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Glasgow City Council

Commonwealth Compass unveiled by Glasgow Tree Lovers' Society

Conceived by the Glasgow Tree Lovers' Society and created in collaboration with Glasgow City Council, with the support of the Big Lottery Fund and the Craignish Trust, the project represents the coming together of the 71 nations and territories of the commonwealth.  

A granite feature, representing a compass, has been laid out on the ground, and trees chosen for the centre of the compass, and towards each of the four cardinal points, represent countries from the north, south, east and west of the world with Glasgow at the hub.

Douglas Fir in the centre recalls David Douglas from Scone, one of the most famous plant hunters of all time. He developed his botanical skills from 1820-1823 in Glasgow's Botanic Gardens. The Scots Pine, Scotland's national tree, to the north, represents the ten Commonwealth countries from Europe while a Wollemi Pine to the south represents the 31 Commonwealth countries from Africa and Oceania. A Deodar Cedar to the east represents Asia's eight Commonwealth countries and the 21 countries from the Americas and Caribbean are represented by a Nootka Cypress to the west of the compass.

All the trees selected for the feature are evergreen meaning that they will provide year round interest and act as a rich backdrop for more seasonal plants within Glasgow Green.

Councillor Graham said: "It is fantastic that the Glasgow Tree Lovers' Society moved this project forward and set about breathing new life into what was a slightly overlooked bit of Glasgow Green. One of the best things about the Commonwealth Compass is that it can be enjoyed by people all year round and serves as a point of interest and education within the park. It will be lovely to see how these trees grow and develop over the coming years."

Bob Gray, Honorary Treasurer of Glasgow Tree Lovers' Society: said "This Commonwealth Compass project links the present with both the past and the future. The path connects Glasgow's Time Spiral history from 10,000 years ago with the legacy of the Commonwealth Games which this project represents.  
"The different, unusual conifers used in the planting will enrich Glasgow's biodiversity for many years to come - Glasgow's clean air allows the growth of these evergreen trees in a way that would have been impossible years ago owing to industrial pollution."

Glasgow Tree Lovers' Society were also involved in another Commonwealth project to create an online trail guide to sixty of the city's most interesting, beautiful, historic and exotic trees.

The guide includes details of the trees' common and botanical name, origin and heritage as well as a little bit about their value and significance to our arboreal collection. An accompanying map also shows where the trees are located in parks around the city.

The final guide of 60 specimens, available online at was drawn up from nominations received from schools, community groups, public and a newspaper competition to promote and celebrate the discernable beauty of some of the rarest, unusual and native and exotic tree specimens contained within Glasgow's parks.  

Glasgow Green is also home to a Native American bench - created by sculptor Robert Coia with the assistance of Blackfriars Primary school pupils. The bench formed part of a Commonwealth project where Glasgow Green was twinned with the Americas and Caribbean. The pupils helped to design the base of the sculpture inspired by Native American mythology.


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