Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Garden, Life, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Thrift, Uncategorized, Wild Flowers

Bartering

28 June 2014 004

Bartering home made wine for time spent fixing my computer is fantastic and affordable…this afternoon was spent in the company of two friends, who did great work for me, in return for some giggle tonic; what happens when you drink this potent Blackcurrant wine.

28 June 2014 002Jack has just returned with me from his early evening walk.

He is in desperate need of a brush as he’s moulting all over the place!

He gets all soppy when I brush his coat.

Sheepdogs are very loyal and just a wee bit crazy too!

28 June 2014 005A cottage garden gets away from all sense of colour co-ordination, as you can see here!

Many of the perennials are starting to go over a little bit as the height of Midsummer has passed.

28 June 2014 003This can be a good time to cut back on some in order to get a late summer blossoming too.

The Geranium thrives on a twice yearly cut back.

28 June 2014 006This little Fig tree grows well in a half barrel, being squashed into a tight corner with other plants and even a Rose bush; Figs thrive in tight spots!

28 June 2014 001There was a time when Ireland was dotted with little white-washed cottage, all proudly hosting red Perlagoniums on their low window sills every summer.

Sad to think those days of simple living have passed and people are no happier really!

28 June 2014 008
Ox-Eye Daisies run riot all over the top part of the gardens, thriving in the limestone gravel with carefree abandon! So often dismissed as weeds, these wild flowers are undemanding and drought tolerant. 

28 June 2014 009Nasturtiums are coming into their own and the bees are having a real feast.

28 June 2014 010An outdoors coffee table and chair…why not?

Posted in Autumn, Celts, Country Living, Culture, Garden, Life, Thoughts, Trees, Uncategorized

Transition into Autumn, as Lughnasa moves towards Samhain.

I grow over fifty different herbs here at Bealtaine Cottage.

All are grown organically, in keeping with everything I do here.

Lavender grows in profusion in the tunnel and dry areas of the gardens.

Wild Mint grows in the Bog Garden.

Oregano grows wild in the gravel driveway…one reason among thousands why NOT to tarmac!

The amount of self-seeding that occurs in the driveway is amazing!

I have taken lots of Lavender Cuttings and potted them on, so there will many more plants for next year.

It is important to keep a well stocked Nursery Garden…this enables continued expansion.

The garden has begun it’s slow transitional journey into Autumn.

By the Celtic Calendar, this is the beginning of the second month, and some plants already display that.

The Birch trees are colouring into autumn hues, the Willow hangs low in the early morning frost and harvesting food is well under way.

Hazel nuts are ripening, Rosehips are ready and apples are being harvested.

The hips of the Rosa Canina, or DogRose, rich in Vitamin C and ready to collect to make syrup.

They can also be used in Hedgerow Jelly and Jams.

I planted several of these bushes in various locations around my smallholding and they have all grown and fruited well, though sunlight is important, so shady locations are not that good…semi-shade is tolerable though!

The fruits of the Rosa Rugosa, rich in vitamin C.

These were collected by people during W.W.2. and delivered to the local collection points for the Ministry of Food where they were turned into Rosehip Syrup and given out to families with children as Vitamin C Syrup.

Isn’t it amazing just what governments can do for their people when they have to!

It’s worth looking at the history of the Ministry of Food during this time…some of the recipes produced by them are incredible…!

There are many hundreds of metres of pathways in this garden, connecting many different types of growing areas and gardens, all of them organic and all permacultured for ease of managing.

 One of the paths, leading from a compost area in several directions…the orchard, the east garden, the cottage and if you turn right, along the north bank.

At this time of year, when there is so much to cut back, I use all the waste to mulch within that area.

The mulch, as it degrades, feeds the plants and builds up the soil.

It’s amazing how much is uncovered and revealed when this cut back happens.

The paths are all grass and are mown weekly…grass being used as a harvest food for the nearest trees and shrubs.

Did you know that there are over 300 species of Willow?

In wet ground, Willow only has to be inserted into the earth and it will take root.

Bees love Willow!

It makes great wood for burning in the stove, with just a little seasoning, depending on the thickness.

Baskets can be made from it, as can all kinds of decorations.

There is an archaelogical site in Antrim, recently uncovered that shows that the Ancient Celts used Willow and Wattle to create dwellings.

It is also a sacred tree, featuring in both the Celtic and Saxon Chronicles as such.

Here in the Bog garden, by the lower pond, this Willow provides wildlife food and habitat as well as structure and form.

It’s one of my favourite trees.

Willow lends itself easily to Permaculture, feeding so many insects and birds as to be totally amazing!

For the gardener it is a growing medium without restraints, bending into arches, fedges and garden sculpture.

Lughnasa fades into Samhain and there is magic in the air!

Posted in Abundance, Autumn, Bealtaine Cottage, Eco-Living, Garden, Ireland, Permaculture, Self-Sufficiency, Sustainable Living, Uncategorized

Permaculture Cottage ~ The Changing Colours of Autumn.

Splitting logs of Ash for use in the stove this winter. This wood is easy to grow and easy to harvest if continuously coppiced. Ash, if coppiced, can grow steadily for 2,000 years and more. Ash can be burned in the green, that is, on the day it is cut. It is the perfect the perfect permaculture fuel!

Michelmass daisies and almost ripe pears heralds the middle of Autumn. Both pear trees are heavy with fruit. This winter I will plant more fruit trees, definitely plum and pear among them!

As the season progresses and the harvest is gathered in, the recipe books are opened and real saving of the harvest begins. So far I have made Autumn Chutney, apple chutney, various pickles and jams as well as a most unusual Blackcurrant Chutney.

Colours of Autumn simply absorb the whole landscape. This picture from today at Bealtaine Cottage says it all!

And more colour…

Grapes in the tunnel this morning. This is the best harvest so far. These are sweet and juicy. I am attempting to grow a vine outside here in the west of Ireland and will keep you posted!

Maddy Harland, from Permaculture Magazine, has published a post from Bealtaine Cottage this morning. here’s the link… @PermaGoddess thank you! it’s up http://www.permaculture.co.uk/articles/2809111143/ancient-ireland-our-ancestors-original-permaculture-forest

Posted in Abundance, Bloom, Cottage, Garden, Gardening, Ireland, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Smallholding, Summer, Uncategorized, Wild Flowers

Notes from a Cottage…West of Ireland Permaculture.


The land across the smallholding that is Bealtaine Cottage, is very wet indeed. Too wet to do much, except admire the tremendous growth that has taken place recently! The paths are closing in and so I spent about two hours this morning out with my shears, clipping frantically between showers…about a third done, not bad!

Despite the rain the redcurrants are on course for ripening at their usual pace and time…around the first week in June or thereabouts. Although Bealtaine has become something of a wildlife sanctuary over the seven years of its’ existence, most of the fruits are left on the bushes and trees and have never required netting…that’s what abundance does, provides plenty for all!

Bealtaine has hundreds of metres of paths…one day I will measure them all!

Part of the front gardens on the north side of the smallholding, today.

The cottage sits snugly in the permaculture gardens, zones 1-5.

Dog Daisies on the driveway, with lots of insects on and around them. I shake seed from the flowers onto the gravel, so each year they spread a little further…and they’re wild flowers!

Brilliant colour on the Valerian, another seeded flower on the driveway. Each year I shake more seed further down the driveway and these beautiful flowers just appear!

The delicate blooms of LondonPride line the steps at the back of the cottage. These are perennials and spread every year, now lining the steps and spilling out over them.