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!
Aquilegia, now growing all over the permaculture gardens and driveway of Bealtaine Cottage, from its beginnings here 8 years ago, with a handful of seed, saved from a some flowers growing in a garden in North London.
The time is near…Mayday, known as Bealtaine here in Ireland. It is pronounced “Be Al Tan Ah”
Irish mythology marks the beginning of May as the the start of the summer.
This was heralded in with the Fire Festival at Bealtaine.
Great bonfires would mark a time of purification and transition.
There was the hope of a good harvest later in the year, and celebrations were accompanied with rituals to protect the people from any harm by otherworldly spirits. Cattle would be driven through the dying embers of the great bonfires, to protect them from disease.
The Ancient Races who constructed Newgrange in Ireland aligned their monuments to the major solar events.
These were the Winter Solstice, the Spring Equinox, the Summer Solstice and the Autumn Equinox.
The solar year was further divided to mark the half way points between the major solar events giving the cross quarter days of Imbolc, Bealtaine, Lughnasadh and Samhain.
Click on the link below for today’s video from Bealtaine Cottage
Gunnera Manicata in the garden today is beginning to unfurl it’s leaves from under the cover of last year’s leaves which have protected the crown of the plant over the cold, winter months.
There is a complex eco-system at work here, under the decaying leaves of last summer
The eco-system is a complex web linking plants, animals humans and every other life form in what we call the “biosphere.”
Many aspects of this early Spring call to mind my trip to Romania in 2002.
I spent ten weeks in that beautiful country and it was there that I made up my mind to return to Ireland and a simpler life in the country!
Romania is a stunningly, beautiful country and it’s people are wonderful.
I stayed with the Pancs family in Arad and travelled to Borsa in the north of the country as well as many towns and villages in between.
At this time of the year in the west of Ireland, I recall the advent of Spring as I drove from the far north of Romania, near the Ukraine border, down into the south and Arad, near the border with Hungary…very fond memories indeed!
Daffodils continue to open at Bealtaine…
The daffodils have bloomed all over Bealtaine this year, starting way back in January!
The very mild winter has had a positive effect on all the plants and trees here, with many coming into bloom very early indeed!
As I type this there is a plethora of birdsong outside the cottage.
This is a variety of Willow that I am unsure of in terms of name…it has red stems as you can see. Any enlightenment would be good!
Sweet, little, wild Primroses, chancing their luck by growing in the centre of the driveway! Each Spring their number increases as Bealtaine Cottage remains chemical and pollutant free!
Photinia, or Red Robin is at it’s best right now as the new leaves make a show of themselves!
And so the beginning of another week at Bealtaine Cottage…it promises dry weather and lots of tasks to be completed before the time passes on into summer…for that may be just around the corner!