Posted in biodiversity, Birds, Cats, Fairies, Folklore, Garden, Inspiration, Ireland, Permaculture, Woodland

Permaculture Planting…The Importance of Trees

Following on from the short video on Willow and using willow in the garden as living willow fedges and structures, here’s a short video on trees… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OBu_fP82VDY&list=UUHkXJ9wsrdPEpzb-KMgmt-A&index=1&feature=plcp

Posted in Cats, Climate, Country Living, Earth, Life, Permaculture, Smallholding, Uncategorized

Frogs, Spawn and Climate Change in January!

Willow continues to be harvested for basket making this Spring.

Today is yet another mild day, warm for the month of January!

The real unseasonal surprise was yet to be found…further down the gardens…

As I walked down through the gardens towards the ponds, I heard frogs, croaking…
now, this has got to be a first…

Frog’s spawn…it’s hard to believe that this is happening so soon in the year, still in the third week of January 2012!

“Is it all worth it? If we do our best to heal the Earth and make our place in her a sustainable one, is there a good chance that we will succeed?…to my mind that’s the wrong question. Even if we could answer it – and we can never know anything about the future for certain, it would beg the question How do I want to live my life? So my answer to the question..is that I want to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem”.
Patrick Whitefield ‘Earth Care Manual’

Standing stones and bamboo today in the Bealtaine gardens.
Moss is slowly creeping over the top of the stone.

It was with the Industrial Revolution, as society plunged ever more eagerly into the conquest of material riches and bent all its energies to the accumulation of goods, that material poverty became a major problem. Obviously, this meant abandonment or downgrading of spiritual values, virtue, etc. To share or not to share in the increase of the collective wealth—this was the Number One question. It was the desire to acquire wealth that prompted the poor to start fighting. And the rich were hypocrites when they accused the poor (who were no longer interested in “spiritual values”) of materialism. For the rich had given the example and set society on the acquisitive path. The great business of the whole society and therefore of all its members, was to increase consumption of goods. But obviously, the moment this is the first objective, the ideal, lack of goods, is the principal drama.

-Jacques Ellul (1912-1994), Violence, 1969

Posted in Abundance, Animals, Bealtaine Cottage, Country Living, Eco-Living, Frugal Living, Garden, Gardening, Permaculture, photography, Self-Sufficiency, Smallholding, Uncategorized

A Life in the Country ~ Today at Permaculture Cottage

The hens are out foraging today.

Autumn is a good time to let the girls out to roam freely all over the smallholding…and roam they do!

And Man created the plastic bag and the tin and aluminum can and the cellophane wrapper and the paper plate, and this was good because Man could then take his automobile and buy all his food in one place and He could save that which was good to eat in the refrigerator and throw away that which had no further use. And soon the earth was covered with plastic bags and aluminum cans and paper plates and disposable bottles and there was nowhere to sit down or walk, and Man shook his head and cried:  “Look at this Godawful mess.”  ~Art Buchwald, 1970

Bealtaine Cottage 031

Beech planted with Bamboo. 

Close planting is one of the ways to keep unwanted weeds at bay!

If you look closely you can see Cotoneaster planted to the right.

It is easier to thin plants out than wait for them to grow!

Bealtaine Cottage 004

In the true style of the Economic Terrorist I grew all these trees from seed.

That’s what I love about growing and gardens and Nature…there is no consumerism and everything continues to grow.

The gap in our economy is between what we have and what we think we ought to have – and that is a moral problem, not an economic one.

The poverty of our century is unlike that of any other.  It is not, as poverty was before, the result of natural scarcity, but of a set of priorities imposed upon the rest of the world by the rich.  Consequently, the modern poor are not pitied… but written off as trash.  The twentieth-century consumer economy has produced the first culture for which a beggar is a reminder of nothing.  ~John Berger

Testament to Dad…

My father died in April of last year.

Dad loved this smallholding and bought me a sack full of bare-rooted saplings to plant here.

All the Beech trees, including this Purple Beech are a testament to his love for Nature and the environment we make within.

As these trees turn marvellous shades of reds and browns, I smile and remember my father…

Bealtaine Cottage 005

Forethought and temperance are the virtues which produced thrift, and with thrift the economic progress of society.  And those are the virtues which today are gravely compromised.  ~Adriano Tilgher


Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Beltane, Garden, Gardening, Inspiration, Ireland, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Thoughts, Trees, Uncategorized

Permaculture Cottage ~ Inspired Ideas for Gardeners

8am this morning. The steps that lead down to the front garden…and on the tree, a weather-proof mirror and some bamboo chimes. These make the stsrt of the garden walk an interactive experience for all. Few can resist looking at the reflections of the garden behind them, in the mirror, or shaking the chimes. The melodious sounds follow as one descends the stone steps!

This small mirror is made from a lightweight metal and has been wired onto the tree…which is an Alder that has been pollarded to remain compact and umbrella shaped. Alders are fast growing and results can be achieved rapidly…in less than 3 years in this case!

White Buddleia and Bamboo form a natural gateway into another small garden at Bealtaine. The table is an old cable reel, disguarded by the electric company. There is a display of large shells on top, that would otherwise just be collecting dust indoors!

Another naturally shaped path and gateway, marked with an old piece of driftwood, hammered into the ground and topped off with another indoor ornament, of which I had too many! Now, scattered throughout the gardens here at Bealtaine and better appreciated!

Avoid straight lines where you can and plant in clumps with edges that can be rounded off easily using a mulch…I use grass clippings as this also feeds the soil. Place pieces of sculpture where you can…in this case an old fountain, now used as a planter with sedums. Sedums require NO looking after at all!

Another idea for a planter…stones, encircled and topped out with soil, then simply planted into. In this case, Hypericum.

Just a few ideas, but food for thought for lots of your own. And bear in mind that the best are recycled!

Posted in Abundance, Beltane, Gaia, Garden, Gardening, Inspiration, Ireland, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Smallholding, Summer, Uncategorized

Permaculture Cottage…Groups of Plants and Jack….

Jack has settled into Bealtaine very well and now runs around the cottage playing with anything he can steal…usually one of my socks, scarves or shoes…

Highly scented Buddleia, drooping under their own weight, hang down after the storms of recent days.

No butterflies as the weather has been so bad recently…hoping all that will change at the weekend when warmer days are promised!

Intense permaculture planting of Bamboo, Spirea, Horse Chestnut, Buddleia, Dogwood and Greengage, bullying and pushing weeds away from them…

More intense planting of Gunnera Manicata, Cherry and Ribes.

The permaculture gardens here at Bealtaine Cottage have lots of rain and like to pretend to be a rainforest!

Little Gatherings…

Hypericum, Sedge, Pine and Beech, with Michaelmas Daisies coming slowly into flower, rather too early I think!

The tall pink plumes of the Spirea and the long lasting flowers of the Lysimachia Punctata make a lovely show despite the rain and wind!