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Garden of the Season – University of Dundee Botanic Gardens

September 7th 2022

Why should we visit?

The opening of the V&A Museum put Dundee back on the map, but the city has always had its share of attractions, including the 27 acres of Botanic Garden which overlook the River Tay. This cherished green space is loved by locals and visitors alike and its cafe and plant nursery are both very popular. Paths wind past lawns and flowerbeds and through areas of woodland, while the south-facing, sloping site is warm enough for some tender plants to survive out of doors all year round.

Story of the garden

The botanic garden was established in 1971 by Dundee University as a place to provide plants for research purposes. Unlike other botanic gardens, where plants are arranged in taxonomic families, here the layout of plant communities offers insights into how different species grow and thrive together. Since it was opened, the garden has grown and developed and it now works towards combating climate change.


A new Green Room Art Gallery which opened earlier this year has exhibition space and a viewing gallery over the River Tay. The building has been created using sustainable materials and with a green roof to help support the garden’s insect population. Outside, the whole garden is being transformed through a large-scale, urban wilding programme, with a wide range of habitats including meadows and deadwood areas. The purpose of these changes is to help visitors to learn what they can do to mitigate climate change and habitat loss.

Don’t miss

The loss of 45 mature trees during last year’s storms could have been a catastrophe, but instead the garden’s directors asked artist Adrien Segal to work with the fallen trunks and what he created is a visual representation of a cyclone and its after-effects, with paths made from the bark, coppice stools and areas that represent destruction and regrowth. The installation is continually evolving and ground-cover plants are being added to help root the exhibit.

downfield trop ho pond

downfield medi pine

Anything else to look out for?

The Good Grief Memorial Garden is an area dedicated to loss and it contains the world’s first Covid-19 memorial plaque.

Best time to visit

The garden opens all year round and there are plantings to appeal to visitors in every season, from early bulbs and summer flowers to autumn colour from the many mature trees. The greenhouses, are a warm place to enjoy the garden’s collection of tropical plants during the winter months.

Any recommendations in the area?

Dundee Law, which rises 571 feet above the city, is the remains of an extinct volcano. At the top is a large war memorial, but there was once an Iron Age fort on the summit and both prehistoric graves and Roman pottery have been discovered on the steep slopes. A wide variety of mosses, fungi, birds and wildlife live on the Law and there are spectacular views over Fife and Perthshire.


From the A90, take the A85 along Riverside Drive. The garden is adjacent to Dundee Airport.


The garden is open daily 10am - 4.30pm.

Tickets: £5/£4.50/free (children under 16)

Tel: 01382 381190

Courtesy of The Herald

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