Dawyck Botanic Garden

Dawyck Botanical Gardens
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Dawyck Botanical Gardens

Located in Tweeddale midway between Stobo and Drumelzier, the Dawyck Botanic Garden lies 8 miles (13 km) southwest of Peebles. The 25 ha (62 acre) garden lies around the Scrape Burn next to Dawyck House. It is a specialist garden and outstation of the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh which takes advantage of a drier climate with colder winters than Edinburgh and the other gardens, namely Logan on the Rhins of Galloway and Younger, north of Dunoon. Perhaps best known for its historic conifers, Dawyck is also noted for its deciduous trees particularly its reference collections of rowan and birch. It also has a fine collection of Chinese Rhododendrons and its spring-flowering bulbs are popular with visitors.

Tree planting has been ongoing at Dawyck since the late 17th Century and it was here where some of the first exotic species were introduced in Scotland. The estate passed from the Veitch family to the Naesmyth family in 1691 and Sir John Murray Naesmyth landscaped the parkland around Dawyck House which he had commissioned architect William Burn to build (completed 1832). Naesmyth obtained new species for his garden having supported plant-hunting expeditions, including those of David Douglas (1799 - 1834).

In 1897 the estate passed to the Balfour family, who further extended the gardens and, in 1979, gifted them to the nation to become part of the Royal Botanic Garden.

The garden contains three important trees identified in Donald Rodger's book Heritage Trees of Scotland (2003); namely the Dawyck Beech, a unique narrow conical sub-species of the European beech, spotted by a forester in 1860, that has subsequently given rise to specimens around the world; the Dawyck Silver Fir which measures 5.4m (17¾ feet) in girth and is 35m (115 feet) in height, and represents one of the earliest plantings of this species, and the Dawyck Larch which is one of the few surviving larches introduced to Scotland in 1725 by Sir James Naesmyth, now measuring some 4.5m (14¾ feet) in girth and 33m (108 feet) in height.

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