Winter in a Permaculture Garden…and Sam!

Awoke to frost this morning and a brilliantly clear, blue sky.

The stove had stayed lit all night, so the cottage was warm.

It’s easy to see the level of insulation in homes, looking up at roofs, as I drive to Drumshanbo on an errand.

Many of the newly built homes appear to be poorly insulated.

I took my tea outside and walked around in the sunshine…

The sheer beauty of a winter morning is stunning.

The play of winter light upon the earth is a delight to behold!

The winter stems of Spiraea colour a deep orange.

Missy followed me to the tunnel.

Her visit to the Vet’s on Monday has perked her up a bit…

Even though the covering of the tunnel is frozen, plants inside continue to flourish and will stay green and healthy for the winter.

Parsley is very healthy as it grows strong beside the water bin…an ideal micro-climate!

Washing the plastic covering on the tunnel last month allows maximum winter light through to the plants…every little helps at this time of year!

The Lemon Balm grows well and will continue all winter, unless we have extreme weather.

Introducing Sam…one very naughty little kitten!

Sam was found on Samhain, hence his name.

He had an eye infection, which is now cleared up…though he fought me every time I applied his medication!

Sam had his second vaccination on Monday and is on medication for a bad cold, though that does not stop him being this adventurous!


  1. Good to see Missy back on her paws again…..while ‘Snowcat’ Sam looks like a feisty little feline!
    Missy is hanging in there with intent! Sam is well and truly feisty!
    Blessings to you and yours

  2. Love to see cats in the garden, we have a new addition to the cat family here too.We are planning to try a winter garden next year. Currently enjoying arrugula and parsley still here on Vancouver Island. Thankyou for all your inspiration, it has me thinking a lot about how to be more sustainable here. Donna:)

    Hi Donna! Planning a winter garden can be great fun and they’re low maintenance too, if one plants Holly and low, Box hedging. That way it is easy to use shape and form as a backdrop to ice and snow and these plants hold up well!
    Blessings to you and yours,

  3. Such a wonderful post and a great surprise ending! Sam is marvelous! I have a 6 month old kitten who thinks the Christmas tree has been brought into the house just for him. So great to see Missy out and about too!

    The Christmas Tree…usually vandalized by the cats by about Christmas Eve…in tatters! They’re worth all the mischief though!
    Blessings to you and yours

  4. Again thank you for your site, the green in winter is so wonderful. For yrs I have asked my husband to get me a green house for yr round food etc, this tunnel is so wonderful, did you make it or just buy it? I could use one desperately. Glad to see Missy is feeling better, and wonderful to have a new friend (Sam). I have rescued all of my cats and I have 7 and get called the crazy cat lady, but they thank and bless me daily for my love and that is worth being called names. In doing this with so many cats it gets expensive, wondered if you have looked into vaccinating them your self, You can order a lot of the vaccines online or at live stock stores, and then only have to pay for the rabies every two yrs at the vet. Saves a bundle to do it yourself. Please let me know about these tunnels if you can, I’d be grateful.

    BB Amethyst
    Some good ideas ref the vaccinations, but the local Vet is really wonderful and I’m squeamish about needles!
    The tunnel was custom built by a friend of mine and is relatively easy to construct. We bent the metal bars into hoops on an Ash tree nearby!
    I love the tunnel and it stands up well to the wind too!
    Blessings to you and yours

  5. Colette,
    I love your hoop house and hope to get one next year. Some people love them and some people hate them. In my climate I hope to get things going earlier and grow things later. I would love to hear your thoughts on the hoop houses.
    I just love your cats. Sam is so special. White cats are suppose to be magical. I did have a magical white cat for 15 years sadly he is gone but his presence is still here. I have 6 cats now and all our rescue cats.
    I too love to take a cup of tea and walk around my small property. Yesterday I just sat and watched the birds.
    Thank you Colette for your wonderful blog.
    Thank you, Carole…it is my pleasure to write about Bealtaine Cottage and all therein!
    As for the Hoop House…If I had more money, or indeed, any money (now I’m laughing because I care not for money!), I would definitely have another Hoop House and make a little garden within, including a special place to meditate and read!
    Blessings to you and yours,

  6. Lovely to see Missy out and about for a bit. She is a special girl. Your parsley looks beautiful. We just got home and the herbs I brought inside are not that happy. Not enough light I fear. A poly tunnel next year for sure! And good to see Sam continues to find new uses for your trees. He is a rascal, isn’t he? Cheers, Patti
    Good to hear you have returned safe and sound!
    A poly tunnel is great…even if just for a few plants and sunbathing!
    Sam is my delight!
    Blessings to you both,

  7. Sam’s gorgeous! And lovely to see Missy enjoying the garden.

    Your plants look so healthy and green, and your garden is just beautiful. Agree about insulation – we used to live in an old granite cottage which had 2 wood burning stoves and we were never cold. Unfortunately had to move for work reasons and now live in a new house – quite well built for its kind, but just not the same. Hope to move again when last child leaves school in 3 years time! Am lucky, however, to live in the East Lothian countryside and to be able to walk up a hill every morning and see right across the Firth to Fife.

    I’m trying to encourage hedgehogs into my garden, but haven’t succeeded so far – any ideas? We live adjacent to open farmland (well used fields, currently full of sprouts).

    Thanks for your inspiring posts,

    Best wishes,

    I recall in London, where I lived for some time, putting cat food out for stray cats and welcoming hedgehogs each night instead! I am not too sure of how this would work in the countryside, but it’s worth a try! Where you live sounds just delightful…enjoy the midwinter!
    Blessings to you and yours

    • Thanks, I will maybe try cat food – though we have quite a few local, well-fed, pet cats who would probably enjoy an evening snack! I put out bread and milk recently and it went, but who had it I don’t know.

      If you are like me, every day around now (8am) you will be thinking of people pouring into London on the daily commute, and appreciating how lucky you are to be where you are now and not to have to do it. I was brought up in the London suburbs and worked in central London for some time – never again.

      I have a close friend who lives on a farm outside Dungarvan, Co Waterford – used to love going there for Christmas when I was single and footloose. I remember getting off the night boat at Rosslare one Christmas Eve morning & hearing some guy say “Ah, the smell of Ireland!” (sileage – but I knew just what he meant.)

      Yes, bread and milk is a good meal for hedgehogs and can entice them into your garden!
      London, like so many cities across the globe, is in decline in terms of a sustainable future. I love London, but could never envisage my living there.
      As for where I live, here in the North West of Ireland, life is simple and good. Wealth is no longer measured in terms of money or material possessions…yes, indeed, life is good!
      Blessings to you and yours

Your comments are welcome!