It was a beautiful May evening and the birdsong was as loud as the dawn - blackbirds, blue tits, the throaty cooing of pigeons and the distinctive 'chuk, chuk' of a distant pheasant. In honour of the ancient tradition, my friend and I lit a fire for Bealtaine in the ceremonial fireplace and mused on the coming of summer.
In my original notebook of ideas for the four gardens, I described Bealtaine with the words 'growth, energy, vigour, abundance, passion, colour, openness, connection and light'. Many shades of green, contrasting with fiery reds. Energy radiating outwards.
Designer Mary Reynolds turned those ideas into the stunning arrangement of standing stones and bog oak sculptures, with copper 'flames' in the grass and borders of wild flowers, that forms the Bealtaine garden. This is not a reconstruction or a static design but a living, contemporary space into which our fire of hazel and birch fitted perfectly.
The fire burned down to glowing embers as dusk fell. The next morning I picked out the charred end of a hazel log and the ash was still warm on my fingers.