Send in the Scots Pines

Scruffy, but full of potential - four baby scots pine trees

I mentioned in a previous post that I would not plant scots pine trees on the Chayne until I had the time and the patience to work with them. They just look like ordinary pine trees until they become mature and they grow so slowly that, even if I planted them tomorrow, I would never see them take on that fantastically distinctive “canopied” shape. Assuming that I am alive for another fifty years, the scots pine saplings would only be a medium height by the time of my death.

I was against planting them until I drove down from Edinburgh last week and saw the fantastic scots pines that litter the hillsides by the road between Tweedsmuir and Moffat. There is something magical about those ancient trees, each one uniquely twisted and deformed with rusty bark glowing in the evening light. Standing alone, in a group or contained in a spooky circular drystone wall, scots pine trees are a fantastic symbol of the southern uplands, and I realised that I should be ashamed that there were none on the Chayne. I may never see them reach that eerie and indisputably ‘upland’ shape, but the least that I can do is make sure that one corner of Galloway’s uplands will be forever ‘scots’.

The six inch long saplings arrived in a rather ignominious cardboard box this morning, and I must say that they were not at all what I was expecting. The saplings themselves are hidden beneath long tufty needles, each one around four inches long. The overall effect is one of arrant disorder, but if any of them ever grow into adult scots pine trees, I will be delighted. An added bonus to this new excursion into the world of trees is the fact that black grouse are fond of eating scots pine needles.

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