Posted in Cottage, Country Living, Culture, Frugal Living, Inspiration, Life, Lifestyle, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Uncategorized, Wild Flowers

Garden design using white-washed stones.

It is standard permaculture practice to use whatever is to hand when constructing features in the garden.

I happen to live in a part of West Ireland where there is a surplus of stone…in fact there is stone just about everywhere.

This is a very rocky part of Ireland and is in fact very beautiful for it.

However, when making a small garden, and in this case it was one by the entrance to the cottage near the public road, then it made perfect sense to collect up some stones and white-wash them.

That way the edges are marked out well for passing cars to note and stay clear from!

I used a traditional lime mixed with water and left to sour for a few days.

This is a very cheap and easy way to create an effective white paint and as it washes down into the soil over the course of time it actually benefits the plants growing there!

The cost of making this little garden was almost zero…about one euro in total!

Here’s how it looks…click on the link to view today’s video diary from Bealtaine Cottage…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kpZ92T1ws-0

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Bees, Bloom, Cottage, Country Living, Garden, Gardening, Leitrim, Permaculture, Uncategorized, Wild Flowers, Wildlife

Free From The Bank…Permaculture Plants, The Growing Investment!

It’s rare to get anything from a bank these days.

Investments and savings are accepted, while little is offered to customers!

However, my local bank, in Carrick-on-Shannon, provided me with one of the best growing investments I have ever had…and one that continues to grow and spread rampantly…Valerian.

To be honest, I stole them!

Now that’s a confession I should not be making, but in this case, as the seeds did not belong to Monsanto, I felt it was my duty to snap them off and spread them as generously as I could, all around Bealtaine Cottage.

Anyway, six or so years later, the seeds continue to spread, of their own volition and infest the gravel with delight, for me and the Bees!

Here they are…Click on the link to see the best investment anyone can make…investing in Nature and the environment…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IeJ92Su4Ssg

Posted in Garden, Growing Food, Herbs, Inspiration, Permaculture, Spirituality, Spring, Uncategorized

Look Who Visited Bealtaine Cottage on Friday!

Country Views
United States FlagUnited States 344
United Kingdom FlagUnited Kingdom 67
Ireland FlagIreland 42
Canada FlagCanada 26
Sweden FlagSweden 18
Denmark FlagDenmark 9
Australia FlagAustralia 4
Italy FlagItaly 3
India FlagIndia 3
Slovenia FlagSlovenia 2
Belgium FlagBelgium 2

This is the new feature on WordPress and it is just fascinating…a breakdown of visitors to Bealtaine Cottage on Friday.

I love to look at statistics, as these represent real people in real time…and from all over the world!

Seedlings are springing up all over the tunnel, some in pots like these and others in the long beds where they have germinated in the compost.

A little pic from April last year, showing the Kanzan Cherry Tree in blossom…I am hoping for an even better dislaly this year!

Feverfew coming up in the gravel driveway…I must admit to being rather naughty and deliberately shaking seed from plants all over the gravel…I shall NEVER get my driveway tarmaced! That would be the end of such fun!

The delightful little buds on the Hawthorn hedgerow are fast becoming leaves as they unfurl in the bright warmth of an Irish Spring…

Posted in Cats, Cottage, Country Living, Gaia, Garden, Uncategorized

Missy on the Garden Tour at Bealtaine Cottage

Awoke to a glorious morning and a warm, sunny day! Seriously!

I was expecting a delivery of gravel to top-dress the driveway after seven years of wear and tear!

I spent some time harvesting willow, as you can see from the pic.

As I waited, I decided to go for a walk around the gardens, followed by Missy!

I try to post a blog from Bealtaine every day…sometimes this can prove impossible, but according to the WordPress Stats., just issued :
In 2011, there were 357 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 645 posts.

The busiest day of the year was December 7th with 648 views. The most popular post that day was Christmas Hearts and Bird’s Nests….

Missy was happy to follow me around the gardens at the front of Bealtaine.

Buds are thickening, birds singing and daffodils ready to open…it is strange to see!

I came across this wonderful piece of writing yesterday and tried to tweet parts of it, but anyway, here it is in full! It spoke to me deep in my heart…

“Now we are at the very end of our trail. Many people no longer recognize the true path of the Great Spirit. They have, in fact, no respect for the Great Spirit, or for our precious mother earth, who gives us all life.

We were instructed in our ancient prophecy that this would occur. We were told that someone would try to go up to the moon; that they would bring something back from the moon; and after that, nature would show signs of loosing its balance. Now we see that coming about. All over the world there are now signs that nature is no longer in balance. Floods, droughts, earthquakes and great storms are occurring and causing much suffering……

There are many of you in this world who are honest people. We know you spiritually for we are the ‘Men’s Society Grandfathers’ who have been charged to pray for you and all life on earth, never forgetting anything or anyone in our ceremonials. Our prayer is to have a good happy life, with plenty of soft, gentle rain for abundant crops. We pray for balance on earth to live in peace and leave a beautiful world to the children yet to come. We know you have good hearts but good hearts are not enough to help us out with these great problems.

