Easter in a Permaculture Garden…700th Post!

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This is what happens in Permaculture…surplus is fed back into the system or shared out!

www.bealtainecottage.com In this case there was a small surplus of blue paint…the outcome is what you see here!

www.bealtainecottage.comI woke to a magnificent sunrise this morning…Kilronan Mountain is shrouded in mist, so doesn’t appear to exist at all!

www.bealtainecottage.comBees are buzzing and birds are singing to herald in this wonderful Easter weekend here in the west of Ireland!

www.bealtainecottage.comWith the emergence of Spring, several weeks ago now, there has been an accumulation of heat and light working on the earth that promises an early Summer.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe promise of seedlings has excelled…it appears that every seed sown has germinated!

www.bealtainecottage.com Fortunately, now that I have five beautiful hens, seedlings that are excess to requirements can simply be fed to the hens as a wonderful source of nutrition.

www.bealtainecottage.comSome of the seedlings are also used by me in salads, again a wonderful source of nutrition!

www.bealtainecottage.comSlabs of bedrock, rising out of the earth all over the land here at Bealtaine, show off their pink colour in the drying air of late Spring.

www.bealtainecottage.comPrimroses play peek-a-boo on the driveway.

www.bealtainecottage.comCrocosmia show off a vibrant lime-green in the early morning light.

www.bealtainecottage.comBack to blue, because…

www.bealtainecottage.comI simply cannot resist it!

www.bealtainecottage.comThe vibrant pink of this Saxifrage has found a perfect bed in the gravel driveway…another reason why tarmac is a non-starter here!

www.bealtainecottage.comPrimroses aren’t the only things around here playing peek-a-boo!

www.bealtainecottage.comThe mist in the valley has cut off Kilronan Mountain.

www.bealtainecottage.comFurther up the gardens, behind where I now stand, Comfrey, Lovage, Fennel, Valerian and Chives are all about a foot high and looking very robust in the late Spring, early morning light.

www.bealtainecottage.comBy my feet, the Euphorbia flowers.

www.bealtainecottage.comAnd indoors, on the dresser, reminders of Spring and Easter…

www.bealtainecottage.comHappy Easter to all!

PS: Next month will the my tenth anniversary of Bealtaine Cottage.

Today marks the 700th blog!

Permaculture Orchard and Spring Well

New mulched permaculture orchardAn update on the new orchard…the mulching continues as the blossom breaks on the little trees.

Permaculture Orchard at Bealtaine CottageLots of nettles have been chopped and layered on the mulch!

mulching the orchardThe path is being extended, as I find time to do a little more and a little more!

Look who has made a little bed for himself on the weed suppressing mat…

New apple trees in the permaculture orchardThis project will continue into the autumn as I have several other projects on the go, including the new kitchen floor.

Herbs in tyres at Bealtaine CottageHerbs are lovely flowers to grow and these are growing just outside the Lodge.

Chives, Feverfew, Comfrey, Clary Sage and Ox-Eye Daisies all happily growing together!

Hen House at Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture GardensThe hen house this morning…I leave the girls in long enough for them to lay.

This is the entrance from the new orchard.

I have just returned from cleaning out the well up on the hill.

The water tank had stopped filling and had, in fact dried out.

A visit to the well confirmed my suspicion that the pipe had clogged up with plant life!

I can hear the water filling in the tank in the loft as I type.

The hens at Bealtaine CottageThe hens are all in good shape now and are the most passive and calm little creatures I have ever encountered.

Hens at Bealtaine CottageJust adorable!

Lime tree walk at Bealtaine CottageThe Lime trees are now in leaf.

I have discovered that these trees grow very well from cuttings!

Pollarded Willow at Bealtaine CottageWillow is growing thick and fast on the pollarded trees.

This will grow up to 15 feet high, making great fedging lengths this autumn.

Planting for the Bees in a Permaculture Garden

London pride on the steps at Bealtaine Cottage

London Pride ready to open flower on the steps at Bealtaine Cottage.

Years of pushing and shoving by these delicate looking little plants have finally eradicated the creeping buttercup in the heavy clay soil.

Bees at Bealtaine Cottage

It’s at this time of year that bees are working hard and sometimes gardens are bereft of food for the bees.

Not here!

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I have a policy that is enshrined in Bealtaine cottage gardens…plant for the bees, the birds and then myself, always in that order!

Cordyline at Bealtaine Cottage IrelandOne of the plants that was so severely damaged by frost several years ago has made a comeback!

This is the tropical Cordyline, growing here thanks to the Gulf Stream.

That means an early start to the growing year and bees follow the same pattern, sometimes emerging as early as late February!

