Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Bees, Cats, Country Living, Garden, Herbs, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Sustainable Living, Uncategorized, Wildlife, Winter

Early December in a Permaculture Garden

www.bealtainecottage.com 012

The shelled seed-heads of Lunaria… beautiful, ethereal, delicate additions to winter foliage arrangements.

The seeds are now packed and ready to post out all over the world.

www.bealtainecottage.com 004Lunaria, commonly known as Honesty, is an early flowering annual flower, but, once seeded into your garden, spreads and re-seeds itself with wild abandon!

www.bealtainecottage.com 005This simple arrangement stands in a recycled, lace covered, jam jar!

www.bealtainecottage.com 011I went shopping yesterday, to the second-hand market and bought this fruit bowl for 4 euros.

I love the simple sponged design, beautiful in its simplicity.

www.bealtainecottage.com 014The veranda has been swept this morning…but don’t look too closely, as I didn’t move the clothes drier!

www.bealtainecottage.com 028The wheelbarrow holds ashes from the stoves and waste from the barn floor, ready to be spread over compost heaps, flower beds and around fruit trees.

Winter is a time of spreading and stacking, as tidy-ups take place and waste accumulates.

www.bealtainecottage.com 016The weather has been so very mild, that some flowers in the gardens continue to bloom, like this Fuchsia, with the Lemon Balm looking ready for harvest just behind it!

www.bealtainecottage.com 021And this Borage, growing, this morning, in the north garden of the cottage.

www.bealtainecottage.com 017It’s amazing to be able to venture into the gardens in early December and pick Lemon Balm for tea!

www.bealtainecottage.com 019Even the boys are enjoying the balmy winter weather, as Che-Mousey rolls on the gravel by my feet!

www.bealtainecottage.com 023Blackbirds have been feasting on Pyracantha berries…

www.bealtainecottage.com 027New growth breaks through on the old Buddleia…

www.bealtainecottage.com 022And Slieve Aneirin sits washed in the cool blue of a winter’s morning.

Blessings X

Seeds for growing Lunaria are available on this website…just click on the link…

http://bealtainecottage.com/seeds-from-bealtaine-cottage/

If you wish me to post seeds, from you, to a friend or loved one, cards are available on this link…

http://bealtainecottage.com/gifts-send-a-card/

Posted in Abundance, Bloom, Cats, Cottage, Country Living, Culture, Growing Food, Herbs, Inspiration, Ireland, Life, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Personal, Self-Sufficiency, Smallholding, Thrift, Uncategorized

Growing Grapes in Ireland…Outside!

Those who follow this blog will know that I grow grapes in the polytunnel, very successfully.

This recent experiment is about growing a fruitful grapevine outside, in Ireland.

The first thing is to try to emulate the conditions most favourable for grapes and a recent visitor to Bealtaine cottage spent some time giving me lots of good advice to this end…thanks Sigi!

Sigi grows lots of vines in Austria and is very knowledgeable indeed on this subject.

First, the vine detests wet feet…so ensure that the soil is very well drained.

Well in this case I replanted the vine onto the gravel at the back of the cottage, which faces south, banking it up well.

Stone collects the heat of the sun and holds it well…thermal mass! I added lots of stone around the plant.

Sigi advised me to keep to one main stem, so I cut it back and will cut some more too.

Recycling tins…this one has been serving the Sedum for about 3 years now!

Just punch a few holes in the bottom using a hammer and nail!

The experiment with the tomatoes outdoors as opposed to the tunnel is good so far.

This one is cropping earlier than the several in the tunnel!

Everything in the raised bed is growing fast and furious…less than a month after the first stone was set in place!

Plenty of time yet for sowing seeds…I started these off on Saturday.

The Rudbeckia on the left were transplanted from a small pot.

Harvesting seed from Parsley…save seed, it’s our independence and our future!

Borage flowers adorn the water in the tunnel…ensuring lots of bees visit the plants in here, there’s lots of Borage!

Today’s video…and yes, Missy has barged in!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vejVN3L1_LU

Posted in Abundance, Animals, Cats, Country Living, Ecology, Food, Garden, Gardening, Growing Food, Herbs, Lifestyle, Organic Garden, Permaculture, polytunnel gardening, Uncategorized

Beds of Abundance in a Permaculture Garden

Missy manages to climb to the top of the barn and nestle herself into the barley straw…high enough to keep a watchful eye on all!

This is one girl who takes no prisoners…just look at that expression!

A good sprinkling of lettuce seeds and within a few weeks there is more than enough to harvest for weeks to come.

Most people can manage to be self-sufficient in salad for at least half the year!

This is a potager style bed, with Lavender and Thyme nearby.

There are several varieties of lettuce here, in amongst the Nasturtium and Borage.

Sedum and Poppies continue to push their way up through the compost!

Moving compost from last year’s heap over to the new raised vegetable bed today.

A bed of abundance outside the tunnel today.

And here’s the new raised vegetable bed…coming along…

Posted in Garden, Herbs, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Uncategorized, Winter

Country Living with Climate Change in Ireland…Evidential Photographs

Climate change is quite evidential here at Bealtaine Cottage in the west of Ireland!
Walking through the gardens this morning I am shocked to find many flowers still in bloom.

Borage in flower this morning, the first day of December 2011. This herb is growing in a fairly exposed spot near the gate to Bealtaine.

The Borage is growing alongside a miniature Rudbeckia, grown from seed this year and in flower from early autumn.
This is indicative of just how mild the weather has been!

I used home made compost to plant out the Rudbeckia and the Borage has come up through it!

This time last year the ground was frozen solid. Today it is more like early autumn than December!

Fuschia in flower down near the Bog Garden…this is not the semi-native one that is hardy, so the flowers this morning are quite a shock to see!

Even the spring water in the ponds is warm…

Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Cottage, Country Living, Ecology, Garden, Gardening, Herbs, Inspiration, Ireland, Leitrim, Permaculture, Smallholding, Uncategorized

Simple Country Style, Ireland. Cottage Gardening

The Cottage Garden Approach…

cropped-0068.jpgA cottage garden is the most  informal garden it is possible to create and the easiest to maintain, if following the permaculture, no-dig method and approach.

bee on Lavender at Bealtaine CottageLadys Mantle will grow, fall, spread, then grow some more from the centre, outwards…if allowed, and that is what happens in a cottage garden!

Sammy-Bear CatPlants are ‘allowed,’ to do their own thing to a large extent!

Informality is the only hard and fast rule and that’s a contradiction in itself!

Formal or Not

Spirea simply HAS to get unruly before it produces these exquisite spires of pink fluff!

bealtaine Cottage windowThe hedge or bush…there is both here at Bealtaine Cottage, can only be brought back into semi-formality after the flowering period!

Blue Borage

This stunning herb gets very big and quite straggly, but it’s all worth it when the flowers happen.

It self-seeds everywhere, but who cares?

It’s carelessly beautiful!

 Poppies

Once these seeds are introduced into your garden, there is no way back for splashes of pink bobbing on the morning breeze between vegetables and fruit alike.

hanging webThe Bees adore them!

misty morning at Bealtaine CottageAbsolute Anarchy…

Bealtaine CottageJust let it be!

Back door at Bealtaine CottageAt the end of the day that’s the great joy to be found in a cottage garden.

Dog Daisy benchPrepare to be surprised, shocked even!

cropped-060.jpgThere is no rule book!

If you enjoy the free content of this blog, please consider making a donation using the button below. My PayPal account can receive your donations and will convert from your local currency, and you don’t need a PayPal account to make a donation. Thank you!

Thank you for supporting this blog