The first day of Autumn in the Celtic calendar and the harvest continues. Blackcurrants are being picked at Bealtaine, along with masses of herbs, including Oregano, Chives, Dill and Fennel…though the Fennel in the tunnel is seeding and will be dried and stored for baking purposes later on.
Yes…it’s hard to believe, but there have been bumper harvest every year at Bealtaine and this is set to continue as the land moves from monoculture in year one to wonderful biodiversity in year seven, with shelter developing and compost heaps bursting…
Remember the immense power as a consumer you have…and ultimately, your ability, with others, to control the market…buying Fairtrade and supporting local producers is one way to control the market for the good, rather than giving your precious money and support to the global corporations who wreak havoc on our world…
The feast of Lugh, Lughnasa, or Lughnasadh happenssoon…on the eve, which is the 31st of July. A time for a bonfire and celebrations of the harvest…celebrations here at Bealtaine Cottage will be focused around a rather small outdoor fire but with the equivalent gusto of the eve that’s in it!
This was said to have been begun by the god Lugh as a funeral feast commemorating his foster-mother, Tailtu, who died of exhaustion after clearing the plains of Ireland for agriculture. Little changed there then, as most of the agricultural work in many African countries is carried out by women!
In days of old, Lughnasadh was a favoured time for trial marriages that would generally last a year and a day, with the option of ending the contract before the new year, or later formalizing it as a more permanent marriage.
Already there is a feel of Autumn in the air and can be seen in the plant life as harvests begin and fruits ripen on the trees. The days have shortened, now over a month past the longest day.
Flowers like this Perscaria Bistorta, a late flowering perennial, begin to show a magnificence beyond their humble beginnings!
is a pre-Christian, Celtic system of keeping the year and still in popular use today to define the beginning and length of the day, the week, the month, the seasons, quarter days, and festivals.
The meteorological seasons begin on March 1, June 1, September 1, and December 1.
The Irish Calendar observes the equinoxes and solstices and has a more realistic seasonal observance…
- Spring – February, March, April.
- Summer – May, June, July.
- Autumn – August, September, October.
- Winter – November, December, January.
These seasons are much more in keeping with the observations I make here at Bealtaine Cottage and I would abide by these dates rather than any other.
The grapevine, grown from a cutting about four years ago, has produced well this season. This was pruned hard at the end of the winter and then lightly at the end of spring. Well developed bunches of grapes have set and continue to thrive.
The beautiful Sage in flower in the tunnel. My big drive this year is focused on seed saving, hence the amount of tall and flowering plants in the tunnel. This Sage plant is strong and prolific…ideal to save seeds from!
Now that the grapes have set it is time to prune and cut back before too much of the plants’ vigour is used up and diverted away fro developing the fruit.
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.