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Drumtochty Forest, Glenfarquhar Garden
Forestry Memories
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No: 3838   Contributor: Norman Davidson   Year: 1955
Drumtochty Forest, Glenfarquhar Garden

Photograph is courtesy and copyright of Forestry Commission, Forest Research, Roslin, and provided with help from Glen Brearley. FR Photo number No C3050 taken by M V Laurie.

The text reads as follows:
‘Breeding of European Larch – Production of see in seed orchards.
An experimental European larch seed orchard in the early stages of establishment. Japaneses larch rootstocks have been planted in groups of four, the groups being thirteen feet apart. The orchard is being grafted in situ over a period of three years and the slides show a number of successful grafted plants and groups of rootstocks ready for grafting. The ground cover beneath the snow is grass. The standard method of labelling can be seen. All the European larch clones are formed from trees from western Scotland growing in areas of over 50 inches of rainfall. Expt No Drumtochty 8 P53.’

It would be interesting to know if this experiment did result in establishing a viable seed nursery?
Picture added on 05 February 2018 at 08:21
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add commentComments:
Yes it became a successful Larch seed orchard.
I was in charge of it in the 60's decade. A difficult place to harvest pollen as it was cold and windy. It had been a place with a lot of fruit trees trained as espaliers to wires on the walls.We trained Larch grafts on these wires and pruned them each year and trained them along the wires. The building in the picture was the estate Summer house with access through a door in the wall. This was approx 100 metres from the front door of Glenfarquhar Lodge which originally was a shooting Lodge with a lot of hill ground. Acquisition of this land enabled Drumtoshty forest to extend right over the hill and quite close to the start of Fettersso in Grassick Gibbon country.
Glenfarquhar Lodge was not a substantial building being of timber frame with lath and pebble dash on the outside and lath and plaster on the inside, it was converted by the F.C. into five flats for forester staff and key workers, it had large rooms with high ceilings and large windows - a desperate place to keep warm in winter. The potting shed, tool store, fruit room and barrow shed were substantial stone buildings.There was an excellent range of glasshouses which we used for grafted plants and harvesting pollen.

The project leader was A.F. Mitchell a member of Genetics staff at Alice Holt Lodge working under John D Matthews and visiting Glenfarquhar about once per year. Apart from his responsibility for the breeding of larch he had an interest in exotic species and rare trees and wrote a book on the subject.

He had a few of these items at Glenfarquhar including Metasequoia glyptostroboides thought to be extinct but re-discovered in China late 40's decade, no viable seed available but propagated from cuttings at Alice Holt Research Station. Three plants were planted here in the 1950's, by the end of the 1960's they had reached varying heights between 4 & 6 metres and tended to lean due to the wind exposure at this site.

Cupressocyparis leylandii were also present at Glenfarquhar. The green form were propagated at Alice Holt Lodge from cuttings and planted as a hedge on the exposed edge of the seed orchard, (one of the first such hedges to be planted in the 1950's decade). They grew rapidly and by the 1960's we found that keeping them under control was a major task!

Picea omoriika were also pesent as Allan Mitchell had a concept that they would make a better Christmas tree than Picea abies because of its narrow columnar shape it would fit into the corner of a post World War II basic house that was becoming cluttered with large Television Sets and Sofas. He also thought that by producing them from grafts or cuttings you could introduce real cones to the family living room.

There was also a connection between Glenfarquhar and Sir Alexander Fleming, the man associated with penicillin which became available in the later stages of World War II and used to treat troops injured in battle.


Added by John Keenleyside on 13 February 2018.
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