Beauty In The Breakdown

Beauty In The Breakdown

The weather is causing mayhem on an unprecedented scale (unless you were once a dinosaur- in which case you set a precedent for drama) around the world. If it were a person I’d accuse it of being a drama-queen; but that would be to belittle the very real problems and tragedy it is causing.

Here at Larglea, the self-catering season has begun, and I’m grateful for some spring sunshine. Guests will thus be treated to views of Dumfries and Galloway’s gentle, rolling hills and valleys, and it’s serene coastline, under a cerulean sky so wide it inspired a television series called A Thousand Acres of Sky.


For no particular reason, the many flowering perennials thrusting buds upward, are of some fifty (probably) shades of white. Since the colour white is often referred to as ‘virginal’ – perhaps I’m stretching the analogy to joke about the ubiquitous novel.

Never mind, I don’t suppose it will be the first or last time sex and gardening meet in prose.


The author Vita Sackville-West created a famous white garden room at Sissinghurst, which continues to inspire even amateurs like me – looking – as the less exalted Larglea garden did last night – at it’s best under strong moonlight.


There are long, long-standing arguments for gardening according to phases of the moon. Of course in many cultures this is still practiced. I advocate viewing a garden or landscape – and especially a beach – under moonlight in as many situations, circumstances, and locations as possible. Whether it be premeditated, or on impulse.

Leave shoes far behind. Bring good bottle of wine.


It’s tricky to photograph plants in moonlight.. but that doesn’t prevent appreciative viewing with the naked eye. Our ancestors had no digital camera’s, bottles of Montalcino or baguettes filled with chorizo and avocado. You cant beat a fresh, warm Cornish Pasty if you ask me. But since you didn’t, lets move on.


Only daylight images here – the various pale and ethereal white flowers setting off their cradles of foliage to perfection. Without, for now, the distraction of colour, we can see whorls, and feathers, and other, other-worldy looking shapes amongst the leaves. Plenty of miniature inspiration here for a new work of fantasy fiction.


No garden, however diminutive, or grand beyond our own pockets’ limitations – is without it’s beauty. Restrictions of size or cost encourage daring, imagination, thrift, recycling, inspiration from unlikely sources.


Sometimes, a vast and destructive storm such as the one in Britain in October 1987 causes utter devastation – but creates a vacuum in which a new garden can emerge.

No limitation is a breakdown – merely an opportunity to introduce something that was missing to the palette. At Larglea, a wisteria meant to be white turned out to be pale grey-lilac and inspired a fresh exterior colour for the house. One odd corner of a large border sports the beautiful white lilac grown from a cutting taken by a friends cousin – who was one of the people who led me to this part of Scotland. An enormous copper beech – a single specimen left from an ancient dying beech hedge, is now almost 20m across and 15m high. The sun sets behind it every day and I couldn’t imagine life here without it.

Let the breakdowns play themselves out – or you’ll never know how much they could have enriched your life.

There is.. Beauty In The Breakdown.


About largelyhelen

Designer, photographer, writer.
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