Media Release: Horticulture students plant ‘next generation’ tree species at Atholl Estates

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IN preparation for spring, a group of horticulture students from the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh have been using their green-fingers on a visit to Blair Castle and Atholl Estates by planting a rare Abies magnifica tree in front of The Tree Register UK and Ireland champion tree for the species. It is thought unlikely that this species has been planted at Blair Castle since the mid-19th century.

The students placed the young tree, of which seed was collected in Northern California in 2009 by staff from Benmore Botanic Garden, into the ground in the shadow of the impressive champion tree of the same species, representing the next generation of the species at Blair Castle.

A total of 30 trees from The iCONic Project, a Perthshire Big Tree Country initiative dedicated to helping save some of the world’s most threatened conifers, were planted by the group in the grounds of Blair Castle.

Tom Christian, project officer of the National Tree Collections of Scotland of Scotland and The iCONic Project, said:

“We really enjoyed our visit to Atholl Estates and having the opportunity to soak up the wonderful Highland Perthshire woodland and trees. The horticulture students understood the significance of the trees they were planting and were delighted to plant such rare species to help their conservation. It was fitting to have the next generation of trees planted by the next generation of horticulturists!”

Atholl Estates and Blair Castle are preparing to open for the summer, opening their doors to the public with a series of new exhibitions for visitors to experience from April 1st. Visitors will also be able to visit the new plantings from the horticulture students in the grounds of Atholl Estates.

Stuart Letford, marketing and communications officer at Blair Castle and Atholl Estates, commented:

“The Blair Castle and Atholl Estates team were honoured to welcome a talented team of horticulture students to the estate. We hope they enjoyed their visit and we look forward to welcoming them back in the future to revisit the progress of their plantings.”

Stuart continued:

“As well as our beautiful grounds, there are a great many attractions to see at Blair Castle this summer including our series of commemorative war exhibitions as well as our restaurant and gift shop. This year we are also offering special season passes for £12 that allow people to enjoy the castle and ground as many times as they like during the season.”

To find out more about the work of The iCONic Project please visit

For further information about Blair Castle and its new exhibitions, visit


For further information on this news release, please contact Tricia Fox, Volpa, Tel: 07989 955039 or 01738 658187, Email:

Notes to Editors

Image Details

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh horticulture students at the planting of Abie magnifica tree on Atholl Estates, March 2015.

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Volpa contact details…

Contact: Tricia Fox
Phone: 01738658187