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Mothers and Machair Flowers

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The calendar says spring, but we patiently await the arrival of machair flowers.

In winter, the land around the great swathes of sand on the west coast of Harris is just a sparse covering of faded green.

There's just enough under hoof for the local grazing livestock, as part of the low-intensity cycle of the crofting calendar, but little for the untrained eye to look twice at.

These strips of sandy soil between sea and land are, in reality, a delicate and precious ecosystem. This alkaline shoreline habitat is known as machair and is one of the rarest natural environments in Europe.

The coming months will bring a riot of wildflowers, a shoreline carpet of colour.

A coastal arable grassland, these fertile low-lying plains have been worked and cherished by islanders for generations, the ground sweetened by shell-sands blowing off the beaches.

The arrival of March might bring the start of meteorological spring, but the first sparks of life usually come late to the Hebrides. When it does, however, the flowers of the machair explode into a riot of colour.

White daisies and clover, yellow buttercups and bird's foot trefoil, soft pinks of yarrow and thrift and, by mid-summer, a haze of magenta and purple when self-heal, harebells and wild orchids emerge.

The rain-dropped heads of Harebells at Traigh Iar, Isle of Harris.

This natural carpet of colour changes as the months rolls on. A bright white sea of petals will give way to hundreds of yards of yellow before the sea pinks, purple clovers, trefoils and bluebells battle it out.

Wildflowers and their outpouring of tiny petals paint their own form of island impressionism amidst the fragile grasses, soon to be abuzz with bumblebees and beachside birds.

As Mother's Day approaches, we wanted to share a little of the forthcoming season, so we've created a special Mother's Day card to celebrate the beauty of these wonderful flowers.

The Harris Machair, a maritime meadow by the sea.

If you'd like to give those special women in your life an island-inspired treat, then we'd be delighted to include a gift card with Gaelic greeting, and in our trademark hand-drawn style, with your order at no extra charge.

Just add your message during checkout, and Sarah here at the Harris Distillery will hand-write the card for you before sending it from our shores to the recipient's door.

Here's to the Mothers, and the machair flowers we hope you'll share with them!

Please note the last date for guaranteed delivery is midnight on Sunday the 20th of March 2022.


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