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Distinctive backyard set to maneuver to arboretum in Langley

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“After a few minutes Marlene looked me in the eye and said, ‘Why don’t you do anything about it? ‘

“That’s how it all started.”

Langley agrologist Les Clay with a Japanese maple tree on his property in Langley on October 28, 2020. This tree is one of dozen of trees being brought into an arboretum.  For Kevin Griffin story.  Image Credit: Mike Bell / PNG [PNG Merlin Archive]Langley agrologist Les Clay with a Japanese maple tree on his property in Langley on October 28, 2020. This tree is one of dozen of trees being brought into an arboretum. Photo by Mike Bell /.PNG

By 2010, the Langley Parish had passed a master plan for the Derek Doubleday Arboretum. Last year, a two-story log post and beam interpretation center opened at the park on the 21200 block of Fraser Highway. The arboretum is home to the Arboretum and Botanical Society of Langley and offers meeting rooms for other volunteer organizations.

At least 26 medium-sized trees and 22 full-grown shrubs will move from Clay’s home in Murrayville to the arboretum, the main purpose of which is to educate people about the cultural and environmental benefits of plants.

Clay said that after downsizing his nursery to one acre in 2001, he estimated he brought about 500 rhododendrons and other plants onto his property.

He said his children plan to build a house on the property that he can live with his daughter. Clay decided it was the right time to donate some of his plants to the arboretum.

“I’m donating quite a few plants,” he said. “We are in the process of making arrangements to do this.”

Niall McGarvey, Langley Ward landscaping coordinator, said Clay donated most of his yard to the arboretum.

“The idea is that it would be a legacy garden,” said McGarvey. “He has some rare specimens that he mainly grew from cuttings or seeds.”

McGarvey said Clay is donating some pretty tall Japanese maples that “are really spectacular”. If they were sold, they could fetch up to $ 15,000 each.

“He’s got a pretty impressive collection,” said McGarvey. “They’re all pretty rare plants, and they’re all in really good shape.”

kevingriffin@postmedia.com

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