Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Cats, Garden, Inspiration, Ireland, Permaculture, Sustainable Living

Cottage and Gardens

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Morning at Bealtaine Cottage is a lazy affair as far as the cats are concerned.

No sooner do I get out of bed than the cats find a warm spot to snooze away the morning!

www.bealtainecottage.comThe morning was dry and with no threat of rain, it was important to get into the garden and get some more work done.

Most of the work is coppicing and logging, to make a new wood pile, ready for next winter.

www.bealtainecottage.comI am yet to get down to the Bog Garden and clear around the ponds and besides which, my waders have sprung a leak!

I shall wait until the weather warms up and then do a summer clear.

Moss has grown everywhere over the course of a wet Autumn and Winter.

It’s possible to collect bags of it just on the gravel on the lane-way!

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Masses of buds everywhere, especially here on the Red Robin (Photinia).

I cut it back quite hard last Autumn!

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Cleaning the steps and pruning back the Beech trees and roses.

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Another eight weeks or so and the London Pride on either side of the steps will be in bloom.

The Willow fedge will be growing and greening!

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Euphorbia is greening and growing…and spreading a lot!

Time to pot some up for gifting later in the year.

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Magical reflections in the magical gardens… even the smallest amount of water in a container, pulls the sky down into the garden!

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And the silver Moon Pennies of the Lunaria have endured the ravages of the winter in this little sheltered spot under the Laurel arch.

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The stillness and warmth of the cottage is comforting after working in the cold air outside.

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In the pantry…the lovely happy faced terracotta jar was bought for £4 in a Charity shop and holds all the garlic grown last summer in the potager beds.

It has little air holes and keeps a cool temperature inside…just perfect!

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This is another bargain picked up at a Boot Fair and costing £8…it holds a candle inside and is a storm-proof garden light.

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The shower room window faces south and catches lots of light…a good place to over-winter plants.

Posted in Bees, Cats, Food, Garden, Growing Food, Inspiration, Permaculture, Trees, Wild Flowers, Wildlife

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!

Posted in Abundance, Angels, Bealtaine Cottage, Beltane, Bloom, Cottage, Country Living, Ecology, Food, Garden, Growing Food, Herbs, Inspiration, Permaculture, Uncategorized, Wildlife

Today at Bealtaine Permaculture Smallholding…Start the Week!

Nasturtiums are now in bloom outside, despite the rain. This one is pot planted outside the veranda and is slowly winding its’ way over pieces of driftwood, stone and Herb Robert.

Our lives are full of clutter. A garden is a retreat and a permaculture garden is a perfect, food-bearing retreat, created for almost no money investment…just time and an opening of the senses. Plants like London Pride, featured here, are so very easy to transplant from snippets and cuttings.

Chives this morning in the vegetable garden, but these have been planted all over the gardens and are great visuals.

The long-flowering Columbine growing in the vegetable garden…a good Bee and pollinator insect attractant.

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Density of planting…the essence of permaculture.

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Flowers…just flowers and endless beauty!

Blackcurrants ripening in the sun this morning. Writing this a short time later, the sun has gone back into hiding!

Plums on one of the many fruit trees at Bealtaine this morning…a good harvest is promised!

The many Apple trees are growing heavy with fruit.

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, Cottage, Country Living, Eco-Living, Ecology, Garden, Gardening, Inspiration, Ireland, Leitrim, Organic Garden, Permaculture, PermaGoddess, Roscommon, Sligo, Smallholding, Uncategorized

Spring growth~Photos from Bealtaine Cottage Ireland…Permaculture Smallholding.

Tulips planted several years ago under one of the many Beech trees at Bealtaine.

London pride growing on either side of the steps. This is a perfect permaculture flowering plant, as it takes over, even in weedy, clay soil. Small bits were planted alongside the steps about 4 years ago and managed to push out the creeping buttercup, which can be very resolute and defiant! London Pride will flower during May and keep it’s flowers for many weeks!

Bealtaine Cottage is beginning to merge into the Spring growth…another few weeks and it will not be visible at all!

Little pots of Sedum are flowering atop the old fireplace at the back of the barn. Sedum is a great plant for enduring dry periods, then flourishing after rain!

Lilac has blossomed in a sheltered corner of the front garden. I pruned this last Autumn, cutting out all the spindley and crossover branches and consequently the blooms are lush.

Lilac today at Bealtaine.