How To Make A Willow Arch For Your Garden…For Free

Go out, go out I beg of you
And taste the beauty of the wild.
Behold the miracle of the earth
With all the wonder of a child.

~Edna Jaques

 

The miracle of Spring is now very close. Birds are beginning to sing and all over the woodland gardens of Bealtaine Cottage, life stirs.

 

I am sharing this post with you all today, as Willow can be collected at this time of year and used to great beauty in the garden.

This is How To Make A Willow Arch…

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Making a Willow Arch for the Lughnasadh Garden…this is a living arch and will provide food for the Bees.

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Take two long lengths of Willow.Any length over 6ft will do! All long Willow is suitable for this project. I used a mix.

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Strip off leaves…no need to do this in winter or early spring.

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Insert each piece into earth on either side of what will be ab entrance…so, 2-3ft apart will do!

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Push each piece of willow in a minimum of 3 inches.

It will soon root!

Wind the tops together over your head.

This will be the finished height, though it will continue to grow!

Next, add more lengths near to the first two and twist around the willow frame…

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Twisting will tighten and strengthen the arch.

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Add more lengths and use each new one to tighten and straighten the arch…pull into shape as you twist.

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If you feel you,re not getting the shape you want, lengths can easily be removed and you can start again…don’t be afraid to experiment!

Now add a second arch about 6-10 ins behind the first.

Once in line, insert some more willow by this new arch and pull the lengths forward to the first one…about halfway up the structure as seen here.

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Do the same on the first arch, pulling the lengths onto the second, so both criss cross.

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You may add some more Willow…but this is the structure safely in place, where it will continue to grow and thicken.

dsc02907 (1)This will form one of the entrances to the new Lughnasadh Garden.

There is a selection of books written by Colette O’Neill at Bealtaine Cottage, available here…the bookshop supports the entire work of the Bealtaine Project.

 

“A Cottage and Three Acres,” by Colette O’Neill

Please email Colette if you would like a particular inscription in your book. From a desolate cottage set in 3 acres of monoculture sadness, to a vibrant, thriving food forest of life…the journey back to Eden over 13 years… Bealtaine Books and Maps are printed in Ireland and posted from Ireland to support the people of Ireland.

€25.00

 

In Search of The Goddess Rising

This is the second book in the Goddess Permaculture series from Colette O’Neill at Bealtaine Cottage, Ireland. In this book I explore the ancient landscape, mythology, literature and life around Bealtaine Cottage… in search of the Great Goddess. The price of the book includes all postage and packing to wherever you live in the world! Bealtaine Books and Maps are printed in Ireland and posted from Ireland to support the people of Ireland.

€19.00

 

Bealtaine Cottage Guide to the Deep Midwinter

A little Yuletide book filled with colour photographs, recipes, reflections, lore, poetry and mirth to guide you through the wonderful days ahead. Fifty pages of sheer delight from Bealtaine Cottage to you. The book is fully bound and can be posted direct as a gift. Price includes P&P worldwide. Bealtaine Books and Maps are printed in Ireland and posted from Ireland to support the people of Ireland.

€13.00

 

Magical Mythical Map of Bealtaine Cottage and Gardens

Beautiful map created by the artist David Gascoigne, especially for Bealtaine Cottage. The picture shows one side of the map…it is printed on both sides, see the photos on this page. The price includes all Postage and Packing to wherever you live in the world! Bealtaine Books and Maps are printed in Ireland and posted from Ireland to support the people of Ireland.

€10.00

Rustic and Free…Garden Ideas

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Everybody loves gardens!

DSC02454One of the flourishing businesses of our time is that of Garden Centres.

DSC02451I love walking around a Garden Centre, but can rarely afford to buy more than one or two plants…if that!

DSC02450But…I continue to develop the gardens here at Bealtaine Cottage…on a budget that more often than not hovers around the zero mark!

How is it done?

DSC02449With lots of inspiration from the greatest gardener of the lot, Mother Nature!

Lots of seeds and cuttings grow into plants that go to make the gardens, such as here by the front door.

DSC02448Home-made compost as well as compoost!

DSC02447Liquid fertiliser is always available…urine mixed 10:1 with spring water, (the cottage is fed by a Spring Well!).

DSC02446Old bits of wood, logs and tree stumps make wonderful edging.

DSC02445Broken terracotta pots and broken china help create the right effect in Rockery Gardens.

