Posted in Bloom, cottage style, Country Living, Garden, Ireland, Organic Garden

Cottage Garden Style

DSC09920

There was a full moon last night.

Sammy-Bear couldn’t make up his mind whether he wanted in or out.

Previous to this photo I had opened the back door for him twice to go out, whereupon he ran around to the front of the cottage and jumped up on the window sill, as you can see here!

DSC09962It’s always a strange time when the moon is full.

I’m sure you each have stories about weird happenings at this time!

DSC09961This May moon has cast it’s brightness over Ireland, presiding over an extraordinary time of growth.

DSC09960DSC09959 All around the cottage there are flowers opening, plants growing, seemingly overnight and trees now heavy with leaf and blossom.

DSC09958Where would an Irish cottage garden be without the beautiful and traditional Perlagonium?

DSC09957And, of course, every cottage garden has a little spot for Succulents…I plant these in terracotta pots and here in this old planter.

They love dry conditions!

DSC09956DSC09955Always lots of tasks to complete as in painting the old Buddha, so he may survive another winter!

DSC09954DSC09953DSC09952As in all cottage gardens, famous for their mish-mash of flowers, vegetables fruit and just about everything else, edibles share potager beds with their close relations!

DSC09950I have had to move many plants from pots and plant them in spaces wherever I can find them.

For, as always now at this time of the year, there is a drought…sometimes prolonged, but dry enough at the best of times!

DSC09948The nursery bed, essential to a cottage garden, is being cleared fast, with plants going into the long beds down by the road.

DSC09946DSC09943Pieris and Poppies…as always, flowers are squashed in beside the most unsuitable bed mates…the Poppy is planted in with Flowering Currant!

DSC09931And sitting in my chair on the veranda, looking up…the classic cottage garden rose.

DSC09941The all-forgiving Cottage Garden will tolerate just about everything one wants to “throw out!” Except, of course, I throw little away, favouring a good old re-purpose, as in this old, but very comfy, fireside chair!

DSC09937And…the beautiful Wisteria…tougher than it looks and essential “cottage garden!”

DSC09936DSC09933DSC09932Nothing pristine here!

No manicured lawn or well-placed fountain or garden ornament…yet everything knows how to behave itself without supervision.

DSC09930Even Jack…unlike Sammy-Bear!

DSC09927DSC09924Oh Jack, you are a little beaut!

DSC09923Opening my backdoor this morning I see the Fairies have tidied up again!

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Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Climate, Earth, Ecology, Gaia, Garden, Gardening, Growing Food, History, Ireland, Permaculture, polytunnel gardening, Smallholding, Uncategorized

Permaculture Cottage ~ A Stormy Evening at the Cottage

A storm is making its way in from the Atlantic as I write this and a cold wind blows through the window. I took these pics earlier today when it was positively hot and humid. It’s strange how quickly the weather can change! The ground is very dry, the spring well runs low and lots of rain is needed, so I am happy to see the storm blow in!

Painted Mountain Corn, Poppies and Feverfew are jostling for space in the tunnel. Still high summer in many respects and flowers continue to bud and bloom.

Here in Ireland, Corn, or Maize is usually called “sweet corn”. Sweet corn is harvested earlier and eaten as a vegetable rather than a grain. This one that I am growing is from the Native American seed bank of Corn, known as “Painted Mountain.”Corn has shallow roots and is susceptible to droughts, intolerant of nutrient-deficient soils, and prone to be uprooted by severe winds, so growing it in the protective atmosphere of the tunnel makes good sense.

It has taken two years, but finally, the Leek has seeded, with multiple seed heads like this one…really ornamental and worth growing on as flowers I think!  Leeks are easy to grow from seed and tolerate standing in the ground for an extended harvest. Leeks usually reach maturity in the autumn months, and they have few pest or disease problems. Leeks can be bunched and harvested early when they are about the size of a finger or pencil, or they can be thinned and allowed to grow to a much larger mature size. Really tasty in soups, so I’m inclined to leave them in the ground and pull them as needed.

Leek is typically chopped into slices 5–10 mm thick. The slices have a tendency to fall apart, due to the layered structure of the leek. There are different ways of preparing the vegetable:

  • Boiled, which turns it soft and mild in taste.
  • Fried, which leaves it more crunchy and preserves the taste.
  • Raw, which can be used in salads, doing especially well when they are the prime ingredient.

The veggie garden, all new and improved with the terraced beds…just waiting to see if the terracing directs the water when a storm hits…as it may do very soon!In the Andes farmers have used terraces known as andenes for over a thousand years to farm potatoes, maize and other native crops. The Inca also used terraces for soil conservation, along with a system of canals and aqueducts to direct water through dry land and increase fertility. This has become part of the approach for growing in Permaculture…conserving and adapting to the environment as found, rather than trying to change the lay of the land!

