Bottling Summer

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com

The old tin bath has been taken down from the wall of the barn.

Used wine bottles are left to steep for a few hours in rainwater.

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (3)Washed and clean, ready to be filled with home-made Blackcurrant wine.

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (4)There is always at least one day during the Summer, when one feels enthusiastic enough to overcome the reluctance to get stuck into bottling wine…today, all the right chords were struck and the work began!

Cork stoppers were duly washed and left to soak and soften, till, finally…

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (2)the wine was securely bottled! All that remains to be done is labelling…Chateau Bealtaine!

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (2)Outside the back door, Summer continues in layers of sheer abundance…Feverfew splurges on masses of tiny, daisy-like flowers.

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (5) Midsummer has only just crossed over and the garlic is ready to pull, with the first batch of Garlic and Oregano Olive Oil infusing.

Summer just keeps on getting bottled!

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (4)There is so much food and flowers, it’s sheer Heaven!

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (5)Walking around the cottage is a feast for the senses!

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.comEven the ancient Polygonum is covered with bright red flowers…one of the very few plants here that has nothing for the Bees…but a delight for me!  

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (6)Yellow Loosestrife stands tall in the casual cottage borders.

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (7)Roses fall over in a drunken Summer stupor, heavy with scent and bees.

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (8)Petals cascade onto stone steps, ivory wraps for blushing fairies.

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (9)Valerian falls onto the gravel path, dropping seeds and heavy flower-heads onto the visitor’s shoe.

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (10)And the Summer that was bottled today, will be brought out amidst smiles and raised glasses in the depths of Midwinter.

Easter in a Permaculture Garden…700th Post!

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This is what happens in Permaculture…surplus is fed back into the system or shared out!

www.bealtainecottage.com In this case there was a small surplus of blue paint…the outcome is what you see here!

www.bealtainecottage.comI woke to a magnificent sunrise this morning…Kilronan Mountain is shrouded in mist, so doesn’t appear to exist at all!

www.bealtainecottage.comBees are buzzing and birds are singing to herald in this wonderful Easter weekend here in the west of Ireland!

www.bealtainecottage.comWith the emergence of Spring, several weeks ago now, there has been an accumulation of heat and light working on the earth that promises an early Summer.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe promise of seedlings has excelled…it appears that every seed sown has germinated!

www.bealtainecottage.com Fortunately, now that I have five beautiful hens, seedlings that are excess to requirements can simply be fed to the hens as a wonderful source of nutrition.

www.bealtainecottage.comSome of the seedlings are also used by me in salads, again a wonderful source of nutrition!

www.bealtainecottage.comSlabs of bedrock, rising out of the earth all over the land here at Bealtaine, show off their pink colour in the drying air of late Spring.

www.bealtainecottage.comPrimroses play peek-a-boo on the driveway.

www.bealtainecottage.comCrocosmia show off a vibrant lime-green in the early morning light.

www.bealtainecottage.comBack to blue, because…

www.bealtainecottage.comI simply cannot resist it!

www.bealtainecottage.comThe vibrant pink of this Saxifrage has found a perfect bed in the gravel driveway…another reason why tarmac is a non-starter here!

www.bealtainecottage.comPrimroses aren’t the only things around here playing peek-a-boo!

www.bealtainecottage.comThe mist in the valley has cut off Kilronan Mountain.

www.bealtainecottage.comFurther up the gardens, behind where I now stand, Comfrey, Lovage, Fennel, Valerian and Chives are all about a foot high and looking very robust in the late Spring, early morning light.

www.bealtainecottage.comBy my feet, the Euphorbia flowers.

www.bealtainecottage.comAnd indoors, on the dresser, reminders of Spring and Easter…

www.bealtainecottage.comHappy Easter to all!

PS: Next month will the my tenth anniversary of Bealtaine Cottage.

Today marks the 700th blog!

A Year at Bealtaine…part 3

Poppies in Permaculture

2013 moved from Spring to summer with ease and Poppies jostled with one another for space in the beds.

potager beds at bealtaine cottage after the rainThe potager beds were extended and two more were constructed.

angel at bealtaine cottageAquilegia and Valerian ignored the seasons and came up together, surrounding the porch with delicate shades of pink and purple.

bealtaine cottage permaculture gardensIt was a frenzy of colour!

roses on verandaThe roses made their appearance on the veranda, more abundant than ever!

dealing with slugs, the seaweed methodMy friends Terri and Lol brought me masses of seaweed from their beautiful Clifden in Connemara and it was spread all over the potager beds!

Sammy Bear and meSammy-Bear turned from a rather naughty kitten into an even naughtier cat!

