Congratulations to the “Explorer” Handbag Winner!

We have really, big news to share today! We are announcing the Explorer Handbag drawing winner and also the theme of our secret project. Congratulations go out to the lucky handbag winner: Betty S.! Explorer winner

From only 13 (yes, amazingly only thirteen entered this giveaway) Betty S. was the winner! She was present at the handbag workshop so we were able to get her to pose with her win. She submitted a postcard that was 48 years old!  Again, congratulations!  We hope that you will be kind enough to send us a photo of the Explorer’s travels with you 🙂

Now for another BIG reveal in its brevity:

No more clues, no dragging it out, the theme of our secret project is—EASTER ISLAND!

Easter Island is a remotely located Polynesian island (Chilean territory) currently named (Rapa Nui) and is considered to be a place of peace and power. Replicating that perception, we created a special island location away from all of our other garden spaces specifically so that we could embark on our new spiritual/physical discipline here called “Know Your Mana” (KYM).

More on KYM and the completion of Phase 1 of our Easter Island in the next blog.

Thanks to all of you who entered the giveaway!

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“The Explorer” Handbag Giveaway

The post that many of you are waiting for is here! A while ago we mentioned (see previous post) that we would be giving away a beautiful leather handbag (named as a clue) to promote our “Next Step” secret project. Though work on the project has not yet been carried out to completion, we decided to proceed with the giveaway. The custom made “Explorer” handbag from The Kristy Bag by CG is complete and it’s time to give it away to one lucky person🙂

“The Explorer” handbag has a retail value of $450.00.The Explorer Handbag by The Kristy Bag by CG Next Step Secret Project Giveaway Handbag Giveaway Trend setting handbag

It is constructed of three types of leather in four colors. The Explorer Handbag by The Kristy Bag by CG Next Step Secret Project Giveaway Handbag Giveaway back side bag 1 Trend setting handbag


For more on construction details visit The Kristy Bag by CG’s blogpost “Explorer-New Trend Setting Handbag“. It also has “Stitch-In-Nine” stitching on an adjustable, belted shoulder strap with beveled edges which gives the appearance of age. The Explorer Handbag by The Kristy Bag by CG Next Step Secret Project Giveaway Handbag Giveaway Stitch in Nine handle trend setting handbagThis bag offers roomy side pockets, The Explorer Handbag by The Kristy Bag by CG Next Step Secret Project Giveaway Handbag Giveaway Stitch in Nine handle trend setting handbag side pockets

a luxurious black pigskin lining, The Explorer Handbag by The Kristy Bag by CG Next Step Secret Project Giveaway Handbag Giveaway Stitch in Nine handle trend setting handbag black pigskin lining

exposed leather backside on inside flap The Explorer Handbag by The Kristy Bag by CG Next Step Secret Project Handbag Giveaway trend setting handbag exposed back side leather flap


and shiny nickel hardware. The Explorer Handbag by The Kristy Bag by CG Next Step Secret Project Handbag Giveaway trend setting handbag shiny nickel hardware


The Explorer is made from American leathers and is completely made by hand (cut, punched and stitched) without the use of machines.  Do you LOVE it?

How can you win it? Folks, this giveaway is going to require a little bit of effort on your part. In order to enter our handbag giveaway, you will need to send us a postcard.

The other day, we were pleasantly surprised to receive a post card from a dear friend who is traveling through Arizona and that gave us the idea to step back in time with our entry rules.DSCN7290


The old way of communicating (snail mail) is going to be the method of transportation for your entry into this giveaway. We would love to see postcards from your neck of the woods😉 but if you choose to use a note card that’s fine.

There are a few important rules for entry:

  • This giveaway is eligible to any legal resident over the age of 18 in the US. You must be able to receive the package at a valid delivery address. We cannot ship outside the US.
  • Postcards must be received by The Kristy Bag by CG on or before 11:59 PM EST May 21, 2016.
  • Winning entry will be randomly drawn* at The Kristy Bag by CG Summer Clutchlet Workshop on May 22, 2016. Winner will be contacted in a timely manner by phone, email or written notification.
  • We cannot be responsible for incomplete information or illegible entries. We cannot be responsible for USPS lost cards or improper postage. Limit of one entry per person please.

