My Wildest Dreams

IMG_0096Bees are declining all over the world, for multiple reasons.
The most serious one in my estimation is habitat loss, fragmentation and degradation…in other words… Homelessness!
IMG_0097This is not a problem at Bealtaine Cottage, as Bee habitat and food source creation was implemented in the early years of the Bealtaine project.

IMG_0087As a direct consequence of this, the gardens at Bealtaine Cottage are thriving!

This is a part of the new Lughnasadh Garden, created especially for the bees and butterflies.

IMG_0046One only has to plant it and they will come! One only has to be a little untidy and they will create a home!

IMG_0085Sadly, many gardeners are not aware of the ways in which habitat and food source can be secured and managed for wildlife.  Here I’ve planted Blueberry bushes, and heaped mulch around them…a possible habitat! The flowers are pollinated by bees and in return I get masses of fruit!

IMG_0098However, some time spent observing Nature can be very empowering and planting near the cottage means I get to sit and watch the bees and butterflies as well as discover more about their feeding habits.

IMG_0089 In planning and planting this new garden, I observed a quiet respect for “nooks and crannies,” …stones, logs, small mounds…all areas of potential habitat. When cutting back the Jostaberry, above, I stacked the cut wood underneath the bush as potential habitat. Some species of Butterflies can over-winter, (leaf piles are particularly good!) and guess what…I got to see two butterflies in the garden at the end of March!

The sight of new and first butterflies in spring is a joyful, reaffirming vision of hope.

IMG_0080Water availability, layers of plants, trees, shrubs, a succession of flowers for the majority of the year…and much more was taken into the planning and planting of the garden. Habitat and food are the main drivers in my planning and planting.

The trending emphasis, when it comes to bee-decline, seems to be on bee-keeping rather than bee-habitat…the latter being something that each of us can do something about.

bees and peas at bealtaine cottageFor my part, I don’t keep bees…they keep me…and all are wild and free!

A Cottage and Three Acres…the book, available now.


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  1. Due to other life demands, I’ve never quite managed to have the manicured garden expected in modern day suburbia. And though I’ve always had a tinge of guilt over my so called unkempt neglected landscape, I secretly felt most comfortable in my garden which has always been rather wild. I felt no envy of the neighbors manicured lawns and neatly cut hedges. Then I found permaculture and what I called my neglectful garden became vindicated and no longer a reason for shame. This year the swallowtail butterflies came early in March in spite of the fact that our weather this year is cooler and wetter than the last 8 years. The big yellow carpenter bees have also made an appearance. As well as another little flying creature who comes every year whom I call Mr. Buzz Bee. They are very social creatures and hover near me at eye level and I talk to them. They follow me around as if curious and one landed on my hand but never bite nor stung me. I don’t know if they are a type of wasp or a type of wild bee but they hover instead of meander. And they are very social. I feel so honored to have such a connection to this tiny little being. The connection between nature and spirituality are undeniable. Thank you for your beautiful book Colette. I’ll be ordering a second copy this month to submit to my public library for review and acceptance into circulation. I encourage all of your readers to do the same in their locale. Your book is a treasure to be shared with as many people as possible including those who patronize our libraries and may not have the money to buy it. But I predict that many who find it at their local libraries, and who can afford to do so, will send for their own personal copy. Its one of those books that belong in our personal collections to keep and reread over the years..

  2. Hi Collette, well… we finally got our place! Not the place I had sent you pictures of (I wish!) but they just wanted way more than the bank was willing to loan on it, so we found another place. It’s about .64 acres. Not very big, but it’s big enough that I now have it completely fenced in and I plan to plant, plant, plant! I’ve already planted to semi-dwarf apple trees, put in one raised bed for tomatoes and peppers and some Arborvitae’s along to fence line on the side of our house for privacy from our neighbor. We have two large trees in the back.. a Sweet Gum tree and a large Oak tree. The oak looks sick though, and I fear it may have to come down lest it falls on my house. That could be disastrous!

    If it’s alright with you, I’ll share some pictures later on.

  3. What a beautiful way to begin my day, reading this blog. I was just talking to folks last night about permaculture and how it can be incorporated into every aspect of our lives. Thank you Collette!

  4. Colette you are so right, when I first started reading your blog a couple of years ago I went out and bought or took cuttings of Ribes, Buddlea, Hawthorn and 6 fruit trees and many more, planted them all …and my, lots and lots of birds , bees and butterflies. I tend to tidy up the garden when iv been out there, so this year I’m going to leave it a little wild so I can give them a lovely home on my little piece of paradise. Blessings xxx

  5. I am sure the bees and butterflies (as well as other creatures large and small love visiting your garden. We too, have found certain plants that attract bees and butterflies. We also have over 10 acres of forest where all sorts of creatures live. A dead tree can house many insects, and there are dens for our local bears. Water for the deer and moose, etc. We also don’t keep bees as I am highly allergic to bees, wasps, and other stinging cousins. I have to keep an epi-pen with me always.

Your comments are welcome!