Scotland’s Mysterious Garden of Cosmic Speculation

The Garden of Cosmic Speculation in Dumfries, Scotland.(Image: Flexdream. The Garden of Cosmic Speculation, Scotland)

Some gardens are functional while others are merely decorative, but Charles Jencks’s Garden of Cosmic Speculation is a green-space on a whole different level. Private for all but one day a year, the 30-acre garden lies just a few miles north of Dumfries on the grounds of Portrack House, in the western part of the Southern Uplands.

Charles Jencks at the Garden of Cosmic Speculation(Image: Colin Hattersley. Charles Jencks at the Garden of Cosmic Speculation)

Pay it a visit on that day, and you’ll uncover an incredible study in cosmology, the universe, and all the things that we know, deep down, are much, much bigger than us.

(Image: John Lord)

Jencks, an American architectural theorist, landscape architect and designer, started building the garden in 1989, and incorporated concepts from biology and maths to philosophy and cosmology.

The Universal Cascade.(Image: John Lord)

A central feature of the Garden of Cosmic Speculation is the Universe Cascade, a series of steps that take visitors on a figurative journey through the billions of years since the universe’s creation.

Charles Jencks' Garden of Cosmic Speculation in the grounds of Portrack House, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland.(Image: John Lord)

Elsewhere, a red spiral bridge links Heaven and Hell, while another area is reminiscent of mankind’s six senses (including intuition). But the garden also symbolises a higher calling in its practical purpose.

(Image: John Lord)

On that one day of the year that it’s open, the Garden of Cosmic Speculation helps to raise funds for the Maggie’s Cancer Care Centres, which Charles Jencks co-founded.

(Image: John Lord)

Named after Jencks’ wife Maggie, who lost her fight against cancer in 1995, the centres provide support for those battling the illness, and Maggie’s legacy lives on in the important work that the care centre’s do across the United Kingdom and Hong Kong.

(Image: John Lord)

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