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The magical machair

Machair Outer Hebrides

Over the past couple of weeks I have been touring the Outer Hebrides - a chain of islands off the West coast of Scotland - camping in some of the most amazing places along the way.

I had expected the Hebrides to be stunning - we have all seen those amazing photos of deserted white beaches with a turquoise sea - but I hadn't expected the flowers to be quite so mind-blowingly beautiful.

We visited when the machair - the flowery plains that cover much of the Hebrides - were in full bloom.

The low fertility means that plants that would tower over me in my own garden are knee height here - but without the flowers being diminished in size.

Machair Outer Hebrides

At the same time pink clover - which visually holds together so many of the meadows, both those on sand and those on saturated peat - is supersized, growing in line with angelica, knapweeds and fennel.

The constant breeze gives the machair a vibrating thrum - waving grasses or reeds blurring the colours so it appears to be a giant living tufted carpet.

Machair Outer Hebrides

I was amazed at how many different flowers made up these plains - clover, fennel, scabious, speedwell, harebells, buttercups, dorindium, knapweeds - my notes go on and on - different flowers for different aspects but all merging to completely cover islands like South Uist and Eriskay.

I am now thinking of how to take the swirling communities of plants, the interweaving colours, the pure heart soaring beauty of this and try to mimic them in my own garden - to try and get a little of that Hebridean magic every day.

But in the meantime I have hundreds of photos like these to look at.

Machair Outer Hebrides

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Comments: 3 (Add)

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So eloquently described Jane. My gran & grandpa are buried in the cemetery at South Uist (my gran grew up there) and it looks out over the machair.
I'm not a religious person but I have never seen a more perfect spot to have as your final resting place.


So beautiful, I've never been but clearly it's now on my list, we are so lucky to have such beauty within our own British Isles.

Holly Nairn

What a stunningly beautiful landscape. So intricate, extraordinary and inspiring. Thanks for sharing Jane.