So Grateful

Mother Earth is thriving. Her abundance is nothing less than magnificent. Everywhere on this land She thrives. I have found a great many Cherry Trees She has seeded and grown over the past two years, but have remained hidden in the general mayhem of Spring and Summer, only to be discovered this year as Spring seemed to struggle and lag behind, so allowing me to see. It is simply delightful to behold. The mother tree was planted by me a mere 13 yrs ago and already she has brought forth abundance. This Field Maple is bearing fruit this year and…

Food in the Midwinter Garden

It’s surprising just how much food is growing in the gardens of Bealtaine at this time of year, the time of scarcity…but far from it! There’s the makings of a decent salad, with Fennel, Japanese salads like Mizuna and others as well as a lovely edible garnish in the form of Pansy flowers. In other parts of the gardens, where little micro-climates exist in the form of stones and shed walls, there’s Flat-leaf Parsley and Thyme. I used Thyme in roasted potatoes yesterday…delicious! Purple Sprouting Broccoli is giving lots of florets…delicious raw or cooked and full of goodness! Then there’s…

Why Save Seed?

All seed-saving at Bealtaine Cottage helps to preserve heirloom seeds’ genetic diversity! This is Bealtaine Cottage Lunaria. This seed has adapted over twelve years to grow in difficult conditions, for as you know, it rains frequently here and the gardens are all on a north-facing slope. This is why the seed saved here, year after year, is more resilient than commercial seed, which is grown in ideal conditions for the maximum production value! Saving seed also makes one value the pollinators, especially the Bees…for without their incredible work there would not be any seed to collect!  During the 1900’s we…

Using Seaweed in the Garden

After so much rain during the past few weeks, it was a relief to have a relatively dry day! You may remember that last week I visited the Atlantic shoreline to harvest some seaweed to use on the garden. The strands to the south of Sligo town have piles of loose seaweed here and there along the beaches. Always only ever take the loose stuff…don’t pull seaweed from stones as these form habitats and are essential to the ecology of the seashore! In the end I managed about three big bags of seaweed and headed home with my foraged booty!…

Natural Gardening and No-Dig Growing

Ireland is the richest source of Celtic  myths and legends. Down through the Ages, Ireland remained remote and cut off from mainland Europe, holding onto its rich folklore and spirituality. It’s peoples worshipped all aspects of the natural world in which they recognised the Divine, in much the same way as I do here at Bealtaine Cottage. The reason for the wealth of myth and legend that pervades Ireland, today and it’s people lies not just from its isolation from mainland Europe for much of its history. Ireland remained free from pressures exerted by other cultures such as the Roman Empire. So…

As Evening Descends…

Towards the end of a perfect day at Bealtaine Cottage. The gardens are looking well tended as the evening descends. Strawberries have been potted up in hanging baskets and seedlings rescued from the gravel around the cottage and potted up. These will make fine plants for the Summer ahead! And…all the while…the birds sing! Please consider supporting Bealtaine Cottage

Garden in February (Part One)

The year in the garden is now well under way, as Mother Earth awakens in a very visible way…not that she ever slept! Coltsfoot is one of the first herbs to come into flower, for it flowers before it leafs and a very welcome sight this is! Bronze fennel, that most vigorous of herbs and also a brilliant addition to the flower garden, starts to produce tasty leaves that can be added to early Spring salads. Rocket has over-wintered well in the tunnel and forms the base ingredient. Daffodils are now up and beginning to flower. Daffodils on the hill above…

Country Cottage Journal…Beginning the Year in the Garden

Now is the time to sort out seeds and get sowing underway. January passes very quickly…we’re already halfway through! First of all, ensure all trays and pots used for sowing are scrupulously clean. No need to use chemicals for this, as soapy water, clean rinsing water and air-drying will ensure a perfect result. I have used this method for the past eleven years and it has never failed. Always use a good compost if you cannot make your own. The John Innes recipe is perfect, but can be difficult to get it all together… 2 parts sterilized loam 1 part…

Thrive

Seedlings are thriving in the tunnel. Spring is in full bloom and life is thriving at Bealtaine Cottage. There is a certain joy in the air that is spiralling outwards and upwards capturing the energy of all life. Primulas and Lady’s Mantle show off their form and colour, jostling for attention as the sun rises higher and higher in the clear blue skies above this little cottage. I love archways like this in the gardens, for there is something deeply spiritual and connective about the shape of them, joining one side of a path to another…connecting, as we’re all connected!…