The Water Garden at Bealtaine Cottage

Just pictures today…of the Water Garden here at the permaculture smallholding.

This is the Lower Pond in the Bog Garden.

It is a haven for wildlife…sitting by the Lower Pond on a summer evening surrounded by dragonflies is one of the pleasures to be enjoyed after work.

The ponds, for there are two, are filled with Wild Mint and Watercress, among other delights.

Buttercups, Celandines and Meadowsweet abound.

This is one of the grass pathways leading down to the Bog Garden and the ponds.

It is planted out with Willow, Yellow Loosestrife, Monbretia and the weeds are all really flowers as you can see!

One of the wild Orchids growing in the damp ground of the Bog Garden last summer.

Gunnera Manicata growing beside one of the ponds…

Midsummer Day 004There are many wildflowers that can be included when planting an informal pond to attract wildlife.

Midsummer Magic at Bealtaine 020It is important to include Native plants as these  provide a vital food source for many insects, which then encourages more birds to your pond and garden.

Many Butterflies will visit your water garden if native plants and wild flowers are allowed their domain!

Midsummer Magic at Bealtaine 002Butterflies that are first to hatch here at Bealtaine Cottage is the Orange Tip, and though it will feed from a range of plants it only lays its eggs on Ladys Smock.

Ladys Smock is one of the wild flowers that grace the wet conditions in the Bog Garden.

Midsummer Magic at Bealtaine CottageIt is really vital that we do all we can to protect  native habitats, for as these are threatened it becomes more important to provide alternative safe havens for birds, insects, Bees and native plants within gardens. 

Bealtaine Cottage is also on YouTube…with over 120 videos about Permaculture, planting, growing and living.

Careful Watchfulness in a Permaculture Garden

A garden is a grand teacher.

It teaches patience and careful watchfulness; it teaches industry and thrift; above all it teaches entire trust.

– Gertrude Jekyll 1843-1932

Lilac in the front garden in April of last year.

There’s a great promise of an even better show this year from the look of the buds!

And just a few feet away from the Lilac tree is the Kanzan Flowering Cherry…again, this is from last April and the promise this year looks good!

There is something so very joyous about seeing blossom in the Spring-time. These gardens at Bealtaine Cottage are all-year round gardens, planted to surprise and delight during all four seasons.

There is no spot of ground, however arid, bare or ugly, that cannot be tamed into such a state as may give an impression of beauty and delight.

– Gertrude Jekyll

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Can there be anything more delightful in a garden than edible flowers?

Chives is one of my favourites and is perennial, so there’s no fuss…just plant and watch it spread every year!

A garden is never so good as it will be next year” – Thomas Cooper

I am trying not to run ahead of myself too much so am limiting my curiosity to looking only at the April album from last year…this is the tunnel last April and as I look I can see just how much difference a few days can make at this time of year!

One of the most delightful things about a garden is the anticipation it provides.

– W.E. Johns, creator of ‘Biggles’, 1893-1968

I read all the “Biggles,” books as a child, being that the local library must have received a donation of the entire collection! 

By the lower pond in the Bog Garden…as I drove down the lane-way this evening there was a heavy flapping of wings as two ducks made their heavy ascent from the surface of the water off into the darkening sky.

The Easiest to Grow Vegetables and Fruit from Bealtaine Cottage

Potatoes.
Last year I grew them successfully on straw and manure spread on the ground on top of cardboard.
The ground was in perfect condition afterwards for digging in a new Rhubarb bed.

Swiss Chard.
A  cut and come again crop.
It just keeps on giving!
www.bealtainecottage.com 007Here it is growing outdoors during the winter.
The frost may set it back but it grows again quickly from the root.
Swiss Chard in the tunnel today...Ruby Chard

Swiss Chard in the tunnel today…Ruby Chard

Eat young leaves as salad or
cook.
You can sow directly into the soil, but I prefer to start almost everything off in pots to give them some strength to resist the slugs!
Dark Ruby Chard has over-wintered well in the tunnel

Dark Ruby Chard has over-wintered well in the tunnel

The stalks are marvellously coloured and can be white, as above, yellow, red, and orange, so they can look great in flower beds too!

www.bealtainecottage.com

Beetroot grows easily and stays in the ground over winter, so can be harvested without fuss.
If left in the ground until the following spring, you will be able to harvest some young leaves from the plant too.
Great in Juices too!
www.bealtainecottage.com 029Parsley…a biennial, so will over-winter perfectly and not be set back by frost if protected just a little, like above, using an old bottom-less bread tin.
 

Pumpkins…grow the same as Butternut Squash…the more enriched the soil,  the bigger they grow…so, watch out! 

Pumpkin and Butternut Squash…I grew these from saved seeds from the previous year.
Just make sure that the soil is enriched with lots of well rotted manure, or good compost, for they are hungry plants!
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Apples…invest in a few apple trees…fruit trees will never let you down! I have planted around forty fruit trees of all varieties here at Bealtaine Cottage.
permaculture at Bealtaine Cottage 019
When in blossom, fruit trees are a wonderful source of food for the Bees…
harvesting blackcurrantsBlackcurrants…the gardens at Bealtaine are infested with them!
I have grown all of my Blackcurrant bushes from seed or cuttings!
I have a surplus of Blackcurrant cuttings at the moment and these are offered for sale at this link…
https://bealtainecottage.com/seeds-for-sale/
 
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Bealtaine Cottage now offers a subscription website and seeds for sale at minimal cost to supporters, (this keeps me solvent, pays the mortgage and sometimes a little more)…keeping the main website free for all, along with a NO ADS Youtube channel, Podcast and FaceBook sites, all listed above.

