Tag Archives: compost heap

Permaculture Flowers in a Cottage Garden

23 Mar

July 2011 Permaculture Cottage 010

Permaculture gardens and growers shy away from bare earth.

The introduction of a layered system simply emulates Nature herself, allowing seed to spread and drift onto open land where pioneering species are allowed to take hold.

There is a plant for every place, even here on the limestone gravel…Valerian nestles into whatever spot a seed lands upon.

In this way, this beautiful flowering plant has made the gravel driveway of Bealtaine Cottage it’s home…

Buddleia in bloom at Bealtaine Cottage

Buddleia is another pioneering plant that will nestle into stony and inhospitable places.

Have you ever seen this flowering shrub, beloved of Butterflies, growing out from old buildings, between the cracks in the mortar?  

From the introduction of two shrubs, the natural cultivation of hundreds has followed on at Bealtaine Cottage.

Harvesting is simple…pull the seedling out from the gravel path and pot on, ready to replant the following year in it’s new home.

An example of the Valerian along the west wall on the gable end of Bealtaine Cottage.

When flowers appear to grow effortlessly, like weeds, you know they have found their perfect home…let them be!

Wild Orchids here, growing on a land that is allowed to breath free from chemicals…Nature knows best!

Michaelmas Daisies…make great ground-cover under trees and grows in almost any conditions from my experience here.

This is growing under a pine tree in the Bog Garden on the lower slopes of Bealtaine Cottage.

Spiraea, a most beautiful summer flowering bush.

Easy to grow…all here have been started as slips simply pushed into the soil.

Hard pruning will give you lots of kindling for the stove as well as bulk for the all-important compost heap!

Columbine, or Aquilegia, another hardy self-seeder here at the cottage.

This made itself at home in the early days of establishing permaculture at Bealtaine and has thrived and spread ever since!

This purple Columbine comes up each year at the front of  the cottage.

Permaculture flowers are easy to grow and take good care of themselves! 

There are hundreds of photographs showing the flowers that grow here…feel free to look up the summer calender of last year…just click on Calender and hover the mouse over dates for that month, then click to go in…

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The Stolen Child…in memory of half a million children of Iraq who will never grow up.

4 Sep

Willie Yeats is one of my favourite poets.

He shares a place in my heart with Seamus Heaney and several others.

I found this enchanting animation of one of Yeats most remembered poems, “The Stolen Child,” and thought it would be good to share it with you.

The words of Madeline Albright, US Secretary of State, burns in my heart…500,000 dead Iraqi children “was worth it”…

http://youtu.be/g9hnUYV06t4

 

Autumn and the changing light…that’s my favourite aspect to the season.

The next few weeks are going to be all about cutting back and filling the compost heaps.

Paths that have closed up over recent months will be opened up again through a lot of hard work…but then this is a lovely time to be outdoors.

Cow Parsley…this will stand for most of the Autumn and sometimes into the winter.

Spiders will spin webs and leave a fairy-like strands that connect the skeletal shapes.

As the EU imposes sanctions on Iran, we wait for the death toll of children to mount there too.

Ireland now holds the Presidency of the EU.

Ireland can make a difference…or be complicit in the genocide of a nation.

Ireland should know better!

If you get close enough to Tony Blair to attempt a peaceful citizen’s arrest, you will qualify for the reward which has already been paid a number of times.

For details, see http://www.arrestblair.org/

Permaculture Cottage ~ Compost, Potatoes, The Fairy Tree and a Cold Winter to Come!

22 Jul

Potatoes growing by the east side of the shed. Did you know that there are about five thousand potato varieties worldwide?                            Potatoes do not keep very well in storage and are vulnerable to molds that feed on the stored tubers, quickly turning them rotten.  However, I left potatoes in the ground over the course of last winter, when all was frozen solid for six long weeks…and they were dug out after the defrost and were perfect! I think it may have been the layer of straw that was atop the ground!

Throughout Europe, the most important new food in the 19th century was the potato, which, of course fast became a monoculture among poorer people… I strive hard to avoid planting all the tubers in one area, preferring to plant here and there in a positive way to avoid disease…and it appears to have worked thus far!

Now in its seventh year, Bealtaine smallholding has achieved new heights of growth, meaning that compost is plentiful. This is because there is so much to cut back and use to build compost heaps…I have made two so far and am still using the compost made last year, with loads to go!

At its most essential, the process of composting requires simply piling up waste outdoors and waiting a year or more. This is the method I use and it has benefitted Bealtaine well! The compost itself is beneficial for the land in many ways, including as a soil conditioner, a fertilizer, addition of vital humus or humic acids, and as a natural pesticide for soil. Any parts of the heap that have not degraded sufficiently can be added to the next heap…a process I indulge in!

Permaculture planting lends itself really well to bountiful compost production, so even if you do not keep animals for manure, it is still quite possible to maintain a high degree of healthy and fertile soil, using plant compost alone…however, a few hens are easy and happy and productive little workers to have on any smallholding!

Upcycling baked bean tins…making a few holes in the bottom and planting with sedums…these are two years old now and quite attractive when grouped together like this, don’t you think?

Lots of berries on the Hawthorn. last year was the same and I predicted a very cold and long winter…I forecast more of the same for the coming winter based on much evidence around me…

Crataegus,or Hawthorn is one of my favourite trees here at Bealtaine and I have grown all I have planted from seed. Hawthorns provide food and shelter for many species of birds and mammals, and the flowers are important for many nectar-feeding insects.

In Gaelic folklore, hawthorn  ‘marks the entrance to the otherworld’ and is strongly associated with the fairies.   Lore has it that it is very unlucky to cut the tree at any time other than when it is in bloom, however during this time it is commonly cut and decorated as a May Bush or Bealtaine…Irish meaning May.    This warning persists to modern times; it has been questioned by folklorist Bob Curran whether the ill luck of the De Lorean Motor Company was associated with the destruction of a fairy thorn to make way for a production facility.

Hawthorn trees are often found beside clootie wells; at these types of holy wells they are sometimes known as ‘rag trees’, for the strips of cloth which are tied to them as part of healing rituals. ‘

When all fruit fails, welcome haws’ was once a common expression in Ireland.

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