This was poor agricultural land, north facing and very wet.
Certainly a challenge!
One pair of hands and a permaculture plan, turned this into…
Eight years and one pair of female hands later…yes, I wore gloves, so they’re not all hard and gnarled!
Seriously though, the miracle is simply this…Plant, Mulch, Plant, Mulch and keep making the compost!
Of course as everything you’ve planted starts to grow, there is no shortage of material for the compost heap or for mulching.
Also, the more planting one does, the more birds and insects make the garden their home, so fertility is increased.
The grass and earth had encroached onto the back of the cottage, making it damp and miserable inside.
The only time that heavy machinery was involved here at the beginning of this permaculture project, was in clearing all of this and spreading a gravel driveway and courtyard, digging drains and digging out the two ponds.
That done, all the work since then has been carried out by myself only, by hand!
The back of the cottage faces south and so is a sun-trap.
Building the veranda was a practical measure, allowing a dry space that linked the gardens to the cottage.
Here is the view from the front door of Bealtaine Cottage, taken at the start.
Below is the view today.
The land is planted with over 750 trees and many, many shrubs and plants.
It is now a self-sustaining small-holding, requiring the minimum of work and the maximum of production and delight.
Permaculture requires little money to establish.
Recycling was a key element in my plan.
I collected up and used what other people threw away.
Ireland is now in severe recession.
Many of the people who once threw things away are now trying to get by in a decimated economy.
There is a different way.
A better way.
It only requires a change of direction and will transform your entire life!
14 years of Goddess Permaculture at Bealtaine Cottage, West of Ireland...drop in, power up!
Colette O'Neill is a writer, photographer and teacher who has devoted the past 14 years to turning 3 acres of derelict land into a woodland sanctuary for all life, planting over 1,100 trees in the process.
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