One of the Poppies in the tunnel today, all papery and delicate…

Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Bloom, Climate, Cottage, Dublin, Food, Garden, Growing Food, Inspiration, Ireland, Organic Garden, Permaculture, polytunnel gardening, Smallholding, Summer, Uncategorized, Wild Flowers

This Morning in the Permaculture Garden and Tunnel at Bealtaine

The storms continue and at times the wind abates for just long enough to get outdoors without being battered by the gusts!

The Sedums planted in and around the old fireplace are now thriving since the rain came…these are ideal for planting on green roofs and will tolerate drought and flood equally well.

Peachy Poppies are peeping through in all corners of the tunnel…abundant in its permaculture state!

The Nectarine tree is loaded down…some of these may have to be removed!

Self-seeded Valerian is blooming in the gravel around the cottage, despite the storms and rain!

Posted in Country Living, Eco-Living, Ecology, Garden, Inspiration, Uncategorized, Wild Flowers

Hothouse Flowers in a Permaculture Environment. Evening @ Bealtaine Cottage

Laburnum and Ferns, hastily picked, make a casual, summer bouquet for the sitting room window of the cottage. I never buy flowers and don’t support the polluting, hothouse methods involved in growing shop bought arrangements. The seasonal look is more in keeping with caring for the environment as well as being much more stylish.

The rain has passed over for the day as the evening sweeps in from the East. Hoping for a lot more if the wells are going to resume full flow! I still haven’t moved the logs as the rain has continued unabated for most of the day. Added to this is the task of clearing out the barn in order to stack the logs, which is pending…ahem!

Jack has been having a ripping time, literally…nothing is safe around him! I got him some massive bones from the butcher yesterday and he has been crunching and chewing away to his heart’s content! I can’t quite get over just how intelligent he is! I would advise anyone thinking of getting a pet to visit their local animal sanctuary first…you might be as lucky as myself and come away with a gem like Jack!

Looking out the window onto the veranda is uplifting when the roses are in bloom. I planted a grapevine further along, into a couple of tyres and have big expectations for equally bountiful harvests of grapes!

Posted in Abundance, Baking, Bealtaine Cottage, Eco-Living, Ecology, Food, Frugal Living, Gaia, Ireland, Leitrim, Permaculture, Roscommon, Sligo, Smallholding, Uncategorized, Vegetarian, Wild Flowers, Woodland

Fruity Sourdough Bread and Real Bluebells at Bealtaine Permaculture Smallholding.

Made a fruit sourdough bread yesterday.  Sourdough skills are developing slowly and the real savings are tangible. Making the traditional soda bread was easy, but more costly. Buttermilk was needed, whereas sourdough requires nothing other than the flour and what one chooses over and above that! Added to that is the bonus of the bread not using commercial yeast, which is detrimental to health for more and more people.

Sultanas and spice were added to the basic dough, along with 2 teaspoons of brown sugar and it’s yummy!

Lots of wild Bluebells have appeared this year at Bealtaine. This single flower is indicative of the natural spread taking place after 7 chemical-free years on this smallholding. Open the door a little, (figuratively speaking), and Nature sweeps in…a much welcomed guest!

Beautiful, elegant Ferns have also spread, especially throughout the Fairy Dell Woodland…

The heavenly, sweet-scented flowers on the Hawthorn trees is in full bloom now. This is the edge of the Fairy Dell, where many of the apple trees thrive. Cherry and Plum are also planted on this south facing edge of the woodland.

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Climate, Culture, Current Affairs, Ecology, Gaia, Garden, Ireland, Leitrim, Permaculture, Politics, Sligo, Smallholding, Summer, Uncategorized, Woodland

Extreme Weather in Ireland…AGAIN! Permaculture @ Bealtaine Cottage.

Bealtaine Cottage May 2012 010The weather has been extremely dry over recent weeks.

Bush fires are raging in counties Donegal and Mayo as I write.

There can be no more wavering on the issue of climate change…it is real!

May 2011 Bealtaine Cottage 010There are very low levels of water in my spring well so I have to ration water use in the cottage.

Rain is promised for the middle to end of the week…bring it on!

Colours of the Copper Beech trees are deepening along the bank at the back of the cottage.

Planting deciduous trees like these will ensure that soil is not eroded and the land is protected from monsoon type rains which are becoming more frequent here in Ireland.

May 2011 Bealtaine 013Ireland, once known for its soft rain…

There is a distinct canopy emerging at Bealtaine, a forest garden is taking shape, and with it a magical landscape.

I see permaculture more and more as the only real solution to the massive environmental devastation that is happening across the globe.

The Earth needs to be re-forested…fast!

There are 60 fire engines out across N.Ireland this evening fighting wild fires on the hills.

Some homes in Donegal have already been evacuated.

May 2011 Bealtaine 006It is difficult to come to terms with this freakish weather on May 1…except that extreme weather in Ireland is no longer freakish and more and more the norm., Worrying!