Send a postcard (you must pay postage for your mailing) to :

The Kristy Bag by CG
c/o Kristy Lash
PO Box 149
Conyngham, PA 18219

Please include the following information:

1) Tell us your name and address and where in the world you would like to take the Explorer handbag if you win it.

2) Give us your best guess as to the theme of what our “Next Step” secret project is. We gave clues on previous posts, Pinterest and Facebook.

3) Give us a way to contact you. List your phone number, or a valid email address. If no contact is given we will send notification to your address.

NOTE! PLEASE PRINT CLEARLY so that we can understand it!

We would greatly appreciate it if you would follow this blog, LIKE us on FacebookCrabtree Gardens, LLC, and The Kristy Bag by CG, but if you don’t, that’s OK too it’s not a requirement for this giveaway.

We do not sell email lists, phone numbers or addresses. We will not share any of your information with others. We will mention the winner of the contest on this blog and on our Facebook pages if we have permission from them to do so.

* Randomly drawn– you don’t need to know the correct answer, your postcard will have just as much chances of winning as any other entry.

So that’s it! Get your postcards or note cards to us as soon as you can! The days are just sailing by😉

Update on the “Next Step” Secret Project:

Our bulbs survived the winter planting and seem to be thriving with a little leaf-tip browning from frost . Crabtree Gardens Next Step Secret Project Sailboat Narcissus King Alfred Narcissus Allium Globemaster

The parking lot expansion gave us much topsoil which is currently being utilized near the project.  We are waiting for an important piece to be delivered and some additional construction to begin. We will post a revealing photo which will let everyone know the theme.  In the interim, we are continuing with plans to have it available for its intended purpose by the end of June. Thanks for following our journey and for your patience while we continue to grow.



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Earth Day is Here!

It’s Earth Day 2016 and the excitement here is building as we earnestly prepare for this weekend and the reawakening of our gardens and yoga barn. Weather has caused delays to garden improvements scheduled for completion, but finally, we’re back on track!

Earth Laughs in Flowers Earth Day 2016 Crabtree Gardens Yoga and Nature

“The earth laughs in flowers.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

To us, Earth Day holds a great significance because it brings to light how we abuse the earth and its resources. Humans are losing touch with nature. In the fast paced, technological society that we’ve grown accustomed to, our connection to the natural word has been discarded just like the many disposable items that end up in landfills. Our weekend activity lineup was planned to bring awareness to this disassociation.

Tonight’s DIY Terrarium Workshop replicates a biosphere which is a closed, self-regulating system. Earth is a biosphere. We will create a miniature landscape using pebbles, soil, plants and water inside a glass globe.

Saturday morning’s yoga class “The Earth Element” offers a “grounding” practice. To be grounded, you are relaxed and present. We focus our attention on drawing from earth’s stability and strength to provide us with a deep-rooted tranquility.

SORRY this class is cancelled ~Saturday afternoon’s yoga class “Get Your Om On!” gives us a reminder that we are connected to earth and everything in the universe.  The vibration produced by chanting the Sanskrit “Om” (pronounced aum)  is the frequency of energy that connects and joins all things together. Om is felt rather than spoken.

SORRY this class is cancelled ~Saturday’s Human Mandala video-graphed gathering immediately following the afternoon yoga class will be an artistic gesture symbolizing our appreciation for the natural world in which we exist.

Sunday morning’s “Rise and SHINE with Angela” makes us aware of how the sun warms the earth and is the driving force behind life.  By connecting breath, movement and intention, we become brighter!

Sunday evening’s “Candlelight Meditation and Mindful Movement” reminds us to be aware of the present. It is through mindfulness that we learn to protect and preserve the natural world in which we live. A sunset walk through our naturalized gardens at the end of this class makes for a peaceful close to the weekend.

For information on yoga classes please visit our website.

Happy Earth Day 2016!

Next blog: “Next Step” project update😉 and more on the “Explorer” custom made leather handbag giveaway!

