Inverewe Garden and Estate in Wester Ross is a National Trust for Scotland property on the shores of Loch Ewe, a large sea loch opening out into the North Atlantic. The garden was created by Osgood Mackenzie in the 19 th century and later developed by his daughter Mairi Sawyer. It is protected from the northerly winds by a ‘shelterbelt’ plantation of Scots Pines on the high ground above the house and garden and benefits from the effects of the Gulf Stream. This enables the cultivation of a wide variety of trees and plants from throughout the temperate zones of both northern and southern hemispheres.
The main project of my residency at Inverewe in September and October 2017 was the recording of some of the greatly varied bark patterns of the trees in the garden. I measured the girth of my chosen tree and cut a length of heavyweight calico from a large roll of material. I secured the calico around the tree with bulldog clips and, using sterilised soil provided by the gardening staff, made a rubbing which recorded the pattern of that particular tree’s ‘skin’. I made a total of 47 tree rubbings, from small specimens such as Acer griseum to very large ones, such as a Silver Fir (Abies alba), the tallest tree in the garden.