DSC02455House ornaments that are weather-proof help create the right atmosphere in the garden…

DSC02444Stones that are smooth…

DSC02443Stones that are big…

DSC02442Logs with mossy bits…

DSC02440Old candle holders topped with an old can of Sedums…

DSC02441Tree stumps with round stones atop…

DSC02439Silly concrete garden ornaments bought pre-loved at a Boot Fair and painted…

DSC02438…and more Sedums that tolerate neglect!

DSC02435Shells and broken bits of tiles…

DSC02434It’s a wonderful and fun way to create a small but interesting garden, where one wants to spend more time looking…

DSC02432Using wood and stone as well as a multitude of other materials helps create micro-climates where plants flourish.  

DSC02433Rustic gardens are full of texture and interest…

DSC02431Places where the old and unusual take on a new life…

DSC02429Like this old river stone in the shape of Gandalf’s hat!

DSC02427DSC02426DSC02425Garden pots and more ornamental shrubs can be incorporated too…

DSC02428I hope you make some of these ideas your own, for wildlife, especially Bees and insects benefit so much from rustic gardens!

DSC02422There are over eleven hundred blogs about Bealtaine Cottage and Gardens on this website, as well as over six thousand photographs…all free! 

Growing the BEALTAINE PROJECT one upload at a time…

Bealtaine Cottage Good Life membership is 12 euros per year and allows me a small income to continue to grow the Bealtaine Project both here in Ireland and in the hearts and minds of good people all over the world.

Please support…

 

Cottage Garden Style

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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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Bartering

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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!

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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?

The Romance of Gardening…falling for Gaia

A love story in pictures…

The misty hill of Ballyfermoyle***

Petunias in pot on veranda table***

Entrance to the Fairy Wood***

The Lodge at Bealtaine Cottage***

Roses on veranda at bealtaine cottage today***

Angel on Midsummer morning***

Bealtaine Cottage sign***

driveway at bealtaine Cottage***Sunset through the trees at Bealtaine Cottage***

veranda at bealtaine cottage***

pealtaine Cottage permaculture gardens***

Pond in May at Bealtaine Cottage***

Pond in the Bog Garden at Bealtaine Cottage 015

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Bee on Lunaria flower at Bealtaine Cottage***

Angel at Bealtaine Cottage***

Buddha under the Laurel arch at Bealtaine Cottage permaculture gardens***

Mist and trees in the permaculture gardens at Bealtaine Cottage***

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture***

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Midwinter mist at Bealtaine Cottage***

bealtaine Cottage in the snow***

Angel in the snow at Bealtaine Cottage

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Bealtaine Cottage Good Life is a mere 12 euros per year and allows me a small income, to keep doing what I love doing most…writing about Mother Earth and photographing her.

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Growing Food in Cottage Gardens

Roses at bealtaine cottageIt’s a perfect day for being in the garden, with just the right amount of sun and shade as the voluminous clouds drift overhead, sun shines full in between and there’s just a promise of rain!

roses on verandaThe roses on the veranda are hanging so low that one has to limbo-dance under them to get in and out of the cottage.

roses at bealtaine cottageIn doing this manoeuvre, one gets smothered in the most heavenly scent.

weed suppressing with cardboardMy friend, Terri brought lots of cardboard and seaweed from Connemara and I laid the cardboard down in the new orchard yesterday.

dealing with slugs, the seaweed methodThe seaweed is being spread on the Potager beds much to the disdain of the slugs…but they will move out, deeper into the gardens, where their voracious appetites will be welcomed!

bees and peas at bealtaine cottagePeas are podding…these are an Irish heritage variety and seeds will be saved!

Peas and Bees at Bealtaine CottageThe bees work hard here at Bealtaine Cottage to make sure I have harvests of abundance every year!

Young Kale in the Potager Beds at Bealtaine CottageKale and Broccoli are thriving in between herbs and flowers.

Potager bed at Bealtaine CottageGarlic stands ready to be harvested.

Young Pumpkins at Bealtaine CottageOnions are thriving and Pumpkins are finally rooting in and beginning to grow.

Roses at Bealtaine CottageCara, who now has Gloria, is delighted to report that the aforementioned hen adores slugs and eats 20-30 daily.

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Raspberries are coming into fruit.

Sweet Joe Pye at Bealtaine CottageSweet Joe Pye…food for the eye…soon to be in flower!

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Salads are continually harvested from the tunnel…mixed with much herbs and very tasty!

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Blackcurrants ripen towards a promise of Cordial, Wine, Jam and Chutney.

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Mother Earth knows no austerity!

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Thanks to all the friends of Bealtaine Cottage for subbing and supporting! In return I promise to keep filming and ensuring this channel and website remain FREE from Ads! Bealtaine Cottage Press publishes the following: 

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Heritage Seeds in a Cottage Garden

rocket stove in the permaculture gardenThe morning is dry and hot.

