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.
Washed and clean, ready to be filled with home-made Blackcurrant wine.
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…
the wine was securely bottled! All that remains to be done is labelling…Chateau Bealtaine!
Outside the back door, Summer continues in layers of sheer abundance…Feverfew splurges on masses of tiny, daisy-like flowers.
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!
There is so much food and flowers, it’s sheer Heaven!
Walking around the cottage is a feast for the senses!
Even 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!
Yellow Loosestrife stands tall in the casual cottage borders.
Roses fall over in a drunken Summer stupor, heavy with scent and bees.
Petals cascade onto stone steps, ivory wraps for blushing fairies.
Valerian falls onto the gravel path, dropping seeds and heavy flower-heads onto the visitor’s shoe.
And the Summer that was bottled today, will be brought out amidst smiles and raised glasses in the depths of Midwinter.
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…
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!
Yes! Bloody cold enough for the woolies to be brought out from hibernation under the bed! The west of Ireland is cold and windy and the stove is lit and I have a shawl around my shoulders as I type! Truly!
despite the weather the strawberries continue to give out the lushest of fruit, to be picked at and gorged upon each time I pass through the veranda.
I deliberately don’t buy imported fruit or stuff out of season as it makes summer all the more welcome!
the cold weather, the Valerian makes its joyous display of pink, again, from nothing more than limestone gravel!
Yes…this is the true Geranium! The one you are probably thinking of is actually Perlagonium. Anyway, it is rather beautiful as well as being a perennial!
Nasturtiums in bloom this morning. These are the trailing variety and will grow well in poor soil. Both the leaves and the flowers are edible and add a spicy taste to a salad. These are growing from a pot on the veranda.
Swathes of colour dot the driveway to the cottage as the Valerian, Dog Daisy and Dog Rose all come into bloom.
The Dog Rose, Rosa Canina, will go on to produce rosehips that are packed with vitamin C and are good for making syrup that is traditionally fed to babies and toddlers.
Yellow Flag Iris grows by the Lower Pond. This beautiful flower spreads each year, given the right conditions and makes such a brilliant show in late May, early June…I love this naturalized flower.
Another weekend looms large and the weather is fab! Just wandering around the land here, snapping pics as I go. Paying homage to Gaia and all her splendour…it never ceases to bowl me over! This is the Fairy Dell and all is well!
Reflections in the Spring Well. The water continues to bubble up from below the Earth. Can never understand why the earth is called ‘dirt?’
It’s cool down here in the woodland of the Dell…so very hot and still in the open today.
Forget-Me-Nots in the long grass as I walk towards the ponds in the Bog Garden.
And Valerian near the cottage door in the early morning sun.
Rain has helped the Gunnera on the north bank really grow tall this year. The weather is usually quite dry around this growing time and this particular Gunnera Manicata tends to remain quite small in comparison to the mother plant near the lower pond.
These Sedums were planted into this old fountain last year and have spread to fill out the space. Sedums are ideal for planting into living or green roofs.
Valerian and Arabica are beginning to make a splash of colour by the veranda. The Roses just keep on giving…growing in 2 tyres, no less! I feed them with a chicken manure tea every week.
Valerian and Arabica make a good contrast when grown together and as they are perennials, are well able to take care of themselves!
Valerian growing along the west gable wall of the cottage today.
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.
It’s raining this morning and the plants that self-seed in the gravel are continuing to drink. This is Valerian, which loves the limestone gravel and grows from seed scattered into the stones. It’s beginning to flower and will continue to flower all the way through the summer.
Columbine is coming through the gravel around the Valerian. Seedlings like this usually do very well when potted on.
The Phototinia on the driveway suffered badly during the severe weather last winter, but it’s making a good recovery, with lots of new growth making a show.
Lots of berries are coming through on the Ivy…and there’s lots of Ivy all through the gardens. Possibly the sign of a cold winter ahead?
Gunnera Manicata grows easily under the Cherry tree, with no loss on the Cherry production. Dense planting is an essential part of permaculture…with definitely NO chemicals to control ANYTHING!
Lots of lovely rain has coloured the water in the Lower Pond a shade of peaty brown. The rain has been so heavy recently that even the spring water which flows into the cottage has been churned up!
Gunnera by the side of the pond is sprouting and growing by the hour. It is surprising that this of all plants survived the bitter cold of last winter. Many of the plants like Escallonia and Eucalyptus died.
The Gunnera is a huge and stunning plant, especially grown beside water.
Copper Beech is planted throughout the gardens on the smallholding and they add a tremendous amount of colour for most of the year. Many are planted along the laneway up to the cottage and each year add another dimension to the look and shelter as they increase in size.
The flowers of the Pine trees are out and each one has this lovely white cobweb under each one. These unusual looking flowers turn into cones…pine cones, and have a delicate yellow pollen that when the tree is shaken the yellowy dust blows off in a cloud…it’s beautiful to watch!
Ivy in the Fairy Dell woodland is growing and hanging in great swirls as the light seeps through before the full shadiness of summer begins.Ivy grows in abundance here in the west of Ireland…it is almost unstoppable!
Wild Violets continue to make a show of themselves all along the shady banks and woodland here at Bealtaine. These tiny flowers are scented…delicately!
Valerian coming into flower today at Bealtaine. The rain continues, almost unabated, raising the water table and pushing the water in my spring well down towards the cottage. Spent quite some time bringing water across to the tunnel to give the plants a good drenching!
Valerian growing along the west gable wall from seed scattered into the gravel…one of many reasons why permaculture and tarmac are not good mates!
Sprays of Hawthorn blossom hang in swathes around the hedgerows at the cottage. The flowers of this tree release a certain chemical which is good for the heart and it is recommended to breath deeply around these gorgeous blossoms!
I’m hoping that the roses will go on for longer this year, as they have a tendency to flower early in the summer. This has certainly been the best year yet for the blooms.
Spent the day in Omagh visiting my mother. She’s well and hearty and looking good! On the way back I stopped outside Blacklion by the lough and spotted this beautiful stone sculpture. It is in the spirit of John and Yoko, which is very appropriate as they visited Ireland and even had tea in the old Mulranny Hotel near Achill Island where I once lived. Imagine was the first album I bought when I went to London and it really is timeless, perhaps even more relevant today than ever…actually, definitely more relevant today! John was a soul of immense wisdom and integrity, which is so lacking today in our leaders!
A plain and simple message…
And there’s the island when you peep through the hole…the size of the world if looking from space. There’s a series of standing stones, so the alignment is important, as in all stone circles…
Home…it’s always good to return! The blackbird was singing the last song of the day. Valerian was almost in bloom along the walls of the cottage and bluebells had opened under the kitchen window.