The Garden of Cosmic Speculation: The surreal space where Lewis Carroll and Willy Wonka meet Capability Brown

Surrealism, philosophy, nature and gardening come together at the Garden of Cosmic Speculation, as Annunciata Elwes explains.

To call the Garden of Cosmic Speculation a ‘garden’ underplays it enormously: there are forty main areas — which take in gardens, bridges, sculpture, terraces, architecture and more — across a site that covers thirty acres. And the whole thing will have you alternately gazing in awe, scratching your chin in disbelief and laughing out loud, as the website’s description suggests: ‘The Garden of Cosmic Speculation uses nature to celebrate nature, both intellectually and through the senses, including the sense of humour.’

If Lewis Carroll, Willy Wonka and Capability Brown got together, they might create something very like the late Charles Jencks’s psychedelic Garden of Cosmic Speculation.

It’s only open for one day a year (usually the first Sunday in May), through Scotland’s Gardens Scheme, and proceeds go to Maggie’s Centres.

Charles Jencks and Maggie Keswick’s ‘The Universe Cascade’ at the Garden of Cosmic Speculation.

As you’d expect from the landscape at the home of a father of post-Modernism, there are topsy-turvy landforms, striking sculptures, ‘black holes’ and Dali-esque proportions.

It’s a magnificent spectacle that’s quite marvellously bonkers, in the best possible way.

Find out more and get details of opening at, or see more of Secret Britain