Scotland's Gardens

Mr Lowry's visit to Portrack, Garden of Cosmic Speculation, 30th April 2017

Ka-boom, Zoom and Wham we arrived! Not on the other side of the universe as I first thought was going to happen but having travelled through the hills via Elvanfoot and Durisdeer we were in an amazing garden nestled between the gentle rolling Galloway hills, adorned with golden splashes of gorse (Ulex europeaus) in full bloom. The ‘Boss’ says this region is ‘one of the most beautiful and forgotten parts of Scotland’ with over thirty other dog friendly gardens, all detailed in the Yellow Book. Each he says is ‘filled with treasures for you to discover and enjoy’. ‘Bring it on’ was my reply to that! So we will see what ‘The Team’ can come up with over the summer!

Now that I have recovered I can reflect fully upon my outing to Portrack a week ago to see the ‘Garden of Cosmic Speculation’; which I am told by ‘The Boss’, was designed to explore certain fundamental aspects of the universe such as black holes, fractals and waveforms as well as DNA and the six senses. Listening to all this I looked at him with a puzzled expression as if to say ‘Have you taken leave of your senses man’ there are only five you know! Recognizing my bewildered expression he smiled and replied ‘Yip you will see what I mean as there is even part of the garden given over to exploring them as well as a building which celebrates Nonsense and indeed we did see the lot but I am none the wiser!! 

What a day! It was a record breaker and I have to admit I have never seen as many people in a garden all at once. It was amazing they were everywhere! No wonder I was knackered on my return! They were sitting in the sun, lying on the grassy mounds of the earth works, enjoying picnics, taking selfies and walking round the paths exploring the many strange features of this garden which included the red Fractal Bridge, which jumps over two streams, and the Quantum Foam a long curved walkway. These like the Snail Mound were a big hit with families, as for me I opted to sit in the sun and watch a winding trail of humans going round and round the spiral to the top of the snail and then later parade along the ridge of the Snake Mound. I also liked the Birchbone Garden an exploration of life built around a planting of silver birch; tree trunks everywhere ‘magic’ hee hee!  ‘The Team’ enjoyed The Garden of the Worthies, which has an industrial feel celebrating famous Scots men and women.  There were even amazing sculptures of DNA with others to represent Sight, Smell, Touch, Taste and Hearing and the Fractal Terrace which looked to me like something from Alice in Wonderland, as well as a massive work called Cascade which tumbled down the hillside to represent 13 billion years of the universe.

To be honest it was all a bit above my head but that did not matter, as there were doggy chums everywhere for me to speak to. All shapes and sizes Bassets Hounds, Bedlington Terriers, Collies, a Greyhound and numerous Labradors and Spaniels to name but a few. Eventually I gave up saying hello to them all, opting rather to have a drink at one of the pools having just made an attempt to explore the contents of Jennifer and Craig’s picnic basket.  This lovely young couple had popped down from Glasgow for the day and made a fuss of me also persuading ‘The Team’ to give me a treat even when I had been naughty. Then of course there was the Upper Nithsdale Pipe Band and the performance from The Dumfries Youth Theatre and the magic fairies that spoke to me. The teas were organized by ‘The Usual Place’ from Dumfries; which according to ‘HQ’ is an amazing organisation, which helps young people to develop new skills and acquire qualifications for employment in the hospitality industry.

With blue skies, sunshine and cooling gentle soft green grass for a warm lazy dog to roll upon and Bird Cherry or Gean (Prunus avium), in full flower as well as lots of rhododendrons and a greenhouse filled with exotics for ‘The Team’ plus the amazing landforms. There is no doubt that our day spent exploring the cosmos was indeed very memorable.  What more can I say except a huge ‘thank you’ to everyone who made it happen.  

I believe my next visit is slightly nearer home in the Scottish Borders on the edge of ‘Walter Scott Country’; to a rather special garden within a wall, ‘The ‘Boss’ comments to HQ that it is ‘a delight of colour, texture and scent’ I reply ‘sounds just the job for everyone’.   ‘Yes it is’ says he ‘but I will need to mind my manners’ when I am walking round especially if I meet the Duke’.

‘As if I would do anything else - Bye for now readers’.

Mr. Lowry.

With thanks to the ‘Team’.


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