The National Tree Collections of Scotland Conference at Mount Stuart

22nd July 2019

The National Tree Collections of Scotland Conference at Mount Stuart

Owners, managers, staff and supporters of Scotland’s finest tree collections attended their annual networking day, held this year at Mount Stuart.

The National Tree Collections of Scotland (NTCS) comprises 23 of some of the most significant historic tree collections from around Scotland, including Mount Stuart. It brings them together in a network to care for and promote this unique part of Scotland’s environmental and cultural heritage.

The day began with an overview of the present and future arboretum restoration projects ongoing at Mount Stuart.

Expert speakers also shared insight on practical tree and site management by season, funding opportunities for the sites, the International Conifer Conservation Programme, and possible climate change resilience and adaptation in the forestry sector of some tree species.

Attendees were then treated to a guided tour of the stunning arboretum, enjoying practical demonstrations by Bartlett Tree Experts Ltd. on methods to check and manage tree health, who help manage some of the oldest and most spectacular trees in Mount Stuart’s 670-acre garden and designed landscape.

NTCS Project Officer, Doug Flint, said: “We had a good variety of NTCS sites and associates represented at the event, and a lively discussion on tree management challenges and techniques. Travelling ‘overseas’ to view the NTCS’ only island site added an exciting dimension to the day, so it was fantastic to see so many members and supporters there.

“Managing tree collections like those in our network is no mean feat, so days like these are tremendous opportunities to share knowledge and raise issues about maintaining these extraordinary sites for the benefit of the people who visit them, and for future generations.”

Don Murray, Head of Horticulture at Mount Stuart, said:

“With 670-acres of gardens, a variety of uniquely designed landscapes, and a Victorian Neo-Gothic House, we were excited to share our spectacular setting with the NTCS members. The gardens and grounds here are home to a wonderful collection of native and exotic flora with distinct personalities, sustaining across several gardens. The Bute family couldn’t have chosen a better environment to locate important botanical specimens, as the area is both protected from south-westerly gales, and warmed by the Gulf Stream. Here, champion Rhododendrons grow alongside plants that are endangered in their native habitats. Mount Stuart’s woodlands are also full of native and non-native broadleaves and conifers, which give way to the shore walk that runs alongside the wonderful beach.

“Under the 6th Marquess of Bute, The Mount Stuart Trust planted extensively in the 1990s in association with the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, and Benmore Botanic Gardens. This work helped to lay the foundations of the International Conifer Conservation Programme (ICCP) at Mount Stuart, which has since seen the planting, establishment, and conservation of over 1,700 internationally threatened conifers.

To find out more about NTCS and its sites, please visit