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Asbe Kaetana Life Vision Scroll

People are wondering what it is! Our Asbe Kaetana workshop was developed specifically with regard to the upcoming Earth Day Weekend.  It is a decorative visualization tool that can be used as inspiration for your journey toward your ideal life.

How does this scroll connect with Earth Day? Earth Day is about celebrating the planet’s environment and raising public awareness about pollution.

The natural items chosen to create the scroll were chosen for their ability to be swallowed up by the earth when eventually disposed of. Nothing will linger, nothing will pollute. Everything will biodegrade. That makes this a pretty, “green” workshop😉

Kristy Lash will be instructing the art of Asbe Kaetana through collaboration with her henna business, Henna or No? and The Kristy Bag by CG.

The Bengali word “asbe” translates to “come” and the Sinhalese word “kaetana” translates to “coding”. Through the art of Mehndi, a Vedic custom used to “awaken the inner light”,  natural henna paste is applied to the canvas creating a “coding” using symbols. Your life’s ideal journey is written by you!

Asbe Kaetana Life Vision Scroll Henna or No Kristy Lash Artist Crabtree Gardens Workshop Mehndi

Asbe Kaetana Life Vision Scroll Workshop offers canvas as a drawing medium for Menhdi (henna). This flower symbolizes joy and happiness in life’s journey.

Henna powder comes from pounding the dried leaves of the henna plant  (Lawsonia inermis) and forms a paste when mixed with lemon juice. It has been used as an art form on body tattoos, fabric and leather in addition to medicinal purposes for thousands of years.

The scroll begins with a natural canvas backing encircling three squares of vegetable tanned leather that you will code with symbols that represent possibilities suggesting past, present and future to create a beautiful and meaningful wall hanging.

You’ll get to choose from a good selection of Kristy’s hand-drawn Mehndi symbols which you will first scribe onto the scroll using a special tool, then you will follow the scribe lines to draw symbols that you select to represent your life choices. She will show you how to add interesting details to them with patterns.

Asbe kaetana life vision scroll Henna or No at Crabtree Gardens Kristy Lash Henna artist henna on canvas


For instance, sun, moon and stars reflect deep and lasting love, a butterfly signifies transformation and leaves and vines can mean longevity, devotion, perseverance, entwined lives and vitality.  A listing of symbols and their meanings will be given at the workshop.

Working with a hand-mixed liquefied form of henna in a small bottle you will add your choice of symbolism to the perimeter of the scroll.

Additionally, the edges of the cloth will be frayed at the class. This is a mindless step offering a little bit of Zen and nesting material for the birds.

Asbe Kaetana Life Vision Scroll Henna or No Kristy Lash Artist Crabtree Gardens Workshop Mehndi1


The scroll is wrapped on bamboo that’s grown here in our gardens and then finished with sisal hanging cord.

This pretty scroll serves as a reminder of our human connection to the planet and to appreciate our authentic self. This is going to be fun and will allow so much individual expression!

To register online visit Events

Visit our Asbe Kaetana Event Page on Facebook for updates.

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Earth Day 2016 Yoga and Garden Workshop Event Schedule


Earth Interest, Nature Awareness, Human Connection and Spiritual Development

Are All Grown Here

  • Practicing yoga students as well as beginners and even newbies are welcome to join us.
  • Our experienced yoga teachers are professional and friendly.
  • If you’ve never tried nature-inspired yoga, now is your chance to see what you’ve been missing.
  •  Yoga is practiced in our little barn or weather permitting, outdoors on the decks.

*A weekly yoga class schedule which includes class package options will be available in early May.

Yoga classes on this special weekend are $15 each or all 3 for $30.

Earthly-Love Friday

Friday April 22, 2016  5:30 to 6:00 PM “Pop-up Event” Weather Dependent- Dave and Sandi Crabtree

Join us in an outdoor symbolic gesture expressing our love for the beautiful, big, blue marble!  There will be a photographer capturing this event.  This Free Event is contingent upon the weather! Please pre-register your place, space is limited to 30.

