Summer Cottage

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The heat of the day subsides into late evening.

A gloriously hot and sultry summer day.

bealtainecottage.com (2)The birds appear to have wakened in the cool of evening, filling the air with song and calls, as though they’d spent the day in the shade of the nest, keeping still and cool.

bealtainecottage.com (3)The grass paths are mowed in the upper gardens and plants cut back to allow safe passage.

This is Ireland at her best, with long cool evenings complete with blue sky until nearly the witching hour. bealtainecottage.com (4)Just as the fragrant roses have gone over on the veranda, archways of roses burst into being.

Roses and Virginia Creeper support one another in a frenzy of growth.

bealtainecottage.com (5)Less than a week until the Midsummer Solstice and the Earth knows.


bealtainecottage.com (7)She sings a song of endless summer days and green abundance.

Seeds are forming.

bealtainecottage.com (8)Fruit develops and ripens.

bealtainecottage.com (9)Blackcurrants darken and plump out.

bealtainecottage.comGeraniums spill out from under Blackcurrant bushes.

bealtainecottage.com (10)Lady’s Mantle flowers and falls over, drunk with summer!

bealtainecottage.com (11)And the Bealtaine Angel is surrounded by rose petals at Summer Cottage.

Midwinter in an Irish Cottage

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Rain is falling, softly, silently, onto a warm land.

The air is still.

Birds sing out loud.

A touch of Spring is in the air as Midwinter approaches.

It often happens this way, birds singing in the still air near Solstice.

The cold is saved for January…the biting winds that bring the snow.

I have spent much time indoors, making cards and packaging seeds.

www.bealtainecottage.com 001This is a quiet, yet productive time, a chance to reflect as work proceeds.

www.bealtainecottage.com 004Yesterday was the last day for posting abroad in time for Christmas.

I am already thinking of the New Year, as I make these cards and planning out a few lovely walks to enjoy over Midwinter.

Walking at this time of year really clears the head and clarifies life in general.

There is a silence around Solstice that creates harmony in all things.

www.bealtainecottage.com 015The chimney in the kitchen remains blocked.

Armed with a borrowed crowbar, I shall attempt excavation of resin like tar this morning…something I’m not looking forward to!

Still, once cleared, the stove will heat the cool air and a sense of Yuletide be conjured up in a less smoky kitchen!

www.bealtainecottage.com 006The air is so still that even the Rocket Stove smokes and billows!

www.bealtainecottage.com 005After harvesting the seed from the Lunaria, translucent seed heads decorate the window ledge in the Lodge, and…

www.bealtainecottage.com 010Outdoors, in sheltered spots, the empty seed heads create interest and beauty…

www.bealtainecottage.com 008Despite the delicate beauty, the little flowers that produced these seed-heads are strong and enduring!

www.bealtainecottage.com 009Sheltered in the Laurel Archway…

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Planting for the Bees in a Permaculture Garden

London pride on the steps at Bealtaine Cottage

London Pride ready to open flower on the steps at Bealtaine Cottage.

Years of pushing and shoving by these delicate looking little plants have finally eradicated the creeping buttercup in the heavy clay soil.

Bees at Bealtaine Cottage

It’s at this time of year that bees are working hard and sometimes gardens are bereft of food for the bees.

Not here!

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I have a policy that is enshrined in Bealtaine cottage gardens…plant for the bees, the birds and then myself, always in that order!

Cordyline at Bealtaine Cottage IrelandOne of the plants that was so severely damaged by frost several years ago has made a comeback!

This is the tropical Cordyline, growing here thanks to the Gulf Stream.

That means an early start to the growing year and bees follow the same pattern, sometimes emerging as early as late February!

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So food at the ready is vital for them!

Ribes, or flowering currant, is a wonderful source of nectar for the hungry bees!

Missy and the wind spiral

The smallest bit of sunshine and the garden starts to look like paradise!

Missy passes a lush looking Comfrey.

Bee on Nasturtium flower at Bealtaine Cottage

The flowers of the Comfrey plant are truly Bee-Loved, as are the flowers of the humble and easy to grow Nasturtium!

The leaves of the Comfrey will be cut and scattered around the apple trees, creating a source of liquid feed as the rain falls…as it does frequently here in the West of Ireland!

Apple trees in blossom at Bealtaine Cottage permaculture orchard

These trees never disappoint, year after year, with heavy blossom and heavy crops of perfect apples that have never been sprayed…never!

The bees are busy into the night around the orchards.

So plant fruit trees for the bees too!

Apple tree underplanted with Blackcurrants in permaculture gardens of Bealtaine CottageThere are over 40 fruit trees planted throughout the permaculture gardens.

And here you can see the apple under-planted with blackcurrants…much Bee-Loved!

Honesty underplanted in the orchards of Bealtaine Cottage permaculture gardensVarious flowers are planted beneath these.

Here you can see Honesty in flower under the Blackcurrants…a delight for the bees and sweet-smelling too!

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I plant for bees and this is why there are consistently abundant crops here at Bealtaine Cottage.

In the case of the Cotoneaster above, food for the bees and the birds!

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The trick is to ensure there is succession planting for the bees.

Bee on Lunaria flower at Bealtaine Cottage

Hungry bees won’t hang around hungry gardens!

Do have a lovely weekend!

The Ascent Towards Midsummer…Bealtaine Permaculture Ireland

This could almost be a wedding arch…

There is a real problem here today with water, that is, lack of it!

Imagine saying that in April in Ireland…it would have seemed improbable only a few years ago, but this is the real state of affairs here at Bealtaine this morning!

The water in the spring well has dropped to a low that lowers the pressure on the gravity fed supply.

If you look at the ground around the arch, it appears quite dry.

 

Lunaria, Honesty, or Moon Pennies growing around the pathway.

This is a biennial plant that grows easily from seed and produces the most beautiful disc-shaped seed heads in the autumn, hence the name.

Bees love them as they are some of the earliest flowers in the garden.

If you look closely you can see some of the seedheads forming…

I have planted some of the pot growns from the tunnel out into the garden in an attempt to save them from drying out and dying…hopefully this will work as I prepared the beds some time ago and the moisture content in them should be high.

The tunnel is too hot to work in…so one just has to sit it out!

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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!