The Evolution of Bealtaine Cottage…a Fifteen Year Odyssey

I shall begin with Bealtaine Cottage… The plan in the beginning was to create a garden with hundreds of trees interspersed with paths that would become a symbol of regeneration and hope in a landscape that represented one of the poorest and therefore cheapest places to create. North-facing, thin, poor soil- my first book, ‘A Cottage and Three Acres,’ details the story well. (And, by the way, the tunnel is fifteen years old with the original plastic covering…nothing special, 6mm and middle price range in case you are interested!) The plan evolved into a full Permaculture design in the first…

Resilience of The Bealtaine Project as Drought and Heatwave Ravage Ireland

Extreme weather conditions have struck once again here in Ireland. Planting over eleven hundred trees over fourteen years has meant resilience for Bealtaine Cottage. This continual onslaught of extreme weather is fast establishing itself as the new normal! From the normally mild summers of Ireland and the UK, numerous locations in the Northern Hemisphere have witnessed their hottest weather ever recorded over the past two weeks! This should be a wake-up call to plant…trees!  Only three months ago the country ground to a halt with severe snow storms and massive fall of snow in 48 hours! Now we are experiencing…

The Arrogance of Certainty

Thirteen years ago I made a decision to follow my heart and return to Ireland, with a mighty quest. I wanted to prove the cynics and naysayers wrong. I believed it was possible and doable to repair Mother Earth…at least a small part of her, whatever little piece I could afford to buy. Now, thirteen years is a short time in the scheme of things and those who have looked at the before pictures are as amazed as I am at the speed, health and abundance of her recovery! It is important to state here, for the record, that most…

Times of Insanity…Seeking Reality

I rarely dip into the outside world in terms of mainstream media, for it unnerves me! I keep myself occupied in the world as I know it…the one where I weave wreathes from Willow and Dogwood… The one where cruelty and chaos are not allowed entry! You’ll understand my terror, for that’s why you’re here…to touch base with reality! Yes, this is reality…as it was meant to be and in the world most inhabit, is not! I have always chosen this reality, both as a child living in poverty and as a mother creating sanctuary for her children in London….

A Lifeboat For Humanity

It was James Lovelock who first suggested that there would be a very few countries which would escape the worst vagaries of the oncoming Climate Change… Much of our media remains silent about the problem and there hangs an eerie silence in the air around centres of political machinations. Our extractive mentality and the demand for higher profits combine to destroy our very own habitat..this is the truth of what’s happening worldwide…we cannot escape our acquisitive nature! We appear to be caught in a vicious circle of greed versus need…and we know which one of those two is winning!  This…

Developing a Woodland from Zero

From monoculture rushy land to woodland in under twelve years. Not just any woodland, but a food forest woodland, as you can see from one of the thousand plus trees planted above…a Greengage! This is the only lawn here, enjoyed by Jack! There follows a series of forty plus photographs taken here at Bealtaine Cottage in July 2016. The Bealtaine Cottage Land Restoration Project was started in late 2004. It was a challenge for one woman with zero resources to restore what was deemed by the EU as “Poor Land”…a term I vehemently challenge! There is no such thing as “Poor Land”…

End of Empire and Climate Chaos

The greatest concern of our times is happening on a daily basis and affecting every one of us. Weather volatility is real and happening and the Ostriches in power appear impotent against the great forces of Nature. The gabbling media assault our senses with celebrity highs and lows, sport and highly edited titbits of what is happening internationally…all the while keeping away from any real conversation about the chaos that is the weather all around us and those dreaded words: Climate Change. However it is not Climate Change any more…the media have completely missed out on that conversation! It has…

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…