In 1874, Robert Louis Stevenson and his father, inscribed their initials and a symbol of the rising sun into a tree in the corner of the garden surrounding Swanston Cottage:
In our garden, Mossgrove, Bridge of Allan, I have also inscribed words and symbols on the trunks of old trees [such inscriptions have aquired a technical name – arborglyphs].
Of all my arborglyphs, this is the most important one to me:
This arborglyph may seem like just numbers. It is infact the time that our son Andrew was born, 4.04am:
This arborglyph has not survived as we had the tree it was inscribed upon chopped down (the tree was too large for a small garden and we replaced it with a smaller one). Around the inscribed text – ‘It was done for itself alone’ – grew the Scottish rose ‘Janet B. Wood’ which came from the cutting that a patient of mine gave me (then an old lady, now long dead):
When our daughter Rachel was much smaller she helped me carve three cats into the trunk of one of our Holly trees:
This inscription records a fictional character. ‘LEN’ features in the novel ‘That Summer’. This book by Andrew Greig made me cry several times:
This ‘arborglyph’ is unlikely to last. Glenbardy is the remote place in Upper Deeside where I would like my ashes to be scattered. A few years ago I took a wooden heart that I had inscribed ‘PETER + SIAN’ and hid it deep in one of the collapsed gable walls of the auld fairmhoose of Glenbardy. Not a single story about Glenbardy has survived:
This film shows me taking the heart PETER + SIAN to Glenbardy, it’s final home:
To play this film please click here or on the image above.