History of trees at Bonskeid House

The range of trees at YMCA Bonskeid House is diverse with 39 noted species noted in all during a recent survey. The Douglas Fir is significant in number, with 31 out of the main 101 trees noted, but also well represented are Sweet Chestnut, European Larch, Noble Fir, Norway Spruce and Western Red Cedar.
The oldest tree is the Stewart Larch planted in 1795 by Alexander Stewart, who owned Bonskeid House at the time. It came from seed from European Larches introduced in 1737 from the Tyrol at the Duke of Atholl's grounds in Dunkeld.
Many conifers are north west American in source, originally introduced into the UK between 1826 and 1853, but at Bonskeid mainly between 1870 and 1880, by George Freeland Barbour, who extended the house and built roads and paths in the grounds by 1869 and planted for landscaping effect, following a policy common among Scottish country houses of importing exotic species. Unusual examples include the Hiba, Japanese Cedar and Incense Cedar. So most trees were located to the west of the house and around the informal garden in informal groups and small groves for effect. So the conifers are approaching full maturity.
Sweet Chestnut trees, a more recent acquisition, were well planted throughout the grounds and is the most dominant of the broadleaved trees. The Monterey Copper are also more recent. Beech and Sycamore were deliberately planted to be prominent in front of the house. The Single Red Maple is also represented.
Native trees which have colonised naturally include Gean, Hawthorn, Birch, Rowan, Alder, Ash, Oak, Goat Willow and Hazel. Beech was introduced and planted.


Adrian Worsfold

Pluralist - Liberal and Thoughtful