Into every life a little yin (or yang) must fall says Fay Young,

as she listens to Tibetan wind

chimes in Glenfarg

IN ancient Chinese philosophy, yin-yang indicates the active and passive principles of the universe. Yin is female, dark and restful; yang is male, light, and positive.

In the Lascelles' garden, on a windy autumn morning alternating between sun and showers, there is a brief male and female dispute over who thought of creating the yin-yang flower bed at the top of the lawn. Brian says, quite positively, he thought of it one morning at work. Maggie says, not altogether passively, ``Oh Brian'', but compensates by taking undisputed credit for finding the flow stones which direct a stream of water down the centre of the steps at the garden entrance. Into each life a little yin (or yang) must fall.

Whoever thought of it first, the circular bed was chosen to fit the space, as well as a shared interest in Eastern religions which echoes like the Tibetan wind chimes round different parts of the garden - the charity they support through Scotland's Garden Scheme is the Phoenix Prison Trust which introduces prisoners to the benefits of yoga and meditation. The cell is an opportunity for inner growth.

In the yin-yang bed, contrasting plants of dark and gold foliage outline the interlocking ``commas'' representing the forces of light and dark. At the head of each comma stands an erect yew; dark green growing out the light side, gold from the dark. In May purple tulips oppose white and yellow varieties. ``It only half works for the rest of the year,'' says Maggie, ``but the shape of the bed is right, I love to watch children come running down the path and round the border.''

Perhaps the most remarkable thing about the Lascelles' gardening passion is that they share so much of it with the public. People come from all over the country and the other side of the world to visit Bank House Gardens in the centre of the Perthshire village of Glenfarg, either on Open Days or by arrangement. But the bigger part of their ground is permanently open to the village.

In ancient Chinese terms it may be yang (``active and aggressive'') that a few kids occasionally heave a wooden seat into the pond or snap branches off young trees. It could be yin (``wisdom and repose'') or yang (``creative'') that the Lascelles commissioned a chain-saw sculptor to make a bench too hefty to heave for the benefit of those who prefer to reflect by the water-lilies. It is probably both yin and yang that village children asked if they could have somewhere to dip jam-jars when they are looking for sticklebacks. Hence the stone pier.

All in all it must be good for Glenfarg. During the past three years the Lascelles have transformed a field and adjoining coalyard into two acres of open landscape with a pond, a wild-flower meadow across a stream reached by a blue ``Monet'' bridge and a growing plantation of species and ornamental trees which members of the public are encouraged to adopt.

Glenfarg Girl Guides were first to pay the #10 which covers the cost of an engraved plaque and shows commitment to their weeping Camperdown Elm. Since then another 44 friends, neighbours and relatives have dedicated trees, some as memorials. The Lascelles plant the trees they want to plant anyway and local people take personal pride in watching them grow.

The view would have been a housing scheme if Perth and Kinross planning committee had passed the developer's planning application. The site owner eventually accepted the Lascelles offer instead and they believe their garden is a greater asset to the community. The trees are a gift to future generations. ``It is unusual to have such an open space in the centre of a Scottish village,'' says Brian.

Since public ``amenity gardens'' are entitled to financial support, the Lascelles received Scottish Natural Heritage grants towards the considerable cost (they would rather not say how much) of creating the pond, which required a consultant and two mechanical diggers, and sowing the wild-flowers. Perth and Kinross District Council mow the grass twice a year.

``That's a terrific help,'' says Maggie. ``It saves us the expense of buying a machine big enough to cope with such a large area and the problem of building a shed to put the ruddy thing in.''

You might wonder why they go to such effort with the new stretch of land when there is plenty of work in the acre at the back of the house where Brian created the underlying structure of today's garden, adding a neighbouring field to the small yard of cabbage stalks and tin sheds left by the former bank manager. Three separate vegetable plots have been created by Maggie since she married Brian nine years ago. But there still wasn't enough for them to do. ``No water gardening,'' says Maggie. ``Not enough room for real trees,'' says Brian.

Each partner has a distinctive style. Brian is the organised one, as befits the deputy chairman of John Menzies. He plans on the ground, moving lengths of hose pipe around until he sees the shape he wants. He cut the original borders out of newly sown grass and built the tunnel of apple trees and clematis which now leads to a pond and fountain cascading over a piece of sculpture called Green Fingers.

``Structure is most important. If you get that right it is much easier to find the right plants for the right places,'' says Brian. When he visits gardens, he takes a dictaphone and polaroid camera with him to ensure accurate records. He fills and sends catalogues on time and has not only planted thousands of tulips but remembers where he put them.

Maggie fills in catalogues and may forget to send them but pays careful attention to crop rotation in her vegetable beds. As a painter, she prefers to plan on paper and as a long-time member of the Henry Doubleday Research Unit, hers is the organic influence. The secret of success, in a garden which required no watering during the long drought, is the highly productive compost corner where the combined forces of a shredder, heavy revolving drums and writhing red worms, turn garden and kitchen waste into a rich, steamy nourishing store to feed the soil next spring. ``You can do the same with a bucket at the back door,'' says Maggie, ``it just takes longer.''

But if she introduced Brian (already a firm believer in the value of manure) to the added virtues of compost, he persuaded her that a little selective weedkiller to prevent germination works wonders - ``I told her she could weed the stone paving by hand,'' says Brian.

The result is a garden of extraordinary variety and each area is a speciality in its own right. Flowers grow among vegetables. Stone sculpture stands out among the plants, ``giving the eye something else to rest on''.

Leading the way round their landscape, Maggie stops to tease honeysuckle into place on the Monet Bridge because she has given up with wisteria, Brian throws seeds of wild Himalayan Balsam across the stream to encourage their growth on the opposite bank. Ancient Chinese philosophy says: ``From the eternal interaction of complementary dualities all things come into existence.''