May 8, 2012

9 The Garden of Cosmic Speculation, at Portrack House Part I

 I will go to pretty much any festival, obscure or strange site, or small theatre company play. 
I figure it'll either be a blast or so terrible it's a good time anyway- and I've rarely been wrong, one way or another (here's looking at you, lackluster A Telltale Heart interpretation...).
Through a roundabout fashion, Atlas Obscura led me to The Garden of Cosmic Speculation.
Your interest is piqued by the name alone, yes?

It's a private garden located just outside of Dumfries, Scotland, landscaped in designs based on the sciences.
It's open one day a year, as a part of the Garden Scheme- 2012's date was May 6.
We had to go, of course.
I talked it up to a friend of mine and he and his wife joined us for the 6-hour roundtrip.

 There are two sculpted hills. One stands alone as a snail, the other, shown above, is the snake.  You can climb the hills, but it's asked that you stay on the spiral paths going around each.  This view is from the top of the snail.

Looking down from the top of the snail.  I love the curlicue in the water!

The snail, left, and the snake, right, as seen across the pond.

 Almost every bit of the garden seemed planned- I found myself looking for little hidden visual treats, or puzzles to solve.  This isn't one, just a pretty ivy-covered tree.

 I was kind of in love with these little wooden bridges.  

 This was a sort of stump version of a standing stone circle
Also, I know I say it on here a lot, but looking through my Scotland posts for that link just made me desperate to get back to the Highlands.  I love that region!

 I saw this sign and my brain translator immediately started searching for another meaning in British for "buttock"...

 but, (ha!) nope! They were, in fact, buttocks!

 There was a large installation relating to railroads and pivotal battles in Great Britain.

Maybe I need a Scotland rock garden, so I can "go" there whenever my heart desires...

 This bridge had distorted perspective...
 Which you can better see from the top of the right buttock.

 I don't know what this "Willow Twist" represents- but everything seemed to have a meaning, so it must as well.

 Bridge with a bench!

 Arched and windy wooden footpath.

 Stump-on-stump action.

 Bluebells!  They're blooming all over- somehow I always forget that they're the last wave of Spring...

 I loved these green and white leaves mixed in with the bluebells and yellow flowers!

A neighbor, who I'm sure gets tired of having their house photographed all day.  Maybe they go on holiday each year over the open garden day... I think I would! 
At least it's a nice house!

Come back tomorrow for Part II, including some info on the owner/designer- 
the garden is thirty acres, so there was a lot to see and photograph!


  1. this place looks seriously cool!
    plus the fact that it's only open once a year really grabs your attention. it's like an exclusive club. I really want to go.

  2. What a cool garden! The name alone makes me want to visit.

  3. Wow, that looks amazing. Next time I'm in Scotland I'll try to check it out. I go to the Highlands at least once a year (I'm obsessed. My heart is there) so maybe I'll try and fit it around one of their open garden days!

  4. Joslin- that was my initial interest when I found it online! Atlas Obscura is full of fantastic places, and lists them by continent/country/region- you should check out stuff near you! The Garden of Cosmic Speculation really is a fascinating place, I'm glad I discovered it when we had a chance to go see it!

  5. Samantha- first, I am SO jealous you get up to the Highlands every year- Moray Firth is on my dream list of places to live, I couldn't get enough of it when we were there!! We're going up for a week sometime this summer and I can't wait- despite the midgies! The Garden of Cosmic Speculation is in Dumfries, though, so you'll have to stop on your way up to Scotland- if you catch an open day it's definitely worth it!!

  6. That site is amazing, thanks for the reference!

  7. This is going on our must-do list for next year -- how neat! And the buttocks sign is hilarious!

  8. Becky- definitely go- it wasn't that far of a drive (okay, for us Americans it's not that far!!) and totally worth it! There's a lot to see in the Dumfries and Galloway area, too, so you could easily make a weekend of it!! I'll warn you, though- I kept picturing myself living in the garden... it's that lovely, even in not-perfect weather!


Thanks so much for stopping by! I can't wait to read your comment!

Next Post Previous Post Home