The Llŷn Peninsula, Wales

Hélène Rudlin – Garden Designer

I spent my formative years in the Perigord Noir and I think the hiraeth I felt, during the intervening years living in Paris and Manchester has brought me here today.

In My Place winds are often terrifying, rearranging the landscape and the shapes of hedges and trees, along with my garden and my hair, often with interesting results. The 23 types of rains carry forgotten smells, petrichor and dimethyl sulphide, moss, stone, coal fires and rotten logs. The only sounds, beside silence, is the growling or whispering wind, a tractor or a proud strutting and seemingly alarmed pheasant. 

The sea is glistening today in shades of silver glimpsed due south over the dense forest with the archipelago of St Tudwal’s in Tremadog Bay. To my east is Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon), snow peaked as I write and where the sun rises, while Caernarfon Bay is to my west, where the sun sets amongst the Yr Eifl (the Rivals). We are halfway up Moel Monbriod above the village of Llanaelhaern where, at night, there is no light except the moon and the milky way; during the Perseids we counted 32 shooting stars. Rewilding is on my agenda next year. Having chased the sheep out of our small field, I long for the sway of the ragworts, thistles, wild carrots, docks, campions and red dead nettles. I want to meet hoverflies with their front legs tucked in, grasshoppers, beetles and butterflies as I write, or dream, in the long grass. They say childhood is the best time to understand life and gain knowledge. I would say it’s never too late.