Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Eco-Living, Eden, Garden, Gardening, Gardens, Growing Food, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Permaculture in Ireland, Permaculture Ireland, Uncategorized

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!

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Posted in Abundance, Animals, Cats, Childhood, Country Living, Earth, Garden, Inspiration, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Summer, Trees

Earth Sense

veranda at bealtaine cottageThankfully it rained for most of the night!

Not a lot of people would be happy to report that, but as a grower, the dry heat of recent weeks has been a close call for the younger plants!

potager beds at bealtaine cottage after the rainThe water barrels have filled and the well is finally sending more than a trickle to the cottage!

More peas and beans were planted out yesterday, so this rain will bed them in nicely!

potager beds and peach trees at bealtaine cottageIf it was possible to bottle the Earth Scents outside in the gardens, then I’d be a millionaire and could buy lots more land to plant trees on!

Rosa Rugosa and copper beechThere is another Earth Sense though…one we all need to tune into…one that ensures a sense of well-being.

permaculture gardens of bealtaine cottageA sense of belonging to the environment around us.

permaculture gardens and Sammy on the roofLiving in a small cottage ensures much time spend outdoors during the day, something that was common place for many people until fairly recent times.

permaculture gardens of bealtaine cottageThe advent of TV ensured more and more people lived indoors and not out.

Poppy at bealtaine cottageI recall as a child spending much of the day outdoors, as there just wasn’t room in the house to play!

after the rainWalking outdoors can add to a sense of well-being, even in the rain.

columbine The healing aspects of Nature are being continually distilled into medication by the pharmaceutical corporations, yet remains inherent all around us.

Sammy Bear and meNature massages the soul!

angel at bealtaine cottageBeing outside with plants, trees, wildlife, Nature, animals and birdsong, is unbeatably good for ones’ mental health!

angel at bealtaine cottageNature is real and alive, strong but gentle and always there for us despite the abuse we fling at her.

bealtaine cottage permaculture gardensIt is something that cannot be put into a pill and certainly not for sale in a bottle!

Bealtaine Cottage is also on YouTube…with over 102 videos about Permaculture, planting, growing and living.

Over 800 blogs from Bealtaine Cottage in the archives here.

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Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, biodiversity, Birds, Childhood, Earth, Fairies, Garden, Gardens, Inspiration, Ireland, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Seeds, Uncategorized, Woodland

The Woman Who Planted Trees

Trees at Bealtaine Cottage

Many people ask if they can visit Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture Gardens and I always try to oblige if it’s at all possible!

Young Apple tree at Bealtaine Cottage permaculture gardensSome advance notice is welcome, as life on 3 acres on one’s own can get pretty full on at times.

Front garden at Bealtaine CottageLast evening I was called by a friend, who wanted to know if she could bring a neighbour of hers to visit Bealtaine.

Deep in the permaculture gardens at Bealtaine CottageHer neighbour referred to me as “the woman who plants the trees!”

(By the way, it’s a beautiful morning as you can see from the pics!)

Trees in the pond garden at Bealtaine CottageIt’s an odd thing to do really, plant trees…so far over 900 planted!

Stream in the bog garden at Bealtaine CottageOdd, in so far as so few people get this obsessed! Trees change every aspect of one’s life.

Some of the trees planted at Bealtaine CottageAs I sit here typing this blog, the birdsong is magical and very loud!

A Cherry seed grows by an Oak tree at Bealtaine CottageMy childhood was impoverished as far as trees were concerned.

Cherry seedling and Oak sapling at Bealtaine CottageI grew up in a tiny terraced house with no garden, just row upon row of slate roofs and grey walls.

Young Chestnut tree at Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture GardensMy first encounter with trees was at school.

Bealtaine Cottage IrelandEntering the gates of the Convent school grounds, greenery enveloped me.

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture GardensMy childhood was transformed by the gardens of Loreto Convent.

Permaculture Paradise at Bealtaine CottageI recently returned and collected seed from the convent grounds in Omagh, to grow on here at Bealtaine Cottage.

Chestnut and Sycamore saplings at bealtaine Cottage Permaculture GardensVisitors bring me trees.

Willow arch into the Fairy woodland at Bealtaine CottageSubscribers to this blog send me tree seeds, from all over the world.

Blossom on a Rowan tree planted in the Fairy Wood at Bealtaine CottageI dream about trees.

A Copper Beech and wild rose at Bealtaine CottageI have left instructions to be buried in a woodland…let a tree rise from me!

Posted in Abundance, Animals, Bealtaine Cottage, Birds, celebrations, Celtic Mythology, Celts, Country Living, cows, Current Affairs, Earth, Fairies, Folklore, Inspiration, Permaculture, Uncategorized, Wildlife

The Festival of Bealtaine

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

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiyT1TSbaU&list=UUHkXJ9wsrdPEpzb-KMgmt-A&index=1&feature=plcp

Posted in Birds, Bloom, Country Living, Garden, Ireland, Sustainable Living, Uncategorized

Remembering Romania…

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!

Posted in Animals, biodiversity, Birds, Climate, Earth, Garden, Spirituality, Spring, Trees, Uncategorized

As Evening Approaches…

The evening approaches…

Taking Jack out for a walk was pleasant as the air was still and warm.

One of the first real signs of Spring is birdsong…excessive birdsong…morning, noon and evening!

The gardens here at Bealtaine are taking on some extraordinary colours as the spring proceeds.

White, cream, shades of pink and amber…all these colours represent the life force awakening!

Jack is driven mad with scents…of the badger, hare, frog, all traversing the ground as the earth awakens!

Buds are beginning to appear on one of the Pear trees near the cottage.

The young Lilac tree has a thickening of green buds.

Moss that has spent the winter covering the ground, is beginning to loosen and rise in clumps, as the grass beneath it pushes upwards, towards the light.

Catkins hang majestically from the Hazel trees.

The leaves of the Blackcurrant are opening.

Spring…