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PEOPLE70SUMMER 2012WWW.NTS.ORG.UKMEMBERS may have seen the recentannouncement that our "secret garden",Arduaine near Oban, Argyll, last year savedfrom closure following an appeal, has beenstruck by a new development of the plantpathogen Phytophthora ramorum.Confirmation that the pathogen had beenfound among the garden's larch trees wasprovided by the Forestry Commission, alongwitha Notice that all trees suspected of infectionmust be felled or killed by January 2014.P. ramorum-see magnified image below -had been present in the garden at a low levelin the shrub plantings and we had beenworking with the Scottish Government over anumber of years to control it. Unfortunately,despite these efforts, the fungus-like pathogenhas now extended its range of host plants toinclude the garden's larch trees.Despite this setback we are at pains to pointout that, although the problem is complicatedand expensive to deal with, the future ofArduaine Garden as whole is not threatenedand the main visited parts of the garden will beunaffected. In the short term, and certainly inthe summer season, you are not likely to seeany change, although you will be encouragedto follow any guidance posted at the entrance.Our current intention is for any major work totake place in late autumn and winter, so thetranquillity of the garden in the main visitorseason can remain undisturbed.As is often the case in difficult situations,there are plenty of opportunities to be found,too. Our shelter wood at Arduaine is over-mature and increasingly vulnerable to stormdamage; through this change we can achieve amore robust species mix and age range for thelong-term protection of the garden. Arduaineneeds a new "vision" which will be exciting todevelop; based on plants less susceptible to P.ramorum, and with the skills and knowledge ofproperty manager/head gardener MauriceWilkins and his team, we can build on the richhistory of the plant collection, includingexperimenting with plants more suited to ourOur expertAnn Steele, gardens anddesigned landscapes adviser"Through this changewe can achieve amore robust speciesmix and age range"changing climate. It may even be possible touse the timber on-site as a new feature, or as auseful resource in its own right.Nationally P. ramorumis a threat to forestry,estates, parkland and gardens, particularly inthe west of the UK where the warmer, wetterclimate - increasingly evident in recent years -suits it best. Initially a small-scale problem innurseries and gardens, in 2009 it was noticedto be affecting large numbers of larch trees insouth-west England. See www.tinyurl.com/phytophthorasfor Scottish Governmentadvice and examples of symptomsof P.ramorumin particular. The disease is thought to be spread primarilythrough extreme weather events or the transferof infected plant material, so you can beassured you are highly unlikely to be responsiblefor transferring the disease from ArduaineGarden when you visit. However a sensible precaution organisationsare beginning to suggest when you visit anygarden or the wider countryside - in the UK orabroad - is to clean your footwear with brushand water to remove soil and plant debris, bothbefore and afterwards; this will help ensurethatyou do not accidentally introduce a diseaseto anew site, or take one home with you! lPhotography:Paul Graham

With summer here, we're launching a brand new feature on our website which will help you find lots of exciting things to do with the children. There's something different to keep you busy each day, no matter what your interests are - or what the weather does! You'll find ideas for fun family rambles, suggestions on where you can find kids' meals or enjoy perfect picnic locations. There'll be information on special family events as well as where to find adventure playgrounds and ideas on how to keep the children entertained on dreich days! For lots of inspiring ideas for all the family visit www.nts.org.uk/familiesThe National Trust for Scotland for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty is a charity registered in Scotland, Charity Number SC 007410Summer is also a great time to enjoy Trust gardens so make sure you take some time to see them in full colour. You'll find stunning herbaceous and mixed borders at many properties this summer as they burst into full bloom. To help you plan your visit, we've recently launched some new gardening pages on our website at www.nts.org.uk/visitgardens. Here you'll find ideas of gardens to visit, seasonal highlights and plenty of horticultural events including walks and talks and practical workshops.A Place for Summer