Love in a (not so) Cold Climate


With the back door wide open and the birds singing out a chorus more resonant of Spring than Winter, welcome to Sunday morning at Bealtaine Cottage in the west of Ireland!

Despite the mild Winter, snow has fallen and added a seasonal touch to the landscape…in fact it remains on the mountains to the north of the cottage and here and there on banks and ditches.


I’ve been very busy in the gardens since the end of December, pruning hard, cutting back, washing the tunnel, cleaning pots and generally trying to stay ahead of the work that will suddenly seem oppressive at the start of Spring!


If previous years are anything to go by, the Spring will be very short and Summer will make itself known in mid to late March!

Shocking I know, but that is the measure of it!

So, for a gardener like myself there’s nothing else for it but to adapt!

Seeds are sown in the propagator and compost will be mixed today in preparation for the potting on that is to come in the next few weeks!

It’s a case of just getting on with it as best I can!


There is a distinct difference in the shadow patterns as the outline of the roof of the cottage falls beneath the tree tops…


“Much of the oxygen we breathe comes from plants that died long ago. We can give thanks to these ancestors of our present-pay foliage, but we can’t give back to them. We can, however, give forward. When we are unable to return the favor, we can pay it forward to someone or something else. Using this approach, we can see ourselves as part of a larger flow of giving and receiving throughout time. Receiving from the past, we can give to the future. When tackling issues such as climate change, the stance of gratitude is a refreshing alternative to guilt or fear as a source of motivation.”
Joanna Macy & Chris Johnstone


Sowing and planting, growing tiny trees in pots of hope, tending Mother Earth with love…brings me joy.

Sitting here, with the back door open in the middle of January, may be a cause for concern, but it is over-ridden by the call of Mother Earth from outside.

And for the many visitors to Bealtaine Cottage this year, there will be small pots of hope to take away…

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  1. Some of my ancestors came from Scotland and Ireland and I would love to see those countries. A young friend and her military husband are being sent to England for a while. I told her about you and hopefully she and her husband will be able to visit your cottage and I can see it by proxy!

  2. How amazing that the air we now breathe we owe to trees of long ago… and knowing that the trees we plant now will be providing fresh air for generations to come gives one a special sense of being part of the continuity of life. The altitude of gratitude is indeed a desirable place from which to live our lives. I am so grateful that mother nature has brought a continual blessing of rain to N. California this winter so far. We are expecting a big front in this afternoon and evening and every drop is held dear for our trees. Thank you Colette for sharing that beautiful view from your back door. Blessings to you always.

  3. Colette, While understanding how busy you are and how much time it takes to post your lovely blog, I have still been really missing your usually frequent posts. Thank you for this one! Again, it’s beautiful!
    Hard to believe it is still so green in the west of Ireland while all around me is still locked in snow (and will be for quite a while). Although we in central Alaska have had a much milder winter than most years, it’s lovely this time of year to see green plants and open doors. Today I will be grateful for my short visit to Bealtaine. Thank you.

    • I do post lots of pics and words on Bealtaine Cottage Magical Gardens on Facebook…are you familiar with the site? I promise a post on Bealtaine Cottage Good Life tomorrow…promise!

  4. Wow, it is very spring like there! Despite the wetter year we are having, not all of the trees have lost their leaves yet, and at the local grocer’s the flowering pear is just finishing a bloom. We did have a few light frosts but is just wasn’t enough.

  5. The attitude of gratitude makes all the difference in every aspect of life! Glad to see you put this into your article. Exemplary work!

Your comments are welcome!