At the start of the Victorian era, only 2% of Perthshire was covered in forest. However, all that changed when the landowners of the time discovered a passion for planting trees. This passion was fuelled by ‘plant-hunters’ - bold adventurers who travelled all over the world to bring back new and exotic species of trees and plants to Britain to embellish the estates and gardens of their employers. Many of Perthshire’s most spectacular trees, such as the huge giant redwood which grows in the gardens of Cluny House, were planted around this time.

Illustration of plant hunter David Douglas

David Douglas from Scone was one of Perthshire's famous plant-hunters, after whom the Douglas fir is named.

Sadly, this amazing era of planting ended with the start of World War I. Many of the gardeners that had cared for the wonderful landscapes lost their lives in the war, and things changed forever. Many of the beautiful forest gardens and tree collections were neglected as there was no one left to care for them and many trees were lost to storms and old age.

Today, the Perthshire Conifer Conservation Programme is working to conserve conifer species in our public parks, gardens and forests, preserving and enhancing some of Perthshire’s most treasured landscapes for future generations. 

Scone Palace, 19th century castellated mansion on the site of a medieval abbey and palace, north of Perth across the River Tay, Perth & Kinross © VisitScotland / Paul Tomkins, all rights reserved.

Scone Palace is one of many sites where PCCP has planted young conifers, working with owners and managers to preserve Perthshire's unique heritage.