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So food at the ready is vital for them!

Ribes, or flowering currant, is a wonderful source of nectar for the hungry bees!

Missy and the wind spiral

The smallest bit of sunshine and the garden starts to look like paradise!

Missy passes a lush looking Comfrey.

Bee on Nasturtium flower at Bealtaine Cottage

The flowers of the Comfrey plant are truly Bee-Loved, as are the flowers of the humble and easy to grow Nasturtium!

The leaves of the Comfrey will be cut and scattered around the apple trees, creating a source of liquid feed as the rain falls…as it does frequently here in the West of Ireland!

Apple trees in blossom at Bealtaine Cottage permaculture orchard

These trees never disappoint, year after year, with heavy blossom and heavy crops of perfect apples that have never been sprayed…never!

The bees are busy into the night around the orchards.

So plant fruit trees for the bees too!

Apple tree underplanted with Blackcurrants in permaculture gardens of Bealtaine CottageThere are over 40 fruit trees planted throughout the permaculture gardens.

And here you can see the apple under-planted with blackcurrants…much Bee-Loved!

Honesty underplanted in the orchards of Bealtaine Cottage permaculture gardensVarious flowers are planted beneath these.

Here you can see Honesty in flower under the Blackcurrants…a delight for the bees and sweet-smelling too!

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I plant for bees and this is why there are consistently abundant crops here at Bealtaine Cottage.

In the case of the Cotoneaster above, food for the bees and the birds!

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The trick is to ensure there is succession planting for the bees.

Bee on Lunaria flower at Bealtaine Cottage

Hungry bees won’t hang around hungry gardens!

Do have a lovely weekend!

Permaculture Sunday…Apples, Sweetcorn and more seedlings

More logs wait to be carted around to the barn and stacked ready for the cold winter days ahead!

Valerian grown from seed continues to flower and will do all summer and into the autumn all the time that the seedheads are removed…

Something else grown from seed here at Bealtaine…this gorgeous Poppy this morning in full bloom, all red and frilly like the Folly Bergere!

Blackcurrants and Sage in the Nursery area, again grown from seeds, so 100% permaculture at Bealtaine plants to come. Both of these plants grow very easily from seed scattered into limestone gravel and left to overwinter, before being pricked out and potted on…how simple is that?

This is one of the many apple trees snapped this morning. The harvest is coming on well, with plans for lots of Apple Chutney! The trees continue to be fed with mulched comfrey and nettles.

Painted Mountain, Native American Sweetcorn is a real success in the tunnel, with lots of heads coming to maturity. Definitely one to save seed from!

The Aloe Vera on the sitting room window has had babies!

Today at Bealtaine Permaculture Smallholding…Start the Week!

Nasturtiums are now in bloom outside, despite the rain. This one is pot planted outside the veranda and is slowly winding its’ way over pieces of driftwood, stone and Herb Robert.

Our lives are full of clutter. A garden is a retreat and a permaculture garden is a perfect, food-bearing retreat, created for almost no money investment…just time and an opening of the senses. Plants like London Pride, featured here, are so very easy to transplant from snippets and cuttings.

Chives this morning in the vegetable garden, but these have been planted all over the gardens and are great visuals.

The long-flowering Columbine growing in the vegetable garden…a good Bee and pollinator insect attractant.

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Density of planting…the essence of permaculture.

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Flowers…just flowers and endless beauty!

Blackcurrants ripening in the sun this morning. Writing this a short time later, the sun has gone back into hiding!

Plums on one of the many fruit trees at Bealtaine this morning…a good harvest is promised!

The many Apple trees are growing heavy with fruit.

Permaculture Zero…My Two Favourite Words! Bealtaine Smallholding West Ireland.

Willow arches, all around Bealtaine, have greened up and may need their first trim of the year…about two trims a summer are enough to keep the shape!Comfrey…this has been planted all over the smallholding. It grows wild in damp, shady places, near streams and rivers. Historically this powerful plant has been used to knitting broken bones back together, hence the names: Boneset, Knitbone and Bruisewort. Interestingly enough, research has discovered that Comfrey contains Allantoin, which actively promotes the growth of new cells! Leaves of the plant are applied to bruises, sprains and broken bones.The rose on the veranda is growing in two tyres filled with home made compost and topped up each spring.Roses about to bloom on the veranda…but we desperately need rain…west Ireland is suffering drought conditions at present!Steps from the vegetable and fruit intensive gardens down into the woodland. These were made from recycled timber boards, hammered into place, then backfilled with compacted ash from the stove. Cost:Zero…love that word!