A tribute to Hugh MacDiarmid
A tribute to Hugh MacDiarmid

A rose garden tribute to Scotland’s great poets

In a corner of a park in Glasgow, there lies an unassuming tribute to some of Scotland’s greatest poets.

The Scottish Poetry Rose Garden was opened in 2003 to mark Glasgow’s hosting of the World Rose Convention that year, and celebrates poetry in Scots, English, and Gaelic.

This quiet corner of the park is popular with tourists and visitors who can see statues and dedications to Scotland’s best wordsmiths, providing an unexpected tribute to our poets in a park that’s popular with joggers, pet owners and walkers.

The rose garden is situated on the site of what was once a walled garden adjacent to the original Camphill Hot-houses, which were demolished around 1930, and a rose garden was developed on the site during the late 1960s.

In the quest for a theme for the new rose garden, it became apparent that thought there were many monuments to original poets, there was no public area on which to focus on Scottish poetry in general.

With the connections between poetry and roses, which are so often found in parallel, Queen’s Park on the south side of the city was chosen as the venue.

A tribute to Hugh MacDiarmid

The choice of poets celebrated is somewhat eclectic, but attempts to reflect the diversity and length of the historical period from which Scottish poetry exists.

They include Robert Henryson (1420-1490), William Dunbar (1460-1520), Gavin Douglas (1474-1522), Alexander Montgomery (1545-1598), Alasdair MacMaighstir Alasdair (1698–1770) Donnchad Ban Mac an-t-Saoir (1724-1812), Robert Ferguson (1750-1774), Robert Burns (1759-1796), James Hogg (1770-1835), Violet Jacob (1863-1946), Marion Angus (1866-1946), Hugh MacDiarmid (1892-1978), Somhairle MacGill-Eain (1911-1996) and George Mackay Brown (1921-1996).

Glasgow’s Queen’s Park (Photo: David Steel)

The layout of the paths hark back to Celtic and Monastic forms, which centre around a boulder, on which is inscribed MacDiarmid’s The Little White Rose, and at each intersection an inscribed stone disc commemorates another poet from the three main strands of Scottish verse – English, Scots and Gaelic.

The formal beds between these are planted with examples of the Scots or Scotch Briar roses.

The garden was opened by Her Royal Highness Princess Anne on July 17 2003.