So many people have come to us to Hopiland to meet with us. Some of you we have met on your lands. Many times people have asked how they can help us. Now I hope and pray that your help will come. If you have a way to spread the truth, through newspapers, radio, books, through meeting with powerful people – tell them the truth! Tell them what you know to be true. Tell them what you have seen here; what you have heard us say; what you have seen with your own eyes. In this way, if we do fall, let it be said that we tried, right up to the end, to hold fast to the path of peace as we were originally instructed by the Great Spirit. Should you really succeed, we will realize our mistakes of the past and return to the true path – living in harmony as brothers and sisters, sharing our mother, the earth, with all other living creatures.

In this way we could bring about a new world. A world which would be led by the Great Spirit, and in which our Mother will provide plenty and happiness for all.”
– Chief Dan Evahema of the Tradi

The driveway is in need of that gravel, for sure!

“Love all of God’s creation, the whole of it and every grain of sand in it. Love every leaf, every ray of God’s light. Love the animals, love the plants, love everything. If you love everything, you will perceive the divine mystery in things. Once you have perceived it, you will begin to comprehend it better every day, and you will come at last to love the world with an all-embracing love.”
– Fyodor Dostoyevski
Posted in Abundance, Ecology, Food, Garden, Growing Food, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Permaculture in Ireland, Uncategorized

Permaculture Sunday…Apples, Sweetcorn and more seedlings

More logs wait to be carted around to the barn and stacked ready for the cold winter days ahead!

Valerian grown from seed continues to flower and will do all summer and into the autumn all the time that the seedheads are removed…

Something else grown from seed here at Bealtaine…this gorgeous Poppy this morning in full bloom, all red and frilly like the Folly Bergere!

Blackcurrants and Sage in the Nursery area, again grown from seeds, so 100% permaculture at Bealtaine plants to come. Both of these plants grow very easily from seed scattered into limestone gravel and left to overwinter, before being pricked out and potted on…how simple is that?

This is one of the many apple trees snapped this morning. The harvest is coming on well, with plans for lots of Apple Chutney! The trees continue to be fed with mulched comfrey and nettles.

Painted Mountain, Native American Sweetcorn is a real success in the tunnel, with lots of heads coming to maturity. Definitely one to save seed from!

The Aloe Vera on the sitting room window has had babies!

Posted in Abundance, Bloom, Cottage, Garden, Gardening, Ireland, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Smallholding, Summer, Uncategorized, Wild Flowers

Notes from a Cottage…West of Ireland Permaculture.


The land across the smallholding that is Bealtaine Cottage, is very wet indeed. Too wet to do much, except admire the tremendous growth that has taken place recently! The paths are closing in and so I spent about two hours this morning out with my shears, clipping frantically between showers…about a third done, not bad!

Despite the rain the redcurrants are on course for ripening at their usual pace and time…around the first week in June or thereabouts. Although Bealtaine has become something of a wildlife sanctuary over the seven years of its’ existence, most of the fruits are left on the bushes and trees and have never required netting…that’s what abundance does, provides plenty for all!

Bealtaine has hundreds of metres of paths…one day I will measure them all!

Part of the front gardens on the north side of the smallholding, today.

The cottage sits snugly in the permaculture gardens, zones 1-5.

Dog Daisies on the driveway, with lots of insects on and around them. I shake seed from the flowers onto the gravel, so each year they spread a little further…and they’re wild flowers!

Brilliant colour on the Valerian, another seeded flower on the driveway. Each year I shake more seed further down the driveway and these beautiful flowers just appear!

The delicate blooms of LondonPride line the steps at the back of the cottage. These are perennials and spread every year, now lining the steps and spilling out over them.

Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Bloom, Climate, Cottage, Dublin, Food, Garden, Growing Food, Inspiration, Ireland, Organic Garden, Permaculture, polytunnel gardening, Smallholding, Summer, Uncategorized, Wild Flowers

This Morning in the Permaculture Garden and Tunnel at Bealtaine

The storms continue and at times the wind abates for just long enough to get outdoors without being battered by the gusts!

The Sedums planted in and around the old fireplace are now thriving since the rain came…these are ideal for planting on green roofs and will tolerate drought and flood equally well.

Peachy Poppies are peeping through in all corners of the tunnel…abundant in its permaculture state!

The Nectarine tree is loaded down…some of these may have to be removed!

Self-seeded Valerian is blooming in the gravel around the cottage, despite the storms and rain!

Posted in Cottage, Country Living, Earth, Gaia, Garden, Gardening, Ireland, Leitrim, Permaculture, Roscommon, Sligo, Smallholding

Saturday in the Permaculture Garden.

Valerian coming into flower today at Bealtaine. The rain continues, almost unabated, raising the water table and pushing the water in my spring well down towards the cottage. Spent quite some time bringing water across to the tunnel to give the plants a good drenching!

Valerian growing along the west gable wall from seed scattered into the gravel…one of many reasons why permaculture and tarmac are not good mates!

Sprays of Hawthorn blossom hang in swathes around the hedgerows at the cottage. The flowers of this tree release a certain chemical which is good for the heart and it is recommended to breath deeply around these gorgeous blossoms!

I’m hoping that the roses will go on for longer this year, as they have a tendency to flower early in the summer. This has certainly been the best year yet for the blooms.