I grow over fifty different herbs here at Bealtaine Cottage.
All are grown organically, in keeping with everything I do here.
Lavender grows in profusion in the tunnel and dry areas of the gardens.
Wild Mint grows in the Bog Garden.
Oregano grows wild in the gravel driveway…one reason among thousands why NOT to tarmac!
The amount of self-seeding that occurs in the driveway is amazing!
I have taken lots of Lavender Cuttings and potted them on, so there will many more plants for next year.
It is important to keep a well stocked Nursery Garden…this enables continued expansion.
The garden has begun it’s slow transitional journey into Autumn.
By the Celtic Calendar, this is the beginning of the second month, and some plants already display that.
The Birch trees are colouring into autumn hues, the Willow hangs low in the early morning frost and harvesting food is well under way.
Hazel nuts are ripening, Rosehips are ready and apples are being harvested.
The hips of the Rosa Canina, or DogRose, rich in Vitamin C and ready to collect to make syrup.
They can also be used in Hedgerow Jelly and Jams.
I planted several of these bushes in various locations around my smallholding and they have all grown and fruited well, though sunlight is important, so shady locations are not that good…semi-shade is tolerable though!
The fruits of the Rosa Rugosa, rich in vitamin C.
These were collected by people during W.W.2. and delivered to the local collection points for the Ministry of Food where they were turned into Rosehip Syrup and given out to families with children as Vitamin C Syrup.
Isn’t it amazing just what governments can do for their people when they have to!
It’s worth looking at the history of the Ministry of Food during this time…some of the recipes produced by them are incredible…!
There are many hundreds of metres of pathways in this garden, connecting many different types of growing areas and gardens, all of them organic and all permacultured for ease of managing.
One of the paths, leading from a compost area in several directions…the orchard, the east garden, the cottage and if you turn right, along the north bank.
At this time of year, when there is so much to cut back, I use all the waste to mulch within that area.
The mulch, as it degrades, feeds the plants and builds up the soil.
It’s amazing how much is uncovered and revealed when this cut back happens.
The paths are all grass and are mown weekly…grass being used as a harvest food for the nearest trees and shrubs.
Did you know that there are over 300 species of Willow?
In wet ground, Willow only has to be inserted into the earth and it will take root.
Bees love Willow!
It makes great wood for burning in the stove, with just a little seasoning, depending on the thickness.
Baskets can be made from it, as can all kinds of decorations.
There is an archaelogical site in Antrim, recently uncovered that shows that the Ancient Celts used Willow and Wattle to create dwellings.
It is also a sacred tree, featuring in both the Celtic and Saxon Chronicles as such.
Here in the Bog garden, by the lower pond, this Willow provides wildlife food and habitat as well as structure and form.
It’s one of my favourite trees.
Willow lends itself easily to Permaculture, feeding so many insects and birds as to be totally amazing!
For the gardener it is a growing medium without restraints, bending into arches, fedges and garden sculpture.
Lughnasa fades into Samhain and there is magic in the air!
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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