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Written by on 23/09/2015

A Giant Redwood at Benmore Botanic Garden, one of Argyll’s leading visitor attractions, has won through to the finals of Scottish Tree of the Year competition.

Staff at the 120-acre Garden near Dunoon, are now hoping that the 150-year-old tree which stands at the foot of the famous Redwood Avenue will beat off competition from the other five finalists by attracting the most public votes.

Scottish Tree of the Year is an annual search for the nation’s best loved tree, organised by the Woodland Trust Scotland and supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

The winning tree is decided by a public vote that takes place until Monday 12 October through the Woodland Trust’s website.

The Benmore redwoods,  Scottish Tree of the Year 2015 candidates

The avenue of Giant Redwoods at Benmore Botanic Garden is thought by many to be the best entrance to any botanic garden in the world.

The majestic Sequoiadendron giganteum at Benmore stand 50 metres tall. In autumn 2013 over 1,500 people attended “Glowing Giants’’, a light show to celebrate the avenue’s 150th anniversary.

The story behind how Sequoiadendron giganteum first reached British shores is entwined in the telling of a particular period of our history. It involves a competitive race to cultivate this remarkable tree and it is tied up with the California Gold Rush. The man credited with introducing it to Britain is the Scot, Patrick Matthew (1790-1874). With three of his sons involved in the Gold Rush, Matthew took advantage of the situation and requested seeds be sent home by steam packet, so narrowly stealing the glory from the famous Exeter nursery, Veitch. Although it isn’t known for certain, it seems likely that the Redwood Avenue grew from the seeds of one of these two collections.

Curator at Benmore, Peter Baxter commented: “Our Giant Redwood is part of an historic avenue that has become an immediately recognisable feature of the Garden. When the trees were planted in 1863 the American Civil War was at its height and Queen Victoria ruled the British Empire.’’



Carol Evans, director of the Woodland Trust Scotland, said: “Tree of the Year is all about finding trees with amazing stories to tell that can bring people together.

“It’s fantastic that players of People’s Postcode Lottery are lending their support to this unique celebration of Scotland’s best loved trees. All of the shortlisted entries are inspiring throughtheir links to natural and cultural heritage, and I’m sure it will be a close run vote this year.”

The winner of Scottish Tree of the Year will go on to compete in the European Tree of the Year 2016 against trees from 15 other countries including France, Estonia and Germany.

To vote for your favourite tree in Scottish Tree of the Year visit /treeoftheyear