7am sees me boiling the kettle on the rocket stove, eager for fresh coffee.

The water is ready in under 10 minutes, from lighting the stove and inserting a handful of twigs.

As I walk back into the cottage a blackbird swoops noisily through the courtyard, followed by it’s assailant, another blackbird.

These birds are very territorial!

Ox-Eye Daisies in the permaculture gardensThe Dog Daisies are opening in the heat of the morning.

These magical flowers were used to treat madness and Smallpox during the middle ages!

Daisies in the gravel at Bealtaine CottageThese Ox-Eye Daisies were thrown onto this patch of gravel as seed two years ago and are ready to make a fine show this summer.

During the time of the early Christian church, this flower was dedicated to Mary Magdalen and became known as the Maudlin Daisy!

Ox-Eye daisies in the garden at Bealtaine CottageThey are lovely, wild flowers to grow in poor soil, but are not good for flower arrangements as they make a stink when cut and put into a vase.

I grow Shasta Daisies for that!

Using spent mushroom compost in the gardenMushrooms are growing up through the mushroom compost I spread a few weeks back…one of the benefits of collecting and spreading spent mushroom compost at this time of year!

Pea flowers at Bealtaine CottagePeas and Chard this morning in the Potager Beds.

The young peas are now in flower and looking strong and healthy!

Crimson flowered Broad beanThis is the beautiful crimson flowered Broad Bean, a heritage seed, vicia faba, this morning.

So delightful, it fits into the Potager gardens as a flower and a vegetable.

It’s wind tolerant as it only grows about a foot or so!

Red-flowered broad beans were described in seed lists in the late 18th century.

This variety was lost and appeared to have become extinct, until an elderly lady from Kent donated it to the Heritage Seed Library in 1978.

This red-flowered Broad Bean  had been grown by her  father, who was given the seeds during his childhood years a century earlier.

Monsanto eat your heart out, for this is what we gardeners do well…preserve the seed!

I shall be saving and posting this seed by the end of the summer!

ValerianValerian is now flowering around the cottage in wild abandon!

Wisteria in flower at Bealtaine CottageThe first ever flowers on the Wisteria…this was planted about 4 years ago.

Poppies in PermacultureThese Poppies have already seeded and are beginning to fall over, so need to be staked this morning.

More seeds to save…I shall be very busy from now through to the autumn, saving and cataloguing seed.

Thyme in flower at Bealtaine CottageThe hot, dry weather has encouraged the Thyme to flower outdoors.

Recent weeks have been so hot, that this potent, little herb thinks itself in the Mediterranean, where it once lived!

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Bealtaine Cottage is free and has over 1100 blogs, as well as over 15000 photographs.

 

Seeds…

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Magical Midwinter at the Cottage

Freezing fog surrounds Bealtaine Cottage.

Despite the cold, part of the day has been spent outdoors, tree-planting and dog walking.

Missy decided to remain indoors.

She has gotten rather snuffly again as she struggles with her condition.

She craves the warmth and sleeps a lot, bless her!

Once outside, adjusted to the cold with lots of layers, it’s a pleasant day with that magical midwinter light, as the sun travels low on the horizon.

You can see that the fog has partially lifted, though remains in the valley below, hugging the village of Keadue.

Lots of mixed and informal planting gives the gardens a colour and form all the year round, as you can see from today’s picture.

That’s Pyracantha in the foreground, with Buddleia and Copper Beech, Box and Bamboo, all vying for a space and standing up to the wind from the west!

Part of today was spent in hard graft…cutting back some of the Laurel Arch  on the path that leads from the cottage to the polytunnel and soft fruit gardens.

Winter is a busy time, as one attempts to keep on top of the crazy growth here in the west of Ireland.

The top needs to be cut back, but I shall leave that to another day!

However, look what was on the inside…a beautiful birds nest…so I walked quietly away!

My excuse to retreat indoors and make a big pot of tea!

An Autumn Afternoon in an Irish Cottage Garden

Colours of the season, dogwoods ablaze and Loosestrife turned to straw.

Birch and Beech turn earthy tones.

Near the lake, the cows move slowly in the afternoon heat, seeking shady spots to stand and stare.

Old driftwood from the ocean salutes the cottage.

The horses come to look over the fence, waiting for a treat they are sure to get!

A last flush of yellow on the Hypericum bush holds the moisture from the October air.

The Beech trees will cling onto their leaves for most of the winter, even though the life within has passed.

And little Newts seek a place to over-winter, resting on the back door mat as they make their path towards hibernation.