Cruikshank Botanic Garden Trail

Welcome to the Raven’s Trail in the Cruikshank Botanic Garden.  The trail has been developed to show you not only the wonderful plants that can be found in the Garden’s collection but how these plants can be spotted when you are walking elsewhere. The trail also provides quotes about these plants from the fantasy works of George MacDonald and images from his books. Many of these books can be found in the University’s special collections and wherever possible we have included links to digital copies and audio book versions of the texts on the web-pages which can be accessed by the QR codes on the trail posters or via the website. This trail has been developed by Rebecca Langworthy with editorial assistance from Derek Stewart, Mark Patterson and Oliver Langworthy.

Ravens trail logoThe Cruickshank Botanic Garden is a partnership between the University and the Cruickshank Charitable Trust. When going around the garden please keep to paths and obey any signs or barriers. Please respect the garden’s plants by not touching them or picking any flowers or foliage. We hope that your visit, either to the garden or to our website will allow your imagination to bloom.


George MacDonald

George MacDonald was born in the town of Huntly on December 10th 1826. He grew up in the town and proved to be an apt student. MacDonald moved to Aberdeen in the early 1840’s to study at Aberdeen University. Having completed his degree MacDonald moved to Highbury collage in London to train as a congregationalist minister. By 1850 MacDonald has his first congregation, in Arundel, and married Louisa Powell in 1851, they would go on to have eleven children together (six sons and five daughters). MacDonald resigned form his Arundel congregation after three years having been accused of heresy. By 1855 MacDonald had turned to writing to support his family with the publication of his first volume of poems Within and Without published that year.

As an author MacDonald counted Lady Noel Byron, John Ruskin, Mark Twain and Lewis Carroll among his friends. His works were celebrated during his lifetime and he even went on a lecture tour to America in the 1870’s before being pensioned by Queen Victoria and moving to Bordighera in Italy MacDonald stayed there from 1881 until his wife, Louisa, died in 1902.  MacDonald moved back to the UK for the final years of his life following a stroke which left him unable to speak. He died in Ashtead, Surrey,  on September 18th 1905 and his remains are buried beside Louisa’s in Bordighera.

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George MacDonald’s Scotland is Supported by The Research Institute of Scottish and Irish Studies   The University of Aberdeen the British Association for Victorian Studies (BAVS):