Posted in Art, Bealtaine Cottage, Blessing, celebrations, Cottage, Garden, hens, Inspiration, Permaculture, Spring, Wildlife

Easter in a Permaculture Garden…700th Post!

www.bealtainecottage.com

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!

Posted in Angels, Bealtaine Cottage, Buddha, Cottage, Garden, Ireland, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Summer, Trees, Uncategorized

May Morning in Ireland

Porch door at Bealtaine Cottage

A May morning at Bealtaine Cottage.

Looking through the front door, the sky is grey, but the trees are all greening up!

Back door at Bealtaine Cottage

The roses on the veranda are ready to burst into bloom quite soon!

Arabica floods the stone walls of the Angel planter and Poppies are still bulbous eggs waiting to open near the Buddleia.

Colour is just waiting to spring forth!

Pink tulips at Bealtaine Cottage

These are the Tulips this morning at the back of the cottage under one of the Beech trees.

The early morning rain sits atop the still closed petals.

Laneway at Bealtaine Cottage

The drive-way up to the cottage is filling out with greens, reds and whites as the trees take on their new mantles of summer cover.

Parsley growing at Bealtaine Cottage beside old iron kettle

Parsley and peas growing in one of the raised Potager beds at the back of the cottage this morning.

You can see the shreddings and seaweed!

Metal table and chairs at Bealtaine Cottage

I recently moved the garden table and chairs to this sheltered little spot near one of the Potager raised beds…near enough to the back door to nip out with my tea!

Honesty under the arch at Bealtaine Cottage

Lots of Honesty, (Lunaria), in bloom this morning under the shelter of the Laurel arch.

Crocosmia, Columbine and Geranium are growing up alongside.

flowers in a pot at Bealtaine Cottage

These little rockery flowers have blossomed in this earth pot for years now.

They sit atop an old iron fireplace filled with shamrock and watched over by Buddha.

Posted in Abundance, Bees, biodiversity, Birds, Country Living, Earth, Ecology, Food, Garden, Growing Food, Inspiration, Life, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Self-Sufficiency, Uncategorized, Woodland

Abundance in the Edible Gardens Today.

Cloud and rain, interspersed with brilliant sunshine as the gardens move into their total abundance period as we approach midsummer.

A cold wind is blowing from the East, but the edible gardens are well sheltered with the warm micro-climate protected by the abundance of growth in the trees, hedging and shrubs.

These are the plants near my desk inside the cottage, on a north-facing window ledge.

I’m heading outside to embrace the morning, armed with tea and camera, followed by two cats…Jack and Flo have already been out for their walk!

Looking back at the cottage before I move through the Laurel Arch and into the Edible Gardens.

I love the colours on the Purple Beech as the leaves collide with the Rosa Rugosa, Sedge and vibrant, lime-green Crocosmia Montbretia!

Willow archways continue to strengthen as the new growth develops.

There are masses of Blackcurrants and Jostaberries growing all around the Willow…appearing to enjoy the company.

Both tolerate shade and damp, in fact, thriving on it!

And then the sun explodes onto the gardens, making everything appear in glorious technicolour!

Lush and abundant, Nature puts forth her expression of sheer joy.

Birds sing and Bees buzz.

No Monsanto here, or Dow or any other enemies of Nature…they are banished!

Apples and soft fruits are plentiful, as they were before the invention of odious chemicals.

No sprays or any other form of ecocide.

Nature is well able to look after herself, for at Bealtaine Cottage, she is officially off the critical list and life support machine that is corporate greed!

Bees find their way from flower to flower in the permaculture gardens of Bealtaine Cottage.

Archways of roses that have cost nothing more than encouragement of a slip from a rose.

And paths of wild flowers and herbs that lead one towards the deepest and most intimate recesses of Nature…

Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Food, Gaia, Garden, Growing Food, Herbs, Inspiration, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Smallholding, Uncategorized, Wild Flowers

Permaculture Cottage ~ Oregano, Hippocrates and Herbs

The hips of the Rosa Rugosa are yet to turn red.

Rugosa rose is widely used as an ornamental plant. As a seaside plant it is invaluable as it can tolerate the salty wind and storms really well.

The sweetly scented flowers are used to make pot-pourri in Japan and China,  where it has been cultivated for about a thousand years. This grows well here at Bealtaine Cottage.

The other rose growing abundantly here at Bealtaine is the Rosa Canina, or Dog Rose.

During world war two, the shortage of fresh fruit and vegetables was having an adverse effect on the nation’s health,  so the call went out for the collection and distribution of rose hips  from the hedgerows, as they provided the highest home-grown source of Vitamin C.

In response, the government organised a nationwide initiative to collect roadside rose hips which, with the help of the Women’s Institutes, were processed into syrup for babies and children.

Oregano is an important culinary herb, used for the flavor of its leaves, which can often be more flavourful when dried than fresh. It has an aromatic, warm and slightly bitter taste, which can vary in intensity. Factors such as climate, seasons and soil composition may affect the aromatic oils present.

The leaves are most often used in Greece to add flavour to Greek salad, and is usually added to the lemon-olive oil sauce that accompanies many fish or meat barbecues and some casseroles. I grow heaps of this lovely herb and dry it for daily use all the year round. It is a mainstay of my cooking, especially tomato sauces!

Hippocrates used oregano as an antiseptic, as well as a cure for stomach and respiratory ailments.

Oregano is high in antioxidant activity, due to a high content of phenolic acids and flavonoids. The flowers can be dried and used in tea and as it is a good antiseptic it is useful to stave off colds during the winter.

The easy to grow corm, Crocosmia, this evening at Bealtaine Cottage. The chains of corms are fragile and easily separated, a quality that has enabled some species to become invasive and difficult to control in the garden. However, I welcome invasive flowers…less weeds!They are commonly known in the United States as coppertips or falling stars, and in Britain as montbretia. Crocosmia are winter-hardy in Ireland. They can be propagated through division, removing offsets from the corm in spring.

It’s hard to believe that this is not a garden flower…but the beautiful herb, Chives. This plant has been flowering since the middle of Spring! Chives (Allium schoenoprasum) are the smallest species of the edible onions.

Chives are a commonly used household herb, frequently grown in gardens. In culinary use, chives leaves (straws) are shredded for use as a seasoning for fish, potatoes, soups, and other dishes. Chives have insect-repelling properties that can be used in gardens to control pests.I think they make great border edging plants as well!