 

“…the care of the earth is our most ancient and most worthy and, after all, our most pleasing responsibility. To cherish what remains of it, and to foster its renewal, is our only legitimate hope.”
Wendell Berry

Permaculture Planting at Bealtaine Cottage, Ireland

Over the last few months I have been gradually clearing the compost heaps…5 in total.

The ground under the heaps is in lovely condition, as you can imagine, so I decided to use this area to plant potatoes into tyres.

The chitted potatoes are pushed deep into the earth and the tyre place on top, then gradually filled with compost, from, you guessed right, the nearby heap.

It’s a bit like growing potatoes in the heap, but they’re much easier to find!

There’s quite a few chitted potatoes left, so I am doing the same thing in whatever spaces I can find!

Last year, many of my neighbours lost potatoes to the blight, but mine came through just fine.

I think this may be due to planting the potaoes irregularly…here and there, with no uniform rows, so blight does not get the chance to spread!

Crops in the tunnel are coming along well, with all the sunshine!

The stone edges hold the heat of the sun and release it at night…the perfect passive solar collectors.

 As I walk in the gardens, there is the most tremendous hum of bees and insects…going in a mad frenzy around all the Ribes blossom!

As you can see from the pics, the weather today is marvellous! The temperature is 21c…!

Just a small section of the Ribes…this grow like a weed here and is a stunning bush, windbreak, source of kindling for the stove and, of course, restaurant for the bees!

Early summer! It’s hot in the gardens, so lunch will be served outside!

Sunday Funday and Sarah Jessica Parker…

Yesterday was a hot, summery day and there was nothing else for it but to head to the beach…we made for the strand at Mullaghmore…Flo in tow! She is on her lead here due to the fact that she spent half the day running off, trying to attach herself to other people, as only the “littlest Hobo,” knows how!

Mullaghmore Harbour sits on the south side of Donegal Bay…a stunningly beautiful stretch of wild Atlantic coastline!

For those of you familiar with, “Sex in the City,” it may come as no surprise for you to know that Sarah Jessica Parker owns a holiday cottage in Donegal and is familiar with this beautiful bay.

Looking up towards the Hills of Donegal…
Today, Monday, is yet another fabulous day!

A few facts about Donegal Bay…Donegal Bay (Bá Dhún na nGall in Irish) is an inlet (or bay) in the northwest of Ireland.

Three counties – Donegal to the north and west, Leitrim and Sligo to the south – have shorelines on the bay, which is bounded on the west by the Atlantic Ocean.

The town of Donegal and the River Eske lie at the head of the bay.


Donegal Bay is Ireland’s largest bay, and also contains Ulster’s highest (and Europe’s sixth-highest) sea cliffs at Slieve League, which tower 1972 ft (601 m) above sea level.

Permaculture Flowers in a Cottage Garden

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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A Dog’s Life

I lit the fire in the bedroom yesterday evening as there was a chill on the night air. This is a deceptive time of year, when the evenings can end up being much colder than during the winter!

It wasn’t long before Jack snook in and laid his head against the bed in a pleading sort of way… “can I just hang around and enjoy the fire too?”

Now, it is hard to resist this friendly mutt, even though he yawns and makes scary, and sometimes funny, noises!

I gave him a bath today, as the sun was shining and the air was warm, for I noticed he was a bit pongy as he warmed himself in front of the fire…

What a difference a bath makes!

Permaculture Harvests in Ireland

Plum Harvest

Plums from the one of the Plum Trees here on the land. 

Plums are easy to grow in Ireland as they are related to the Blackthorn tree, the one that fruits Sloes.

Rowan berries, collected from trees near my local town, Carrick. Foraging can be a very fruitful and worthwhile undertaking in the country, bringing in a bountiful harvest!

mushrooms and rosehips 002

Hips from the Rosa Rugosa growing at Bealtaine Cottage…these are brimming with Vitamin C and make a delicious syrup, as well as magnificent wine, which has the body of a good Sherry!

Home-made wines are very easy to make…simply observing the “clean” rule. Mind you, if you do have a slip-up, the wine can be turned into a delicious fruit vinegar…which makes lovely and unusual presents at Christmas!

Apple jellies and Rowan jellies…delightful garden produce!

The Apple harvest at Bealtaine has been consistently good, producing more apples than what I can use!

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture pumpkins

Pumpkins and Tomatoes grow well in the tunnel. Pumpkins will store for 6 months and more in a cool pantry, as happens here.

Bealtaine Cottage June 2012 005

The so-called “poor,” land produces hundreds of pounds of Blackcurrants…which I turn into jams, chutney, wine and delicious cordial.

These are just some of the wonderful foods that can be grown on poor land, on a north-facing slope, in the west of Ireland, using Permaculture! 

Unlike so many of the books that tell you what can and cannot be grown, I simply plant it and see…and have yet to be disappointed!

Photos from a Permaculture Smallholding

Lavender drying on the back door of my cottage

Certainly one way of keeping the flies out of the cottage here at Bealtaine!

A permaculture floor, using waste tile fragments…Bealtaine Cottage.

Growing lettuce in a tyre at the start of the Bealtaine Project…

Missy in her wild and inquisitive youth!

Dawn at Bealtaine Cottage

The moon over Bealtaine.

Close planting here means no weeds, no chemicals and a permaculture lushness that is at the centre of life here at Bealtaine.