Memorial Tree for Midge Stork

Joe Cahill, Chris Grant, Kevin McDermott, Barbara Brown and Christy Weir were all smiles as Chris Grant and Kevin McDermott planted the Coquito Palm.

The Ventura Tree Alliance, in partnership with the Ventura Botanical Gardens, planted a tree to honor founder Midge Stork — her philanthropic life and her profound contributions to our community and to the development of the Gardens. Midge Stork was one of the five founders and continued as a major force behind the creation, funding and initial development of the Gardens.

The tree chosen to plant in her honor is a Chilean Wine Palm, also known as the Coquito Palm for its small coconuts that first fruit when the tree is thirty to sixty years old. It is arguably one of the world’s most magnificent palms and is often depicted in Chilean historic paintings. The indigenous people of Chile also used its image as a pictograph for the word “huge”. The tree can grow to 80 feet in height and live to be 1500 years old.

This spectacular tree is considered a vulnerable, threatened species, due to the destruction of the tree in its native environment from over-harvesting of its palm honey for wine. Harvesting Chilean Wine Palms for the honey kills the tree. The Ventura Botanical Gardens is part of a global conservation program for this species.

The tree was planted on Earth Day, April 22, 2022. The Ventura Botanical Gardens and the Ventura Tree Alliance hope that visitors will stop by on their walks through the Gardens to pay homage to this tree as a remembrance of Midge Stork, an illustrious tour-de-force of Ventura.

The Ventura Tree Alliance works to enhance Ventura’s urban canopy, to beautify Ventura and contribute to counteracting climate change. The goals are to inspire, engage and support Venturans in planting and caring for trees through education, advocacy, volunteerism, and fundraising.

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