The Planetary Garden shows the medieval planets* to scale and set in the universe. It is a thought-provoking gravel garden intended to bring home the fragility of our earth in the great scheme of things.
How to understand this garden. Stand with your back to the castle and look at this little garden and enjoy the view all the way to Lochnagar which is 24 miles away. It is a huge view with not another house in sight. This little garden is meant to make you think how fragile our earth really is.
Just in front of you is a circular mill-stone set in the gravel. Imagine that is the planet Mercury. Beyond it, and to scale, is Mars, then Venus and finally Earth with the Moon inside it. The curved edge of the lawn is Saturn. Can you see its rings? The centres of Mercury, Mars, Venus and Earth are set on an arc which is the size of Jupiter in this model. Jupiter is the largest planet in our solar system.
Walk forward across the gravel and you will find the Sun. Stand on the last circle (Earth) and below you is a bank and the lower lawn. Beyond the lawn is longer grass. Believe it or not that edge, between lawn and the longer grass is an arc equivalent to the size of the Sun in this model.
Do you still think that view is big? Consider how tiny the earth is in comparison to the size of the sun.
The gravel you’re standing on is symbolic of all the other stars in the Milky Way galaxy except if we had as many pieces of gravel as there are stars in our galaxy it would be over your head. Many of the stars have planets around them.
Then pick up one piece of that gravel and imagine now that it is the entire Milky Way galaxy: the gravel underfoot now represents the other galaxies in the universe.
How tiny and fragile the earth now seems. It has no lifeboats so we need to look after it. Oh, and can you drop the Milky Way galaxy back please!
*We know the Sun and Moon aren’t planets – but in medieval times they were thought to be just that. Neptune, Uranus and Pluto hadn’t been discovered in medieval times so they’re missing from this model.
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Some kind words from our previous guests…
What a great introduction to Scotland. Nothing like having the Best first. June 2018