Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, biodiversity, Ecology, Garden, Gardening, Gardens, Inspiration, Ireland, Permaculture, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Wild Flowers, Woodland

The Permaculture Challenge

IMG_0057This is the tenth anniversary of Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture Smallholding.

IMG_0002It’s hard to believe that ten years ago this was a desolate cottage on three acres of the poorest agriculture land imaginable.

permaculture at Bealtaine CottageWet, north-facing, thin, dauby soil promised little in the way of growing.

www.bealtainecottage.comIt was a challenge few in their right minds would have contemplated, let alone sink their life savings into, as well as borrowing from the bank!

DSCF1274But, I fell in love with the land, for it looked immeasurably forlorn and abandoned.

www.bealtainecottage.comMy approach was simple…it was holistic, nothing was separated or apart…all was connected and that included being connected to me, as the new caretaker and caregiver.

www.bealtainecottage.comI have never taken a Permaculture course, but read every book on the subject and applied the principles. Autumn 2013 at Bealtaine Cottage 015As a teacher I had created environmental gardens in primary school grounds in London, bringing Mother Nature to children living, in many cases, remote from Mother Nature and all her wonders!

www.bealtainecottage.comIn the early days I was physician and surgeon, intensive care nurse and visitor, channeling all my energy and hope into the sick land.

DSCF0813Working on my own was a blessing, for the land took all my time and love.

Autumn 2013 at Bealtaine Cottage 002
After ten years, this once barren little place is one of the most fertile and productive pieces of land in all of Ireland…in fact I would like to issue a challenge to The Botanical Gardens in Dublin and it is this: Bealtaine Cottage has more biodiversity in it’s flora and fauna than the Botanical Gardens, Dublin!

Dog Daisy benchVisit and prove me wrong!

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And in the beginning there was only this…

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Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Cats, celebrations, Celtic Mythology, Celts, Christmas, Cottage, Country Living, Family, Folklore, History, Inspiration, Ireland, Life, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Spirituality, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Winter

Winter Solstice Gathering at Bealtaine Cottage

winter solstice 2012 at Bealtaine Cottage

Fires are lit and food prepared for this, the longest night of the year…the Gathering at Bealtaine Cottage.

Loved ones meet again to join the celebration from as far away as Canada, London, Belfast and Dublin.

Missy, the solstice catA night to gather around the fire and light the candles around the home.

Missy has found her warm spot and will not be moved…we celebrate around her!

The Solstice Feast at Bealtaine CottageAs preparations for the winter feast are under way, we join together in toasting the year and the time to come.

In Latin, solstice means sun set still. This is the still night, the silent night, the longest night of the year…

The turn of the wheelWinter Solstice is the great stillness before the turning, as the days grow longer.

yuletide tree decked with lights at Bealtaine CottageThe cottage is small, so the tree stands on the veranda outside the window.

This is the celebration of the silent night, a sacred time of rest before the awakening, and the slow build toward longer days.

solstice treeThe human race has observed the solstice for millennia.

This night is a continuation of that sacred tradition.

Inside the cottage Tomorrow we are past the dark and facing into the light.

The ascent to Spring will begin once more.

Happy Solstice Everyone!

Posted in Abundance, Eco-Living, Garden, Gardening, Inspiration, Permaculture, Smallholding, Uncategorized

Permaculture Cottage ~ Passionate Gardeners and Outdoor Living

Passionate and gardening are two words that seem to fit seemlessly together.

There were three visitors to Bealtaine this morning and as walking around became enthused to talk of their own gardens! One had brought a photo album to show me…and it was well worth a look, as there were shots taken from just about every angle of her small garden in Dublin. it reminded me of a garden I once tended in London. It was an old garden, created when the house was first built around 1795, so the porportions were conducive to the size of the house…a Georgian Artisan Cottage.

We all had tea on the veranda, deciding that the outdoors was where it was at!

When I lived in London it became a Saturday ritual to go to the local park and the Teahouse therein for an early morning coffee…just to be outdoors! Summer and Winter alike, the same glorious ritual applied and more often than not it was shared with friends and family.

It is always the little cafe or teashop I go in search of…the big franchise, multi-national , always the same, just does NOT do it for me…!

Trying to control nature is not an aspect of personality of the passionate gardener…well, not that I have found! Valerian has found its own way up by the side of the tool-shed and there it will continue! Putting down a mulch or a sheet to stop growth of weeds is as much control as I have it in me to exercise…apologetically I may add…

Mulching around a garden sculpture, (home-made), using freshly shredded waste…

And mulch will keep the no-dig beds looking neat and work-free!

Some of the new beds this morning…mulched paths in between work really well and cost zero to make!