“Their principle … and very just idea of husbandry consisted in this, namely, to make a farm resemble a garden as nearly as possible.”

Welcome to the new Living Field web site, opened in spring 2014 to celebrate 10 years of the Living Field Garden and publication of the 5000 years project.

The Living Field is run by staff at the James Hutton Institute, Dundee, UK. Outreach and education is our main aim, promoting the understanding of crops and wild plants and the need for sustainable production of food and other agricultural products. Our About page gives more on the history, aims and funding of the Living Field.

The News page links to what’s going on in the Living Field project, updates to the web site and any matters topical.

Waiting for sunrise, year old sheep on lightly frosted pasture, mist and then sitka spruce behind, Strathnairn (Squire/Living Field)

The Garden was created in a corner of the Institute’s farm in 2004. It contains hundreds of species – crops and wild plants – many of which are now uncommon or rare in agricultural land. The Garden link in the menu to the right also leads to a description of what’s going on now and further links to web pages on habitats, plants, living exhibits and projects.

The Year records the seasonal cycle in the croplands through the quarter days and cross quarter days. 

People profiles collaborations with the Living Field in art and science. Here are the redoubtable and philosophic Reno and artist Jean Duncan’s work with the Living Field and Slovenia artist Vida Fakin.

5000 years is a long term project which aims to describe the crops and useful wild plants that have sustained people in the maritime croplands since agriculture began here in the neolithic. Material is being published here on the Plants, the Ages and the Innovations.

Global field through its Urban-field and Water-field explores fields in other parts of the world: Inle Lake Burma, Dundee’s waterfront, winter floods in the croplands and the hills around and below the Parthenon.



The Living Field is presently managed by Gladys Wright and Geoff Squire but exists through the efforts of many people. For more information on aims and charitable funding, please see the About page.

For the Living Field project, garden, CD, centre and general enquiries: gladys.wright@hutton.ac.uk

For this web site, The Year, the 5000 Years project: Geoff Squire at geoff.squire@hutton.ac.uk

Winter oilseed rape, planted late summer the previous year, now in full flower, east Perthshire (Living Field)

All images on this site are taken and prepared by the Living Field team unless stated otherwise. Please respect our ownership of these images . The Living Field is funded by charities and is not profit-making.

The original web site remains at www.livingfield.hutton.ac.uk. The educational CD and download, released 2005, are accessible from that site, as are all previous posts on the Garden and the  croplands.

Quote at the top of the page is from Hart’s Essays on Husbandry, Essay 1, 1764, where he writes with admiration about the Flemings’ (people of Flanders) approach to farming.

Strips of tarmac, roadside grass, reeds and a tree line of oak not yet in full leaf, cropped fields to the left, Carse of Gowrie (Living Field)

Images on this page were taken near the early May cross quarter day. For its position in the annual solar cycle, see XQ2.



sustainable croplands