Last year I planted a new orchard at Bealtaine Cottage.
To date there are thirty eight fruit trees planted across the three acres of land here.
This new orchard was planted on an area previously fenced off and used for hens over a period of years.
This is always a good start, as the land was prepared by the hens in terms of manuring and picking over.
Before the trees were planted I laid down a generous spread of seaweed and covered this with cardboard, to hold back the weeds for a year or so.
Over the morning I have been planting yet more layers into the orchard, mainly flowers and herbs to attract and feed the bees…my secret of abundant harvests; where would we be without the bees?
The next phase will include planting a bee-friendly hedge along the south edge of the area.
I planted Fuschia and Berberis, Dogwood and Rubus along the north edge.
As I cut back around the orchard, cuttings are dropped onto the ground around the trees and bushes as a mulch. The planting continues as more and more flowers and herbs are brought from my small nursery area, a really important part of any permaculture garden or smallholding!
As with all my projects here at Bealtaine, I couldn’t resist using some Willow to effect, constructing a simple arbour that will eventually house a home-made bench, on which to sit and sup a cup of tea! The plan of maximum planting has worked well all over the land here, building resilience as well as fertility into the land, as a forest does naturally.
The days have been warm and sunny, with the back door open all day long.
There is such a good balance of biodiversity here that flies don’t seem to be a bother…this can be a serious Irish complaint during the summer months!
I pulled the sofa chair over to the open door as I find the soft sounds of life in the gardens very soothing.
Sammy does too!
The idea of planting food trees is taking off here in the west of Ireland.
My local town of Drumshanbo has planted a Community Orchard near the entrance to the town…a great Transition Towns inspiration!