A Message from the Master of Relativity

There are many flowers that are great for attracting and keeping bees in your garden.

Most of the berry bearing shrubs and trees are essential for the welfare of the bees.

What is a garden without bees?

Just four years… That’s how long Albert Einstein reportedly said the
human race would last in a world without bees. For the master of
relativity, the equation was relatively simple: no more bees = no more
people. ~ Valentine Warner

There is a worldwide problem concerning bees…the bee population is being decimated and people are becoming concerned…no bees=no food, simple as that!

A survey by the British Beekeepers’ Association in May 2010 revealed their members had lost 19% of their colonies (the population that inhabits a hive) in the previous year alone.

Why is this happening?

Well my own take on the problem concerns monoculture…something we should all be concerned with and striving against!

Where monoculture exists, Nature struggles.

Monoculture requires chemicals, Nature struggles.

  Farmers spray chemicals, Nature struggles.

A terrible loop of destruction is fixed into Nature and world governments are complicit with this decline in the bee population!

Are people blind?

Is science operating with a blindfold on?

I have little formal training in the field of horticulture, yet I am aware of the need to encourage and keep bees on my 3 acres.

Even planting willow like this arch above, creates food for the bees.

Planting for the bees is as important as growing food for myself!

In fact, the two go hand in hand!

 It is estimated that one in every three  households in Britain kept bees for honey to supplement the table right up until the 20th Century.

This is something that could, so easily be encouraged by our governments and our departments of agriculture.

As I walked in the garden earlier today,  the bees were continuing to be busy.

This Viburnum is a late flowering bush and very important for any late working bees!

We need to make their lives easier, not more difficult.

We all, including farmers, who own the majority of agricultural land, need to get out there and plant for the bees!

Permaculture Water Garden at Bealtaine Cottage

One of the first wild Orchids of the year in bloom by the lower pond this afternoon. It is growing alongside wild Sorrel.

The warm leaves of the Meadowsweet act as sun-loungers for visiting insects…

Gigantic leaves of the Gunnera provide heaps of welcome shade on a hot day like today, for all wildlife.

Heat of the sun is reflected upwards onto the banks of earth that release the heat back into the ponds at night.

A Lily Pad makes an appearance from nowhere…brought to the pond by visiting Ducks, I suspect.

Today’s video takes you down to the Lower Pond at Bealtaine…enjoy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qUEeBtMFwXQ

The Water Garden at Bealtaine Cottage

Just pictures today…of the Water Garden here at the permaculture smallholding.

This is the Lower Pond in the Bog Garden.

It is a haven for wildlife…sitting by the Lower Pond on a summer evening surrounded by dragonflies is one of the pleasures to be enjoyed after work.

The ponds, for there are two, are filled with Wild Mint and Watercress, among other delights.

Buttercups, Celandines and Meadowsweet abound.

This is one of the grass pathways leading down to the Bog Garden and the ponds.

It is planted out with Willow, Yellow Loosestrife, Monbretia and the weeds are all really flowers as you can see!

One of the wild Orchids growing in the damp ground of the Bog Garden last summer.

Gunnera Manicata growing beside one of the ponds…

Midsummer Day 004There are many wildflowers that can be included when planting an informal pond to attract wildlife.

Midsummer Magic at Bealtaine 020It is important to include Native plants as these  provide a vital food source for many insects, which then encourages more birds to your pond and garden.

Many Butterflies will visit your water garden if native plants and wild flowers are allowed their domain!

Midsummer Magic at Bealtaine 002Butterflies that are first to hatch here at Bealtaine Cottage is the Orange Tip, and though it will feed from a range of plants it only lays its eggs on Ladys Smock.

Ladys Smock is one of the wild flowers that grace the wet conditions in the Bog Garden.

Midsummer Magic at Bealtaine CottageIt is really vital that we do all we can to protect  native habitats, for as these are threatened it becomes more important to provide alternative safe havens for birds, insects, Bees and native plants within gardens. 

Bealtaine Cottage is also on YouTube…with over 120 videos about Permaculture, planting, growing and living.

Biodiversity in the Garden and How to Achieve it!

Mowing the paths this morning in preparation for the visit of 19 permaculture students this Wednesday.

It should be a busy day!

The grass had grown quite high over the past few weeks as I was unable to get out to cut it because of the continual rain.

I went slow due to the amount of frogs in the grass and because it was still wet!

Planting close together allows shade and shelter to develop.

The Birch shown here, planted close-up to the Ribes, are providing shelter from the north wind, which can be cold and destructive!

You can see Kilronan Mountain in the distance.