Roses at Bealtaine CottageVisitors had to dodge the low-hanging flowers and…

Apples growing in the permaculture gardens of Bealtaine Cottageemerging fruit!

bird bath in pollarded Sycamore at Bealtaine CottageBird baths were sat into trees for the rather hot birds…

Car-boy of blackcurrant must for wineand Blackcurrant wine was started off in the glass carboy.

demijohn of blackcurrant wineThen transferred to a demijohn to sit out the next few months on the kitchen windowsill.

Roses at the back of Bealtaine Cottage todayThe heat of summer continued and the well ran dry!

Bealtaine Cottage signBealtaine Cottage basked in the sun and heat, as I carted water up from a spring well lower down the land.

Roses on veranda at bealtaine cottage todayRose petals fell like confetti all over the veranda…it was lovely!

bealtaine Cottage this eveningOx-Eye Daisies flourished everywhere!

Che Mousy Bear rolls over in the tunnel this morning at Bealtaine CottageSammy-Bear cooled off by rolling in the dirt path in the tunnel and getting absolutely filthy!

Cats in the shade at bealtaine cottageChe-Mousey found a cool spot in the shade of the laurel arch.

Bealtaine Cottage this morningIt was sheer abundance!

Bealtaine Cottage this morning.And the summer rolled on…

Gosh…almost there…part 4 methinks!

Blessings from Bealtaine XXX

No Tarmac Here!

Valerian and Rubus edge a path

It’s not often that I dedicate an entire blog to the driveway of Bealtaine Cottage, but today is totally about that most viewed and often ignored part of the gardens.

Rosa Canina on the drivewayRosa Canina is opening with the promise of hips this Autumn.

driveway at bealtaine CottageThe driveway is an integral part of the gardens as it is not only the entrance to the cottage but the corridor of connection between the cottage and the rest of the land.

Hazel on the drivewayI counted the trees I planted along this 120metre stretch of lane…over 70!

Trees like this Hazel… Providing clean air!

Valerian and Ox-eye daisies on the driveway at bealtaine Cottage

Cotoneaster gives flowers, colour in autumn and food for the birds during the winter.

Bealtaine Cottage drivewayThis lane-way will never suffer the suffocation of tarmac…and seeds will continue to germinate in the gravel.

Bealtaine Cottage signThe gravel ensures equal drainage into the soil with no run-off.

Beech, Laurel, Box and Willow

Beech, Laurel, Buddleia and Box all grow shoulder to shoulder!

Postbox at bealtaine CottageDriveways are not just for cars!

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Heritage Seeds in a Cottage Garden

rocket stove in the permaculture gardenThe morning is dry and hot.

7am sees me boiling the kettle on the rocket stove, eager for fresh coffee.

The water is ready in under 10 minutes, from lighting the stove and inserting a handful of twigs.

As I walk back into the cottage a blackbird swoops noisily through the courtyard, followed by it’s assailant, another blackbird.

These birds are very territorial!

Ox-Eye Daisies in the permaculture gardensThe Dog Daisies are opening in the heat of the morning.

These magical flowers were used to treat madness and Smallpox during the middle ages!

Daisies in the gravel at Bealtaine CottageThese Ox-Eye Daisies were thrown onto this patch of gravel as seed two years ago and are ready to make a fine show this summer.

During the time of the early Christian church, this flower was dedicated to Mary Magdalen and became known as the Maudlin Daisy!

Ox-Eye daisies in the garden at Bealtaine CottageThey are lovely, wild flowers to grow in poor soil, but are not good for flower arrangements as they make a stink when cut and put into a vase.

I grow Shasta Daisies for that!

Using spent mushroom compost in the gardenMushrooms are growing up through the mushroom compost I spread a few weeks back…one of the benefits of collecting and spreading spent mushroom compost at this time of year!

Pea flowers at Bealtaine CottagePeas and Chard this morning in the Potager Beds.

The young peas are now in flower and looking strong and healthy!

Crimson flowered Broad beanThis is the beautiful crimson flowered Broad Bean, a heritage seed, vicia faba, this morning.

So delightful, it fits into the Potager gardens as a flower and a vegetable.

It’s wind tolerant as it only grows about a foot or so!

Red-flowered broad beans were described in seed lists in the late 18th century.

This variety was lost and appeared to have become extinct, until an elderly lady from Kent donated it to the Heritage Seed Library in 1978.

This red-flowered Broad Bean  had been grown by her  father, who was given the seeds during his childhood years a century earlier.

Monsanto eat your heart out, for this is what we gardeners do well…preserve the seed!

I shall be saving and posting this seed by the end of the summer!

ValerianValerian is now flowering around the cottage in wild abandon!

Wisteria in flower at Bealtaine CottageThe first ever flowers on the Wisteria…this was planted about 4 years ago.

Poppies in PermacultureThese Poppies have already seeded and are beginning to fall over, so need to be staked this morning.

More seeds to save…I shall be very busy from now through to the autumn, saving and cataloguing seed.

