This is about one woman deciding to do something very dramatic and revolutionary in Ireland…taking three acres of wet, rushy, north-facing land and planting trees like her life depended on it…it does!
First of all, if this is your first visit to Bealtaine Cottage, then you are very welcome indeed!
(Have a look at what Bealtaine Cottage looked like before permaculture magic was worked…bottom of this page…)
Here at Bealtaine Cottage it’s all about Permaculture, sharing a love for Mother Earth and a passion for growing gardens, plants and hearts!
My aim, living alone and without any workforce or helpers, was to create a self-sustaining smallholding designed and constructed on Permaculture Principles.
This has included planting over 900 deciduous trees including two large orchards, as well as many perennials and bushes.
Bealtaine Cottage has evolved into an Ark for Nature, with continuous planting and expanding biodiversity.
There is the recent installation of a compost toilet, put in place to ensure waste products are managed on site.
Growing organically produced food includes a continual, all-year round supply from a purpose-built polytunnel.
There is a continual, substantial food surplus and this is channelled into the making of wines, jams, pickles, chutney, dried foods and plants.
This approach to living on the Earth, forms the basis of an integrated approach to living with the planet, rather than on the planet.
Spinning is one of my favourite crafts, spinning wool and using the surplus ‘shoddy,’ as a fertilizer and mulch for the land.
Crafting is an ongoing learning curve, necessity being the mother of invention, as proved here with the recycled floor.
It is a more sustainable way to live!
This simple little barn was constructed in wood and open to the south to keep it warm and filled with light.
Hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world have visited Bealtaine Cottage on-line.
Plants and trees are mostly grown from seed and, are therefore healthy and acclimatized specimens.
For those wishing to know more about Bealtaine Cottage and the Permaculture Gardens, there is a YouTube channel, as well as over 600 archived blogs on this site.
A veranda was added at the back of the cottage to provide more shelter as well as outdoor work space.
The addition of a wood burning stove in the sitting room and a multi fuel stove in the kitchen, has given free hot water, cooking, baking and central heating from a fire fuelled mostly with wood harvested here.
The cottage did not have a kitchen sink, so one was fitted under this window…why not have a good view when washing up?
Bealtaine Cottage now sits snugly amidst the hundreds of trees planted during the past nine years.
All construction carried out at Bealtaine is worked in wood, a sustainable building material, such as the addition of the porch, above.
To encourage maximum biodiversity, vegetables, fruit, flowers, trees and shrubs are grown together, such as here in the home-made tunnel.
Abundance grows year on year at Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture, Ireland.
As the fertility in the soil re-builds itself, crops become more abundant.
As a way of draining the land, but harvesting the water, two ponds were dug in the Bog Garden, below the cottage.
These now form the central area of the Bog Garden, where an abundance of willow is grown, used in basketry and garden projects, as well as burning in the stoves that heat the water and radiators in the cottage.
Everything grown at Bealtaine forms the basis of a quality of living, that includes visual appreciation of the gardens, shown here in an indoor arrangement.
You can see and read about everything that has happened here at Bealtaine Cottage by visiting the archives and Bealtaine Cottage on YouTube.
Below are some before and after images of Bealtaine Cottage in 2004…before the permaculture design was applied…yes, it was rather stark and forbidding!
Before the planting began…This is where the orchard and vegetable garden are now.
All weeds were controlled with mulching.
Bealtaine Cottage is also on YouTube…I have posted over 110 videos about Permaculture, planting, growing and living.
I write to encourage, help and inspire mindfulness for our beautiful world and have photographed and written over 800 blogs on the Bealtaine Cottage site.
As an Ark for Nature, trees and wildlife, the smallholding of Bealtaine Cottage receives no grant aid from either the Irish government or EU. Everything created here is self-funded.
Any donation, no matter how small, goes a long way in sustaining and developing this site.