My Wildest Dreams

IMG_0096Bees are declining all over the world, for multiple reasons.
The most serious one in my estimation is habitat loss, fragmentation and degradation…in other words… Homelessness!
IMG_0097This is not a problem at Bealtaine Cottage, as Bee habitat and food source creation was implemented in the early years of the Bealtaine project.

IMG_0087As a direct consequence of this, the gardens at Bealtaine Cottage are thriving!

This is a part of the new Lughnasadh Garden, created especially for the bees and butterflies.

IMG_0046One only has to plant it and they will come! One only has to be a little untidy and they will create a home!

IMG_0085Sadly, many gardeners are not aware of the ways in which habitat and food source can be secured and managed for wildlife.  Here I’ve planted Blueberry bushes, and heaped mulch around them…a possible habitat! The flowers are pollinated by bees and in return I get masses of fruit!

IMG_0098However, some time spent observing Nature can be very empowering and planting near the cottage means I get to sit and watch the bees and butterflies as well as discover more about their feeding habits.

IMG_0089 In planning and planting this new garden, I observed a quiet respect for “nooks and crannies,” …stones, logs, small mounds…all areas of potential habitat. When cutting back the Jostaberry, above, I stacked the cut wood underneath the bush as potential habitat. Some species of Butterflies can over-winter, (leaf piles are particularly good!) and guess what…I got to see two butterflies in the garden at the end of March!

The sight of new and first butterflies in spring is a joyful, reaffirming vision of hope.

IMG_0080Water availability, layers of plants, trees, shrubs, a succession of flowers for the majority of the year…and much more was taken into the planning and planting of the garden. Habitat and food are the main drivers in my planning and planting.

The trending emphasis, when it comes to bee-decline, seems to be on bee-keeping rather than bee-habitat…the latter being something that each of us can do something about.

bees and peas at bealtaine cottageFor my part, I don’t keep bees…they keep me…and all are wild and free!

A Cottage and Three Acres…the book, available now.

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The cost of the book is 21.00 euros, plus 5.50 P&P for addresses in Ireland, 6.50 P&P the rest of the world.

Thus books posted to Ireland, total cost 26.50 euros

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Building an Ark…One Garden At ATime

dsc03401As the thousand and more trees and thousands of plants of the Bealtaine Project grow taller and more dense, so it is the once barren land seems more and more as it is…an Ark for Earth, set into a monoculture landscape of Cash-Crop-Forestry and  animal grazing fields.

dsc03400This summer witnessed the most Bees, Butterflies, Pollinators and Birds ever!

dsc03399The wildlife in search of home are migrating to the oasis of Bealtaine Cottage.

dsc03398They know where the food, shelter and ultimate habitat is to be found!

dsc03397So, I thought to myself, what if those with gardens, allotments, smallholdings etc., pledged to devote a percentage of what they tend or own to wildlife?

dsc03396 We are talking Arks, where wildlife can not only survive, but thrive!

dsc03395This takes the presumption that one cannot make a difference and turns it on it’s ridiculous head! dsc03394For one can make a difference!

dsc03393Two can double that little Ark for Earth…hundreds can create a huge difference and thousands…well, thousands can begin to stack the odds in favour of Mother Earth!

dsc03392Now don’t get me thinking of hundreds of thousands or even millions, for my head will almost explode with possibilities…but you see where this is going, don’t you?

dsc03391 And as for Guerrilla Gardening…oh joy!

dsc03390 What about seed bombs chucked out of the car window onto the motorway verges?

dsc03389We are creative people who care…if you’ve landed here on this website you most certainly are!

dsc03388So let’s get to it!

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And, by the way, if I’d listened to all the experts on where one can and cannot successfully plant a garden, never mind three acres, the Bealtaine Project would still be on the back-burner with little hope of ever happening!

dsc03386Oh, and the Lughnasadh Garden is being worked on little by little, with a grand opening and dedication ceremony next Bealtaine (May 1st)

dsc03385…the Ark is being extended…

dsc03372…One Garden At A Time

dsc03381and…it’s going to be mighty!

The Cottage in the Woods

Winter edges away slowly, with lighter mornings and longer days.

The Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine Cottage have emerged this year into the Permaculture Woods.

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However, I’ve got to admit that I’ve been flagging recently!

A combination of the time of year, family commitments and basically just trying too hard to do too much!

The saying goes, “spreading yourself too thin on the ground”, or something like that…well, that’s me!

I’m done for!

I would love to take a few days off and lounge about in my Jim-Jams, but…well, you know me by now…!

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So, in keeping with the time of year I’ve been painting, cutting, tidying the land and planting.

As you can see here, the back wall of the cottage has been (almost) finished…though I’ve run out of paint and will have to colour match, as I mixed the paint from leftovers.

Still, an old cottage can get away with mismatches…shabby chic!

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The weather has been fairly mild and despite some snow earlier in the month, it’s not been too cold.

I spent some time cleaning up the steps, removing the willow fedge, as it became too shaded by overhanging trees to grow as it should and was dying off.

Clearing other parts of the land I came across yet more stone, so have tidied the edges of the steps with some dry stone walling.

This is a lovely habitat for beetles, snails and small mammals…adding to the immense biodiversity build up here over ten years.

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Some shrubs and bushes near the cottage are looking a bit unruly…these I shall neaten up before the spring is over.