Thyme in flower at Bealtaine CottageThe hot, dry weather has encouraged the Thyme to flower outdoors.

Recent weeks have been so hot, that this potent, little herb thinks itself in the Mediterranean, where it once lived!

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Seeds…

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Bealtaine Cottage is also on YouTube…with over 200 videos about Permaculture, planting, growing and living.

Glimpses of Days to Come

Red maple tree at Bealtaine Cottage

Stormy weather has given way to a sunny evening.

The Red maple has caught the glow, offering glimpses of days to come, for summer seems close at hand.

Rhubarb and Blackcurrants near the herb garden at Bealtaine CottageThe spring has lingered and time seems out of step with expectation.

One day it’s flooding and the next there’s a hurricane blowing!

I heard someone say to expect frost at night this week…I hope not, as I’ve planted a lot of seedlings out!

Grapevine in the polytunnelThe tunnel has escaped the ravages of the crazy weather and the Grapevine is coming into leaf.

Herb RobertHerb Robert carpets the ground underneath the vine.

This is a perfect ground-cover, as the root system is very delicate and shallow, so doesn’t take much from the earth.

Sammy-BearI caught the boys in here sunbathing in the warmth and out of the wind…

The cats at Bealtaine CottageThey are inseparable! Che-Mousey follows Sammy-Bear everywhere.

He was very lonely before Sammy-Bear joined us…

Lunaria at Bealtaine CottageThe plan is to save masses of seed this year and already the Lunaria is developing tiny seed-heads.

If you look closely, you can see the seed-heads and a beautiful bee doing her work!

These will expand to become “Moon-Pennies”

Lunaria in flower at Bealtaine CottageThe lovely thing about Lunaria is that once you introduce it into your garden it will spread year upon year…it is a most generous flower and so loved by bees.

This is Lunaria growing by the laurel arch today.

The heavenly scent is trapped in the archway and makes a visit to the herb garden and tunnel a joy!

Valerian, Columbine and BuddhaValerian and Columbine have the same generous, spreading habit and all beloved by the bees…

Both are growing freely by Buddha…neither one planted, but self-seeded in the gravel.

Apple blossom at Bealtaine CottageThe Apple blossom has opened fully today.

It’s 8pm as I finish writing and the sky outside the window by the desk is a perfect summer blue, making it hard to believe that frost lies ahead!

Important! Message from Terri:

 On Saturday 25th May, there will be a March against Monsanto in Dublin starting at 2.30p.m in the Garden of Remembrance in Parnell Square.

Come along and add your support.

Bealtaine Cottage is also on YouTube…with over 102 videos about Permaculture, planting, growing and living.

Over 535 blogs from Bealtaine Cottage in the archives here.

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An Irish Ark

Lunaria, Honesty in the permaculture tunnel

Lunaria and Fennel in the tunnel today.

The Latin name Lunaria means “moon-like” and refers to the decorative seed-pods.

It’s warm and dry and great for working outdoors.

Bealtaine Cottage PermacultureThe clothes line is heavy with clothes moving gently in the breeze…a perfect Spring day!

I do not own an electric dryer, or a washing machine.

Washing clothes by hand in Spring water leaves them soft and smelling beautifully.

Buds on the Damson tree in the permaculture gardens

The Damson tree is now in blossom, with a strong prospect of plentiful fruit.

Cherry and Apple trees are almost ready to break blossom!

Euphorbia in a barrel

Euphorbia in a barrel outside the veranda today.

The lime green of the flowers are so joyful at this time of year!

That’s Valerian coming up at the front of the barrel.

Primroses at Bealtaine Cottage

Primroses on the driveway this morning.

I have never seen this many Primroses in bloom across the permaculture gardens.

There has been a huge amount of self-seeding over recent years and, with the absence of livestock, plants have grown and flourished in abundance!

I believe that there are more species of plants in the 3 acres of Bealtaine Cottage than anywhere else in Ireland.

Many of these are indigenous and some even rare!

It will be an interesting study to complete, when cataloguing all the plant life here.

Bealtaine Cottage  badger settBealtaine Cottage is evolving into an Ark of sorts, where many species are protected from livestock, chemicals, pesticides and the urge to dominate Nature!

Looking at the picture above of the Badger sett here in the gardens, Mr and Mrs badger will testify to that!

Hens in the permaculture gardens

The hens are out in the sunshine, just basking on the grass.

They have begun to lay eggs and appear to be quite content.

Bealtaine Cottage entrance to the fairy dell woodland

The Fairy Wood in summer…just about 8 weeks away from Midsummer!

Bealtaine Cottage is also on YouTube…with over 85 videos about Permaculture, planting, growing and living.

Over 500 blogs from Bealtaine Cottage in the archives here.

Donations are always welcome.

Thank you!

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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

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!