Scotland’s first Tree Festival takes root
The wonderfully diverse world of trees is about to be celebrated for the first time, as the inaugural Scottish Tree Festival launches this month.
Organised by national garden tourism group Discover Scottish Gardens and supported by VisitScotland, the Festival will run from 29 September to 2 December. Over 70 tree events will take place across the country showcasing beautiful, unusual, heritage, exotic and champion trees, as gardens and woodlands put their best branch forward in celebration of the nation’s best trees.
Culminating in the UK’s National Tree Week (24 Nov – 2 Dec), the Festival aims to encourage local audiences and tourists to get outdoors and discover Scotland’s wonderful gardens and woodlands and celebrate the country’s tremendous trees. In its first year, it has inspired participation from the National Trust for Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland, Forestry Commission Scotland and Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, as well individual garden owners, nurseries and tree-related activity organisers.
The Living Collection at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh includes some of the finest trees in Scotland including Benmore’s avenue of 150-year-old giant redwoods and Dawyck’s historic Douglas firs. Planted in 1835, they were grown from original seed sent home by the famous plant hunter David Douglas. Logan’s unusual ‘Filo Pastry Tree’, a specimen of Polylepsis australis, has recently reached the finals of the Scottish Tree of the Year*. This genus grows at a higher altitude than any other woody tree on the planet.
Donald Rodger, Scotland’s renowned arboricultural consultant, said: “Trees play a vital role in all of our lives, providing numerous health benefits as well as a sense of time and space. Scotland is fortunate in having a diverse and rich heritage of trees of all shapes and sizes, and which provide year-round interest in our gardens, parks and the wider countryside. Yet they are often overlooked or merely taken for granted. This new Festival will provide a superb opportunity to raise awareness of the value of trees and the indispensable role they play in our landscape, as well as encouraging members of the public to actively engage with them across a varied programme of events.”
Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, said: “Autumn is often one of the most beautiful times of the year to enjoy the Scottish outdoors as landscapes transform from rich greens to glowing oranges and reds. It is no wonder that our natural heritage remains one of the main reasons people visit Scotland.
“This fantastic new Festival provides a welcome boost for attractions and will help extend the tourism season beyond the busier summer months. It will also help raise awareness of Scotland’s most stunning trees, gardens and estates. We are delighted to be working again with Discover Scottish Gardens, showcasing the rich assets, hidden gems and local stories of regions across Scotland.”
For further details see the Discover Scottish Gardens website