The Woman Who Planted Trees

Trees at Bealtaine Cottage

Many people ask if they can visit Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture Gardens and I always try to oblige if it’s at all possible!

Young Apple tree at Bealtaine Cottage permaculture gardensSome advance notice is welcome, as life on 3 acres on one’s own can get pretty full on at times.

Front garden at Bealtaine CottageLast evening I was called by a friend, who wanted to know if she could bring a neighbour of hers to visit Bealtaine.

Deep in the permaculture gardens at Bealtaine CottageHer neighbour referred to me as “the woman who plants the trees!”

(By the way, it’s a beautiful morning as you can see from the pics!)

Trees in the pond garden at Bealtaine CottageIt’s an odd thing to do really, plant trees…so far over 900 planted!

Stream in the bog garden at Bealtaine CottageOdd, in so far as so few people get this obsessed! Trees change every aspect of one’s life.

Some of the trees planted at Bealtaine CottageAs I sit here typing this blog, the birdsong is magical and very loud!

A Cherry seed grows by an Oak tree at Bealtaine CottageMy childhood was impoverished as far as trees were concerned.

Cherry seedling and Oak sapling at Bealtaine CottageI grew up in a tiny terraced house with no garden, just row upon row of slate roofs and grey walls.

Young Chestnut tree at Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture GardensMy first encounter with trees was at school.

Bealtaine Cottage IrelandEntering the gates of the Convent school grounds, greenery enveloped me.

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture GardensMy childhood was transformed by the gardens of Loreto Convent.

Permaculture Paradise at Bealtaine CottageI recently returned and collected seed from the convent grounds in Omagh, to grow on here at Bealtaine Cottage.

Chestnut and Sycamore saplings at bealtaine Cottage Permaculture GardensVisitors bring me trees.

Willow arch into the Fairy woodland at Bealtaine CottageSubscribers to this blog send me tree seeds, from all over the world.

Blossom on a Rowan tree planted in the Fairy Wood at Bealtaine CottageI dream about trees.

A Copper Beech and wild rose at Bealtaine CottageI have left instructions to be buried in a woodland…let a tree rise from me!


  1. I love trees too! I do however want to caution people from taking trees from one area to another. I grew up in south Africa where Port Jacksons were imported from Australia. The trees have taken over and are now an invasive species. Even in that way, we need to respect the earth and not think we always know what is best.

      • If the species finds perfect conditions and has no enemies, it can take over because it bullies its way through. In the Western Cape for instance, pine trees have been planted among the indigenous plants. The vynbos needs uses fire in its cycle of regeneration. The pine trees trees however burn at a much higher temperature and are therefore destroying the indigenous bush – and this is not where a vacuum was created. I do agree that where a vacuum is created (i.e. mono-culture) we do have species invading and taking over. I do admire the work you do at the cottage and would love to see it with my own eyes too 🙂

        • The reality is that Man has hacked and burnt away the forests all over the world. Here in Ireland the EU is PAYING farmers to plant monoculture spruce as a cash crop. My land is the only land in the area planted with multi species and deciduous trees. but then i have not taken the 30 pieces of silver, because I care for Mother Earth…oh the irony!

  2. I too grew up in a harsh environment, commission (council) area of Australia and dreamt of living within nature. Last property ( 5 acres)was completed transformed by my planting, our current property (20 acres) is on the way, unfortunately I wont be around to see it mature. My dream would be to plant out all the broad acre farming paddocks with mother nature and we go back to small food bowl farming. Just imagine the bird life if we did…. Utopia

  3. My husband and I have fenced off approximately 3 acres from our other land and I have planted many trees and my husband has helped as well. But the trees are my passion. I grew up in London in a council flat and could never wait to get outside and play and climb a tree, regardless of my fear of heights. I emigrated to Australia in 1970 and am now 67 and only yesterday planted a dwarf red grapefruit tree in the second chook pen my husband built for me. They are quite big pens so need a bit of shade from the Australian sun. I hope to keep planting trees until I depart this planet.

  4. I have just recently found your blog. Bealtaine Cottage looks like such a wonderful garden. We live on 13 acres of mostly White Pine and Balsam fir in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, USA. Be are working towards building a more permaculture based homestead here. Of course, the forest will remain forest as the wildlife claim it as home, as well they should. Thank you for being an inspiration for many.

  5. I adore trees , but sadly my garden is not big enough for big trees, but I have got 3 fruit trees and have just bought a crabapple tree which is budding up nicely. I can’t wait to see the beautiful blossom. I get so excited when I see an email from Beltaine Cottage and get comfortable to read what’s going on. Thank you Colette xxx

  6. Lovely!…I always said if I ever married ,I would marry a tree and when I die I would love to be placed beside a mossy log and become one with the forest Mother Earth again 🙂 ahh….peace love grow!

  7. I’m currently nursing tiny cedar trees on the hill. I don’t own the land so have very limited say about what can be done but I will keep watering until the rains come back. I bought the house and lease the land but have a small forest behind me that won me over. I’m looking for a tree without invasive roots for the front. The last tree that was there was growing under the house and driveway and into the water lines. There is only 8 ft to the street so it must be compact. More research. I love that you are planting so many trees when so many are still clear cutting them down. ;(

  8. Have you read “The Man who Planted Trees” by Jean Giono? a wonderful story about a man who saved the Durance valley in southern France by planting trees,between the first and second world wars.Do you read french ?

      • I don’t know if it has been translated.I’ll try and find a copy for you if it has .It was made into a wonderful animated film ,drawn in pastels ,about 25 +years ago narrated by Christopher Plummer.

    • The main trees planted are Birch, Oak, Sycamore, Beech, Maple, Alder, Rowan and Ash. Masses more ‘unusual ones’ and over 40 fruit trees. About 400-500 are grown from seed.

  9. dear Colette, keep planting!
    trees are such wonderful creatures and have so much to teach us…
    (i have deactivated my twitter account on impulse today, but i shall be following you through this blog!)

  10. I smile at the thought that I have planted cherry trees in every garden I’ve had, but barely had a cherry, due to the birds, particularly blackbirds, who will strip the whole tree bare. I have had the odd small pot of jam, so I can’t complain.

  11. We currently have to balance the impulse to plant trees (always want more fruit trees) with the children’s desire to have an open grassy space to run around. Maybe later in life I’ll turn the lawn into an orchard…

  12. Wow, 900 trees! How fabulous. I too love trees and am trying to find ways of planting more on my tiny plot. I love to look out of my window into their boughs and see the birds enjoying them too (sheltering, feeding and singing). The thought of a life without trees is unbearable to me. Keep up the good work! 🙂


Your comments are welcome!