A series of posts from our volunteers …

Peter Middleton

Photographic portrait of Peter Middleton, i.e. a selfie!
Peter Middleton

I’m a retired journalist, cum corporate communications director. Ok, so I was a sort-of spin doctor working for Boeing (among others) before reputations were quite so tarnished.

I got into photography and horticulture as a kid. I lived on a horticultural research station but I never shot flowers with my Zeiss Ikon.

As a technical journalist I took my first 35mm SLR to the Antarctic. I was briefed not to use a motor drive in the cold dry  air because fast-moving film could be shredded by its own static electricity. I well remember the pre-flight briefing aboard an RNZAF  Hercules before  heading south: “If we land in the ocean use the escape hatch in the roof and carry a heavy weight”. We did land on the sea (between McMurdo and Ross Island) but it was frozen. No problem there then. They  told us afterwards that the ice was 7ft thick but the water beneath it was a hundred times deeper.

We now have a house in Kirkcudbright just opposite the other Ross Island (site of the notorious lighthouse murder) and not far from Logan where I first volunteered with RBGE. I am a member of the Stewartry Camera Club in Galloway, but now live in West Linton, near Dawyck.

I use mainly Canon DSLRs (6D and 650D) but also have an odd-ball Ricoh GXR with a 15mm Voigtlander  lens on a Leica M mount.

My biggest job for RBGE was covering the opening of the new Logan glasshouse.

Photograph from the opening of the Conservatory at Logan Botanic Garden
One of Peter’s photographs taken at the official opening of the Logan Conservatory

I never thought I would end up working for a garden. Horticulture ran in the family but I was strictly into planes. My father trained at Kew and John Innes, then worked for the Plant Protection division of ICI; my grandfather was chief gardener to the Duke of Buccleuch at Drumlanrig; and my daughter did a ‘plantsmanship’ year at RBGE in Edinburgh after a spell at Kew. She is now an Edinburgh-based professional harpist and still a keen gardener.