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Tree-mendous botanical garden branches out

Aberdeenshire Provost

Aberdeenshire Council has officially open a regenerated botanical garden of trees (arboretum) at Aden Country Park in Mintlaw.

The renovation to the existing remains of a Victorian arboretum is the first phase of a £100,000 project undertaken by the council’s Transportation and Infrastructure Service to develop and establish themed tree collections in the park.

Aberdeenshire Provost William Howatson planted a tree to mark the occasion at the site of the original Victorian arboretum that was housed in the park in the 19th century.

Provost Howatson said: “The work that has been carried out at Aden Country Park and the attention to detail in the selection of trees that pay tribute to the historical collection is to be commended.

“It will create a site of scientific interest and also encourage more people to visit and enjoy the variety of wildlife in the park’s environment.”

The new arboretum is part of a five-year project that was approved at Aberdeenshire Council’s Infrastructure Services Committee in 2007; two further phases will now be developed on adjacent areas and will be completed by 2012.

New footpaths, seating areas, additional signage, as well as many varieties of tree (labelled for ease of identification) have been installed and it is hoped will boost tourism and aid scientific research.

The purpose of the arboretum is to re-establish some of the initial collection of trees from the 19th century and retain the ‘heritage’ of Aden Park whilst also providing new 21st century species.

Aden Country Park was chosen above other areas of Aberdeenshire for development as it already had remnants of an early arboretum and the grounds were suitable for further development.

The council has maintained contact with specialists from the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh on developments for the park.

Draft plans have also been developed for a part-time student or staff exchange scheme, so RBGE students could work at Aden on various aspects of arboriculture and in return council apprentice gardeners and park staff will be invited to Edinburgh to work in the botanic gardens.

The arboretum stretches from the area known as the Lower Garden, within a loop of the River Ugie, to a new area across the river and adjacent to the mansion house and continues on to replace a conifer plantation behind the farming museum.

Private gardens on castle estates, and at other National Trust properties, have small collections of trees and shrubs, but nothing on the scale of the development at Aden Country Park.

Work on phase two of the project has already begun on the three-hectare site adjacent to the mansion house.

The conifer trees have been felled, tree roots removed and the ground has been cultivated, including the spreading and incorporation of over 300 tons of green waste.

Waste has been composted within the country park, as part of the preparations for seeding in early April.

Following this, a system of footpaths and picnic and seating areas will be formed prior to any tree planting, which the council will begin later this year.
The area across the Ugie from the existing aboretum will be used for a viewing point and collection of exotic trees and shrubs.