Bealtaine now sits among trees and each year becomes more like the cottage in the woods.

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To be too tidy a gardener is to deny entry to your garden to many beneficial creatures, as well as food for the birds!

Here I have thrown some rotting logs in under the hedge, where all life in the vicinity will benefit. There may well be some mushrooms in the near future as well.

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The leaves of the Hypericum have kept green all winter.

I shall prune this a little to keep a shape in it, as some order near to the cottage looks pleasant.

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“…I hear the sounds of melting snow outside my window every night and with the first faint scent of spring, I remember life exists…”
John Geddes, A Familiar Rain

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“A tree can be tempted out of its winter dormancy by a few hours of southerly sun—the readiness to believe in spring is stronger than sleep or sanity.”
Amy Leach, Things That Are 

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Aquilegia has begun to grow…this is one of the first flowers of Spring and great for early rising bees.

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The all too tidy gardener will also miss these wonderful flowerings of Moss on small standing stones.

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And leaves that are busy creating woodland paths in a garden evolving fast into much welcome woodland.

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I keep the stove in the sitting room burning as I work outside, for it’s a welcoming and warm place to retreat to now and again.

Just to sit by the fire is relaxing.

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And one learns over the years to pace oneself…knowing when it’s time to down tools and go indoors…this I need to remember to do a little more!

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There’s a heap of work to get through before settling down for the evening.

And, as a gorgeous girl in a big dress once said, “Tomorrow is another day!”

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I write to encourage, help and inspire mindfulness for our beautiful world and have photographed and written over 870 blogs on the Bealtaine Cottage site, as well as over 110 videos on YouTube…all free from advertising!

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Blessings

Permaculture Cottage ~ A Walk on the Wild Side

Ivy loops and twirls around the trees in the Fairy Dell woodland. Ivy that feeds the birds in the depths of midwinter. Ivy that shelters the pheasant in the heat of midsummer. Strong, natural and wild…

Ivy and Lichens, so perfect in the gardens at Bealtaine that it can only be the hand of Nature…no gardener can create this perfection…

Another sacred part of the land at this permaculture smallholding…a small field of Devil’s-bit Scabious, the natural habitat of the rare Marsh Fritillary Butterfly. Nature working her pure magic and being encouraged at every turn!

Now is the time to plant Willow. This is something which is easy to do and will serve the eco-system around you well. So many insects, birds and bees depend on this plant. Simply cut a wand of Willow and push it into the ground as far as you can…about 1-2feet will do! Manure it well and it will grow fast and strong! Some people surround it with plastic to stop weeds and grass, but, personally I do not approve of this as the earth under plastic is not beneficial to wildlife and anyway, the Willow will soon shade out any unwanted weeds!

Cotoneaster…planted, but soon takes on the mantle of wildness and becomes a feeding station for birds and insects alike!

From Reproductive to Extractive Growing…What Lies Ahead…

The permaculture students have all left, making their way home filled with enthusiasm and plans for what lies ahead…and that is what a permaculture course does for one…giving hope for a future where the land is viewed as to be looked after and nurtured…

The word ‘ecology,’ comes from the word ‘oikos,’ which means house or habitat.

Ecology is something we have to understand fully before we can begin to implement the changes that are necessary to preserve our environment and nurse it back to health.

Our resource base is what forms our ecology, or home…energy and materials.

All primitive communities relied on renewable energy.

Industrialism reversed the pattern and way of life followed for millenia by our ancestors.

Since industrialisation, we have used non-renewable energy and have done so to our own peril!

The way in which we view the earth has moved from feudalism to capitalism and has marked the end of the collective view of our resource base and the start of a much more egotisitical and self-centred view  of the world around us.

Not for the better, I hasten to add!

So, what happens when humanity has spent over a 150 years or more living off the capital instead of the interest?

The advent of industrial capitalism has changed the way in which we regard and relate to our environment.

We speak of the earth’s resources as ‘raw material,’ with little respect for the land which produces it.

And as we hurtle down this path of eventual destruction, Gaia struggles to maintain a balance…all is fast becoming unbalance and anarchic.

Biodiversity is lost to the devastation that is ‘economic growth!’

 The very essence of our survival is biodiversity.

Permaculture is the only model that provides abundantly and increases biodiversity as it does!

Wild Orchids and Abundance Growing @ Bealtaine Permaculture Cottage, Ireland

Found this morning on a bank at Bealtaine…the first Orchid of the year and I think this is the Green Winged Orchid that can be found only in occasional habitats here in Ireland. The flowers should open up today…when I shall take another pic and post later…it’s exciting!

The flower head of Lunaria, (Honesty) is about to open…one of my favourite flowers.

Cherry Blossom this morning.

All these photos show a richness, an abundance…which is strange considering the fact I am a pauper, a word I laugh heartily at! Abundance is what happens when you start to give. It’s a form of energy. Perhaps the energy that was alluded to in all the Creation Myths. The Garden of Eden story for example. Anyone who has visited Bealtaine will have experienced Abundance. Everything has to be shared simply because there is so much of it. The more I give away, the more grows…and with less and less effort!

Apple blossom today at Bealtaine…just when I thought that last year was a bumper crop of all time, the same trees are heavy with blossom promising even more…Abundance!

One of the Plum Trees in blossom today…

One of the many Blackthorn Trees in blossom this morning…plentiful Sloes this Autumn!