Magical Wild Herbs and Other Things

14

IMG_0153

Hawthorn is one of the sacred Ogham trees of Ireland. It goes by the name Huath in Irish,  being the tree that symbolises Bealtaine, the merry month of May! This is also a wonderful, magical herb of abundant medicine. Hawthorn, or whitethorn, is easily identifiable during this time as her creamy blossoms brighten hedgerows, stone walls, fields and sacred sites.

IMG_0087Hawthorn is also known as the fairy tree for it is believed, especially a solo tree in a field, that it is a place that fairies would stop to rest (or party!) as they traversed across the land.

IMG_0154

There was a frost this morning, as you can see from the roof of the cottage. Insulation in the loft keeps the frost on the roof. You can always tell a poorly insulated home from the state of the roof on frosty mornings!

IMG_0163

An icy cover on the rain barrel by the lodge!

IMG_0165Myself and Jack set off for a morning stroll in the woodland gardens.

IMG_0166

IMG_0167

IMG_0168

I was reminded of the many herbs growing freely at Bealtaine Cottage and all along the roadsides here in the west of Ireland, as I walked along the woodland paths.

IMG_0169Dandelion, another exceptional wild herb growing abundantly here, with Its young leaves that can be used to make a tea with potassium-saving diuretic properties, so very useful for treating people suffering from high blood pressure.

IMG_0170Consumption of the bitter leaves will also aid digestion and act as a general laxative, while eating the ground root helps detoxify the liver.

IMG_0172It’s good to remember that the sticky, milky- white latex contained within its stalks can be used externally to kill warts and veruccas.

IMG_0171

The fire pit near the cottage has lots of precious wood ash to be spread out into the gardens. I continue to burn some of the dried blackcurrant stems from last year.

IMG_0174

The tidy up continues as I move the rusted bin over to the back of the old compost heap near the tunnel.

IMG_0175There are many wild and naturalised herbs growing in this semi-wild area, such as Comfrey, Nettle and Wild Garlic. Sweet Bay is planted to the right of the path in this picture. The Potager Bed is filled with many other cultivated herbs, growing happily alongside their wild cousins!

IMG_0117

Growing here at Bealtaine Cottage, in damp, grassy places, from July to September, this majestic, sweet- scented perennial, Wild Angelica, is known as Gallfheabhrán in Irish. Here it is, covered in frost this morning…

IMG_0178Wild Angelica was eaten in past times as a vegetable and used for dyeing cloth.

IMG_0182Traditionally it was used to treat rheumatism, gout and indigestion or to flavour liqueurs.

IMG_0184It really is amazing the vast quantities of wild herbs that are growing all around us. We have forgotten many of them and know very little of the edibility and uses of many of the recognisable plants. You can see some of the Chives spilling out from one of the Potager beds here by the Sedum.

IMG_0186

The colour wash across the woodland gardens continues this morning, the second day of Samhain as the progression of winter moves across the land. Flat Parsley is visible to the front of the bed! I moved all the Nasturtiums this morning from near the old Hen House, as the great tidy-up continues.

IMG_0187

Burdock, Nettle and Meadowsweet all grow with wild abandon here at Bealtaine Cottage. Meadowsweet contains essential oils, flavonoids and tannins. It is renowned for its anti-inflammatory, astringent, diuretic, analgesic, and relaxant qualities. Just walking among it during the heady days of summer induces all of the above!

IMG_0188

Wild Oregano, or Marjoram, Yarrow, Coltsfoot and, Mullein…still in flower in the Lughnasadh Garden by the way!

IMG_0190

I shall post a photo of this over on the Twitter account for Bealtaine Cottage later on…

Bealtaine Cottage Goddess Permaculture Gardens

@PermaGoddess

IMG_0091

Plantain, Herb Robert and Feverfew can be added to the extensive list…I am now imagining a Bealtaine Book of Herbs and their uses, as I realise what a Herb Sanctuary this little acreage has blossomed into!

IMG_0090

IMG_0196

Books, map and calendar can be accessed through the link at the top of the website.

IMG_0197

The calendar is packed with 46 photographs! The months of the year are all in Irish and there is room enough to write notes and appointments daily.

IMG_0204

The map is printed back and front on thick card with beautiful detailed artwork just waiting to be coloured in!

IMG_0205

IMG_0206

IMG_0200

IMG_0203

IMG_0201

IMG_0202

Moon phases for 2019 and 2020 are all included!

The Magic of Autumn, A Permaculture Floor and Free Rose Arch

3

Irish Dresser

Pumpkins take pride of place on my dresser back in 2010.

There is a brilliant Pumpkin season underway here in the west of Ireland, with some of the biggest and best being grown outdoors, despite the lack of sun this summer.

There was an almost full moon in the southern sky last night and the sky was clear and blue this morning.

However, rain and storms are forecast!

The moon last night was strong enough to light up the back of the cottage.

It waxed and shone brightly.

I am busy harvesting onions, garlic, herbs, potatoes, chard and loads of Apples.

Nights are closing in and there’s even a little frost on the grass some mornings.

This is my favourite season!

I wanted to integrate re-cycling as a theme in my cottage.

I feel strongly about the amount of waste that happens every day in our lives…”throw it away”…but where is ‘away?’

We all live on this finite planet.

We share the oceans…they’re all connected.

We share the air, good grief, we share everything on this planet, though some are greedy beyond belief!

These broken tiles were going to be buried in a landfill site…I needed a floor…and so a connection was made between some like-minded people.

This is the result, much admired by visitors to the cottage…my floor, a statement of permaculture fusion, permaculture art maybe?

Making a Rose Arch in the garden needn’t cost a penny!

This Rambling Rose is supported by a Ribes hedge and a couple of lengths of Willow.

There are several different kinds of flowering shrubs on either side to support wildlife and biodiversity, which is probably the reason why my Apple Harvest this year and every other year is so bountiful!

Observation is a key element in Permaculture.

It is also a great friend of any gardener, for observing one’s garden allows one to continually create small and interesting places from what grows and shapes itself.

Archways will form naturally and give a good indication of what is possible in that space.

A kind of evolutionary gardening if you like!

According to the Irish Calendar which is based on ancient Celtic traditions, autumn lasts throughout the months of August, September, and October, or possibly a few days later, depending on tradition….so the first month of autumn is almost over!

There is a heavy harvest of all berries this year…sign of a cold winter to come…but the birds will be fed well as there are simply tons of berries here at Bealtaine Cottage.

I began my work here providing nuts for the birds in feeders all over the gardens, but the shrubs and trees planted are all producing more than adequate food for the birds and all wildlife, so the bird-feeders have all been passed on.