Permaculture Food Forest at Bealtaine Cottage

Here at Bealtaine Cottage, the use of layers are one of the tools used to design functional ecosystems that are both sustainable and of direct benefit to the creation of a truly functioning permaculture food system..

As the ecosystem matures, the developing relationship between its component parts: trees, bushes, plants, soil, ground-cover, animals, birds and insects is integral to the high productivity of the area.

Because plants grow to different heights, a diverse community of life is able to grow in a relatively small space, as each layer is stacked one on top of another.

(One of the many apple trees last year)

This becomes recognized as a Food Forest.

In this short video, I explain a little of how it works…


  1. Hi Colette. Everything looks so beautiful and now I have another question. We are just planting a forest garden. Usually, gardening advice is to leave space for plants for them to grow and spread out and to ensure they get enough nutrition from the soil. How do you balance this with planting close to prevent weeds growing up. Just how much space does a fruit bush need? How much space does a tree need? Do you practise any shamanic techniques to encourage your garden to grow?

    Many thanks, blessings to all

    • I love to walk around my trees and bushes, so make lots of paths and plant alongside would be my advice. Space is dictated by the plant or tree as it grows and many will remain deliberately small just to fit in! I am reminded of a tree growing in a yard in Omagh. It grew for decades in an old tea chest, fitting in as it needed to! I don’t allow much space at all, cutting back or coppicing as I need to!
      As for shamanic techniques, well, I appreciate that all life in whatever form is connected, it’s heart blood passing through the centre…the Divine. I love nature and remind it so!

      • Thanks for quick reply. I agree with your sentiments. That’s a great tip as well, to put in paths and plant along them because I would have thought of paths last of all. Thank you. Terri x

Your comments are welcome!