Carving out new life for tree at Dawyck


The trunk of a tree, felled at Dawyck Botanic Garden, near Stobo, has been carved into a new sculpture which celebrates the Garden’s links with North America.

Champion woodcarver Peter Bowsher has crafted the piece of beech into a First Nations figure, representative of people of North America and British Columbia. The sculpture, which stands about eight feet tall, celebrates the Garden’s collection of trees that are native to North America. Many of the trees were introduced to Dawyck by plant hunter David Douglas, after whom the Douglas fir is named.

Garden Curator Graham Stewart said: “We are very pleased to have unveiled another chainsaw carving to accompany David Douglas, who was originally carved in 2013. Our new sculpture depicts a First Nations figure, representative of people of North America and British Columbia. It was in those areas that David Douglas, the renowned Scottish plant hunter, spent much of his time exploring and plant collecting.’’

Peter Bowsher, who is based at Moffat in Dumfries & Galloway, has won the annual Carve Carrbridge Championship eight times. He said: “I work in forestry as a timber harvesting manager and I am aware of the early plant collectors. I was delighted to be asked to produce a carving of a First Nations figure at Dawyck as I was born and brought up in Canada.’’

The sculpture is located close to Scrape Burn between the Dynamo pond and Beech Walk.

The new carving complements the story of David Douglas the intrepid adventurer who contributed hugely to the make-up of Britain’s gardens and woodlands, before coming to a mysterious end at the bottom of a bull pit in Hawaii.

Dawyck Botanic Garden has many of David Douglas’s original plant introductions including Pseudotsuga menziesii (Douglas fir) from the Pacific Northwest of America. There is also a plant trail dedicated to his memory and plant introductions.


The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is a charity (registration number SC007983)