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Appeals for Funds
Return of the Flowers Appeal

As the forest expands again through our tree planting work, it’s essential that the complete diversity of plant species is restored as well, to create a healthy, fully-functional ecosystem. Please make a donation to support this project now!

Dear Supporter

As I write today, the work of Trees for Life is in full swing, with two teams of volunteers out planting trees, as part of our commitment to plant 100,000 trees this year. Through their efforts and your support, the Caledonian Forest is recovering more of its lost ground in the Highlands, with every tree that goes into the soil. The trees are just the first stage of forest restoration, though, and today I’m writing to request your support in raising £16,000 for an exciting next step that we’re embarking on – the return of the Caledonian Forest’s special flowering plants!

I’ve been deeply touched by the tremendous response we received to our last appeal, which has raised £27,870, and I’m very grateful to everyone who has contributed to it. As a result, we’re well on track with our target, and our volunteers have already planted over 40,000 trees in 2007! Now we’re seeking to build on that success with an important new project to help restore some of the rare and unusual flowering plants that are characteristic of the Caledonian Forest, including twinflower, one-flowered wintergreen and orchids such as creeping ladies' tresses and lesser twayblade.

Creeping ladies tresses with heather
Creeping ladies tresses closeup

Creeping ladies tresses orchid (Goodyera repens) with bell heather (left) and in close-up (right) is another characteristic Caledonian Forest species that will benefit from this exciting new project.

The Return of the Flowers – Deepening the Restoration Process

During trips to similar forests in Norway and Canada, I’ve been astounded at the abundance of flowering species, such as twinflower, that are very rare in the Caledonian Forest. The comparative lack of these plants here is another consequence of the long history of deforestation, exploitation and overgrazing, which has left our forest remnants impoverished in so many ways. Twinflower, for example, rarely produces viable seeds, but instead, like aspen, reproduces mainly by vegetative means. It therefore needs help to re-colonise isolated patches of forest, and it is to address issues such as this that we are launching this new Return of the Flowers project. We’ve already done some trial work with species such as primrose, and are ready now to expand this substantially, with your support. Please join us by sending a donation towards our target of £16,000 for this project today!

Just imagine the Caledonian Forest with its full complement of flowers restored!

  • To get this project fully underway, we’ll begin work this summer, mapping out the locations where the flowering plants still occur, and identifying suitable sites where they can be restored. We’ll also collect seeds and other propagation material, so that we can grow a stock of new plants for future planting.
  • We will be expanding the propagation facilities at our tree nursery at Plodda Lodge, with a new polytunnel, cold frames and other equipment being installed, specifically for this project.
  • We’ll establish some trial plots in various forest areas, both for monitoring the existing populations of species such as creeping ladies tresses, and at sites where we’ll plant the flowers we’re propagating. We’ll also be carrying out research to identify the limiting factors that are preventing some of the species from expanding their range naturally.
  • Long-term Trees for Life staff member Adam Powell is taking up a new part-time post we’ve created for this project. He’ll liaise closely with other organisations, such as Plantlife and the Woodland Trust, that are also doing work on woodland flowering plants, to benefit from their skill and experience, and to share results and techniques etc.
  • To fund the crucial first year of work on this project, we need to raise £16,000, and it’s to reach this figure that I’m asking for your help. With the power of your commitment now, the forest will flower again in future!
Lesser twayblade orchid
One-flowered wintergreen

Photo by Laurie Campbell

Lesser twayblade orchid (Listera cordata) (left) and one-flowered wintergreen (Moneses uniflora) (right) are other rare species that this project will focus on.

Please support us in enabling the Caledonian Forest to bloom again!

As the forest expands again through our tree planting work, it’s essential that the complete diversity of plant species is restored as well, to create a healthy, fully-functional ecosystem. Please help us ensure that the rare flowering plants are part of the renewed forest, by sending a donation to this project today!

To make a donation online to this project, please go to our order form, and thank you in advance for any contribution which you can give - your commitment will give a tremendous boost to our efforts!

Yours sincerely,
Alan Watson Featherstone
Executive Director


Please click here to make a donation to the Return of the Flowers Appeal via our secure server.

We can also take your donation by phone: tel. 0845 458 3505. Thank you.

PS. It was Georgia O'Keefe who said, “A flower touches almost everyone's heart”. Please send a donation now, so that the special flowers of the Caledonian Forest can touch many more hearts in future!

Pages about woodland ground flora on this site

If you would like to make a donation for a different aspect of our work, please see our Appeals for Funds.


If you have found the information on this page and/or website useful please consider making a donation, for example to our current appeal and/or becoming a member of Trees for Life, to help us further our work of restoring the Caledonian Forest. You can join or make a donation on-line via our secure server if you like, or contact Trees for Life by post, phone or email at the address below.

Published: 14 May 2007
Last updated: 05 July 2012

Patch of twinflower

Twinflower (Linnaea borealis) is very rare in the Caledonian Forest, but abundant in similar forests in Scandinavia and Canada.


Propagating primroses

Primrose plants (Primula vulgaris) being propagated in our nursery at Plodda Lodge. Photo by Jill Hodge.


Adam Powell planting out primroses

Adam Powell planting primroses in Glen Affric for woodland flora restoration.

Trees for Life is an award winning conservation charity working to restore the Caledonian Forest
and all its species to a large contiguous area in the Highlands of Scotland.

Trees for Life is a registered charity Scottish charity No. SC021303, and a company limited by guarantee No. 143304 with its registered offices at Forres, Scotland.
VAT reg. No. 605079649
Photos © Alan Watson (unless otherwise indicated) - Banner Credits - Illustrations © Caragh McAuley

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