Tree of the Month - December

There is a natural tendency for the Tree Register's volunteer measurers to concentrate on areas which grow trees particularly well, at the expense of these islands' more remote reaches where locally important trees may remain small in national terms. In particular, there were no records at all from the Shetland Isles.

This summer garden writer Helen Harrison took up the challenge, recording more than forty kinds of tree across the archipelago - including the Five-finger Neopanax arboreus, thriving at sixteen degrees further from the equator than it does in its native New Zealand. This tree is one of several of Helen's finds which are very probably the northernmost examples of their kind in the world.


Tree of the Month (or Wood of the Month) was photographed by Helen at Halligarth, near the northern end of the northernmost island, Unst, where Sycamore and Norway Maple were planted in the 1830s inside the shelter of a graveyard wall at 60 degrees 48 minutes north: Scotland's northernmost woodland.

Owen Johnson MBE VMM

[photo: Helen Harrison]