long-serving Justice of the Peace who had died the previous April.
In 2005, the park’s general manager Mr. Andrew Guthrie advised the Pink Ladies that the tree they planted had succumbed to damage caused during Hurricane Ivan.
The decision was quickly made to plant another of the same kind of tree and re-word the plaque accompanying it.
On 25 February, Pink Ladies gathered again at the park and again took turns shovelling soil onto the roots of a West Indian senna tree. Miss Ena’s son, Mr. Brainard Watler, also attended and took part again.
The first tree had been planted near the entrance to the Visitors Centre. The new one is in the yellow section of the Colour Gardens.
Mr. Guthrie explained that the senna was originally chosen because of its vivid yellow blossoms and the fact that it blooms off and on throughout the year. ‘It’s incredibly drought tolerant, pest- and disease-free and easy to grow,’ he added.
The Botanic Park now has about a dozen memorial trees, Mr. Guthrie said.
Individuals or organisations interested in remembering someone this way may contact him for details.
Typically, the memorial would involve a donation of $500 to the park plus the cost of the plaque. If the tree is not available, there would also be the cost of procuring it.
The donor’s wishes will be taken into account as much as possible, Mr. Guthrie said. However, non-native invasive species could not be allowed.
Another option would be to sponsor an existing tree and mark it with the appropriate sign.