Scone Palace celebrates 50th anniversary with special planting ceremony

7 October 2016

Scone Palace, the crowning place of Scottish Kings, has celebrated 50 years as a visitor attraction by planting 50 young maple trees, one for each year the Palace has been open to the public.

Members of the local community, young and old, were invited this morning especially to plant the trees that will grow to become part of the Scone landscape over the next 20-30 years.

The special 50th Anniversary Planting Ceremony was attended by representatives from the National Tree Collections of Scotland (NTCS) who donated all fifty trees for the project. Provost Liz Grant, representatives from the Forestry Commission Scotland and the Perth & Kinross Countryside Trust also planted trees at the ceremony.

To celebrate the next generation of visitors to Scone Palace, the historic visitor attraction invited the Head Girls and Head Boys from Perth High School, Perth Grammar, St Johns Academy and Perth Academy to be part of the special tree planting.

One tree was planted by Jenny Milne who is the longest serving tour guide at Scone Palace, having worked at the historic visitor attraction for 28 years. The youngest planters came from Robert Douglas Memorial Primary School where a few pupils from the Scone school took part in the ceremony. 

Other planters included Scone Palace Chief Executive, Sarah Butler and Head Gardener, Brian Cunningham, who developed the idea of a special planting ceremony to mark Scone Palace’s 50th anniversary as a visitor attraction.

The planting ceremony marks the beginning of the project where maple trees were planted by members of the local community throughout October, with all 50 being planted by the end of this month. The development of a new collection of trees, focussed on outstanding autumn colour, is part of a detailed landscape management plan for the Palace grounds which has been created by Scone Palace in partnership with the National Tree Collections of Scotland.

Brian Cunningham, Head Gardener at Scone Palace, commented:

“It is fantastic to be marking Scone Palace’s 50th anniversary as a visitor attraction with a special maple planting ceremony. At Scone Palace, we have been looking for ways to further develop our autumn foliage colours and 50 maple trees will certainly deliver autumnal colours over the next few decades. I would like to thank, on behalf of Scone Palace, the National Tree Collections of Scotland for donating the 50 trees which will significantly add to the design landscape of our gardens.

“We are also delighted to have welcomed so many people from the local community to be part of the planting. Particularly the school pupils who represent the next generation of potential gardeners and visitors to our historic palace and gardens. This planting can act as legacy for those future generations.”

Tom Christian is Project Officer for the NTCS and has worked closely with Brian to develop the new landscape management plan for Scone Palace for the next 20 years. Tom added:

“The National Tree Collections of Scotland have worked closely with Scone Palace to facilitate this week’s 50th Anniversary Maple Planting Ceremony and are pleased to be supporting the Palace’s drive to develop new collections with specifically beautiful autumnal colours. Maples are well known for their striking and diverse autumn colours and developing a stronger collection of such trees will certainly extend visitor interest in the gardens into the autumn. However, it will take up to 50 years for these newly planted trees to have maximum impact, so it’s really a slow burn. The school pupils attending the planting in particular will certainly see these new trees hit maturity in the decades to come.  

“This planting is part of a wider rationale to protect and evolve the gardens and designed landscape within the grounds of Scone Palace. Having someone as passionate and knowledgeable as Brian to work with is essential for the project to work and it is going to be fascinating to see the different layers of the project come to fruition under his guidance over the coming years.”

First opening to the public in 1966, Scone Palace has celebrated this 50th anniversary year by offering all visitors throughout 2016 the opportunity to upgrade their Palace and Grounds Entrance Ticket to a Palace and Grounds Season Ticket at no extra charge, meaning visitors can enjoy unlimited entry throughout the season, from March 25th – October 31st, 2016.