It would be impossible for me to work 3 acres without the benefits of permaculture techniques.

I don’t do weeding except directly around vegetables!

The reality is that I simply don’t have the time for this and anyway, I find that mulching and planting takes care of the gardens more than adequately!

Small areas of lawn add interest to the gardens and allow one to look around at the plants , shrubs and flowers and to appreciate the wildlife which is absolutely integral to the health of the land and humankind on it.

This is one of the most important elements of permaculture in my view…after all there is nothing without pollinating insects!

Where would a garden be without birdsong?

Biodiversity at its best…a tiny orchid grows up alongside a young Ash sapling.

I best go back to work…nettles to pull and use as mulch!

Saturday Morning at Permaculture Cottage, Ireland.

Mum sleeps, guarded by Flo!

Mum celebrates her 81st birthday this month and is staying with us for a holiday. Flo is on permanent holiday! mum loves the animals to be close-by and finds great comfort in them. So, she sleeps contentedly on the bed, watched over by Flo, the rescue babe…it’s a joy to see them both in their shared happiness. Long life to them!

Dog Daisies, regarded as a weed, are blooming all over the west of Ireland at present. This is a clump of them near the back of the cottage. Allowed to grow each year, they will begin to form a little colony and eventually become a part of the flowering season, like these!

The apples have all set really well. These are young Bramley Cooking Apples. The recent rains will allow them to continue to grow and prosper.

Eating apples in the orchards this morning…James Grieve. So far, eleven apple trees have been planted at Bealtaine Cottage, with plans for more this year…dependant on visitors bringing presents!

Blackcurrants ripening…soon time to begin harvesting…cordials and wines will be on the top of the list to make from these this year. Since becoming Vegan I am aware of the importance of good quality food and drink and am developing a fondness for cordials. The Elderflower cordial at the moment is being snaffled by visitors, so am having to step up production! I have yet to make Blackcurrant Cordial, but am looking forward to learning and doing!

Here is the recipe for the Elderflower Cordial

It’s so very simple!
Elderflower Cordial
50g flowers
30g citric acid
1 litre water
1kilo sugar
Coll boiled water. Add Elderflowers & citric acid. Leave for about 48hours, strain, add sugar. Dissolve sugar, keep stirring. Bottle.
This recipe was given to me by a Permaculture Visitors to Bealtaine, Derek and Mary, who left me a bottle of the cordial and I was well impressed! It keeps for a year and more…if you have that much willpower! I use glass bottles, the screw top kind

This beautiful little Orchid appeared on one of the paths and I noticed it this morning.

European Monoculture Monsters…The Struggle for Biodiversity. Permaculture and Gaia.

Ferns…some of the oldest living plants in our world.

When I began the Bealtaine Permaculture Project back in 2004 there were few of these beautiful plants anywhere on this land. I remember digging one up in a woodland not far from here and planting it in the small, wannabe woodland that was to become the Fairy Dell…and yes, it is certainly magical! From then till now the population of Ferns on this smallholding has steadily increased each year…

Since the Banking Crisis broke worldwide it has become evident to me just how embedded  the corporations are with western governments and the amount of deceit and corruption that abounds within these structures. All kinds of directives come from Europe in relation to farming that, in my understanding, do nothing more than create Monoculture Monsters. To view the land as an economic farming industry is to do so at our peril…Nature WILL not tolerate what we attempt to ignore for the sake of industrialized food production and ultimately, greed.  “The world has enough for every man’s need, but not enough for every man’s greed!”

Ivy, Euphorbia, Angelica and more Orchids at Bealtaine Permaculture Smallholding, Ireland.

The Ivy hangs in 3-4 metre tendrils on a tree in the Fairy Dell…Quite Magical!Euphorbia…this wonderful perennial comes up more lush every year and transplants easily…I started with a stolen cutting and now it dominates the April/May/June garden and beyond!Angelica, now at least 7 feet tall and with a massive spread. Medieval herbalists called it ‘Herba Angelica,’ meaning  ‘Angelic Plant.’ Traditionally it is supposed to flower on the 8th of May, which is the feast of Michael the Archangel. needless to add, Angelica possesses protective qualities. The seeds add flavour to Chartreuse Liqueur!The way up out from the Fairy Dell…Orchids continue to emerge all over Bealtaine Smallholding. I was asked by the Census Enumerator the other day if I used any chemicals here…where that came from is interesting! However, I simply told him to look around…there is far too much growing evidence of NO CHEMICALS HERE!Sunlight dapples the grass under the Blackthorn trees near the tunnel. The light dances on the ground as the Fairy trees gently sway in the breeze.