Architecture · Photography · Scotland

Friday photo: clever construction

While out for a walk at Murton Farm nature reserve in the county of Angus last month, I passed an interestingly constructed dry stone wall. The first photo shows a section with a large boulder at the bottom and flatter stones placed around it at different angles. In the second picture you can see more of the wall, with another smaller boulder to the left of the big one. Scotland has a lot of dry stone walls made with no ‘glue’ to hold the stones together, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen one quite like this before.

Section of an unusual dry stone wall at Murton Farm nature reserve, Angus. 
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Dry stone wall at Murton Farm with two boulders at the bottom.
Garden · Photography · Scotland

Scotland’s Gardens: Dundee Botanic Garden

I enjoy visiting large gardens and although my photographs rarely, if ever, do these wonderful places justice, I thought I’d start a series on Scotland’s gardens to illustrate the botanical splendour on offer in this part of the world.

The first garden I’m featuring is a relatively new botanical garden, set up and run by the University of Dundee. The garden is spread out over 9 hectares, divided into geographical areas containing plant species from all over the world.

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The glasshouses and Mediterranean area of Dundee Botanic Garden.

From the early 1970s, when the garden was created, it has been run on a small budget. The objective of maintaining it as cheaply as possible remains an important policy of the garden today.

Beyond the glasshouses lies the Garden of Evolution, which contains some impressive dry stone walling.

Dry stone walling in the Garden of Evolution.
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Entrance to the Garden of Evolution.

When the garden was in the planning stages, the only suitable site that wasn’t too far from the University lay just north of the River Tay. From the southern edge of the garden you can see the Tay, separated from the garden by a busy road and Dundee’s small airport. The amount of traffic nearby makes this far from the quietest of gardens, but perhaps it makes having a garden here all the more beneficial.

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Dundee Airport and the River Tay, seen from Dundee Botanic Garden. The land beyond the river is the northern boundary of the Kingdom of Fife.

If you’ve spent much time in Scotland you might agree with me that hothouses are a welcome addition to any garden. The ones at Dundee Botanic Garden were much appreciated on the rather nippy day when I was taking these photographs.

Entrance to Dundee Botanic Garden’s hothouses.

My camera lens kept steaming up in the jungly atmosphere inside, but it was bliss to let the heat seep into my bones as I strolled amongst exotic foliage.

I wasn’t the only one enjoying the warm, moist atmosphere.


As you might expect from a university-run enterprise, Dundee Botanic Garden places an emphasis on education. The garden provides a wide range of programmes for school children of all ages as well as occasional courses for adults.

The garden is open all year round (apart from a few days over Christmas and New Year) and at time of writing a day ticket costs £3.90 for adults and £2.90 for senior citizens, children and students. Students of Dundee University and Dundee College, and members of the Royal Horticultural Society get in for free.

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Striking white bark and a white turret, Dundee Botanic Garden.