Big blue marble Earth day 2016 Crabtree Gardens

Friday April 22, 2016  6:30 to 8:00 PM “Glass Terrarium” Workshop- Sandi Crabtree

Building a terrarium can be a relaxing way to reconnect with the natural world. It offers Zen qualities because of the mindful focus used to place materials within the container. This relaxing process of creating a living landscape in miniature within a glass sphere reminds us to love and care for the planet that gives us life.  Additional information.

$46 Pre-payment by April 15, 2016 (visit website). This class will take place in the Carriage House. Spots are limited.

Earth Day 2016 Terrarium Workshop at Crabtree Gardens

Human to Earth Connection on Saturday

Saturday April 23, 2016  9:00 to 10:30 AM “The Earth Energy” All Levels Hatha Yoga-Sue Larock

Earth is a tranquil element. It ensures consistency as it provides a ground, reliability and endurance.

“Join us as we celebrate Earth day with a grounding yoga practice. We’ll connect with our earth element to become filled with sense of strength and stability.” Sue Larock

This special class will take place in the yoga barn. $15 Reserve your spot!

Earth Element Earth Day 2016 at Crabtree GardensSaturday April 23, 2016 1:00 to 3:00 PM “Asbe Kaetana Life-Vision Scroll” Workshop- Kristy Lash

Honoring ourselves through visual reminders can lead us to a loving relationship with self and nature. Using several natural products such as liquefied henna paste, cotton cloth, veg-tanned leather, locally grown bamboo and sisal twine you will create a beautiful, hand-made, cloth and leather accented scroll called “Asbe Kaetana”.

Asbe Kaetana Life Vision Scroll Workshop Henna Symbolism Mehndi Henna or No Kristy Lash

$35 Pre-payment. For more visit online registration. This class will take place in the Carriage House.

Celebrating Life with Light on Sunday

Sunday April 24, 2016 9:00 to 10:15 AM “Rise and SHINE with Angela” Any Ability Level- Angela Preat

Sunlight carries energy, which warms up the earth and is the driving force behind life.

The Lil Yoga Barn at Crabtree Gardens reawakening“This is a stretch and flow class for students of any ability level. Starting the day by connecting breath, movement and intention somehow makes us all feel a bit brighter. Join me and discover your true SHINE!” Angela Preat

This class will take place in the yoga barn. $15  Reserve your spot!

Sunday April 24, 2016 6:30 to 8:00 PM “Meditation and Mindful  Movement“-Debbie Jemo

“When I admire the wonders of a sunset or the beauty of the moon, my soul expands in the worship of the creator.” -Mahatma Gandhi

Sunset at Crabtree Gardens “Join experienced meditation instructor and yoga instructor, Debbie Jemo for a 90 minute experience designed with the intention to instill a sense of peace. You will experience alternating periods of instruction, guided meditations, qi gong and simple stretch. These movements are meant to release the energy in our bodies and instill a sense of peace. Timed to coincide with sunset, this class will end with a short walking meditation.” – Debbie Jemo

This class will take place inside the yoga barn. $15 Reserve your place!

Yoga classes on this special weekend are $15 each or all 3 for $30.

Download printable PDF Final Crabtree Gardens Earth Day Schedule PM

For pre-registration or any other information contact or call 570-788-0833 for questions.

Looking forward to seeing old friends and making new ones!

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Upcycled Wood Bridge at Yo.gar.den

It was a bit cold for spring projects yesterday but the sun beckoned us to get a move on building the footbridge that was planned to span the streambed at the heart chakra area located in Yo.gar.den).  The heart chakra acts as a bridge between the three lower and three upper chakras.

yogarden dry stream bed in progress Crabtree Gardens

Streambed construction continues to extend as rocks are found.

The streambed now flows through the center of the heart area but we had to wait on locating the the bridge until we were able to add enough rocks.

Next Step rocks on island Crabtree Gardens

Rocks were taken from “next step’ project and used for sides of new streambed.

An abundance relocated from the Next Step Project’s new triangular island in the lower field allowed us to finally reach our destination.🙂

Dry streambed Crabtree Gardens Naturalized Garden upcycle rocks Recycle in the Garden

The streambed finally reaches the planting area.

We wanted something unique for the bridge so instead of buying new materials we checked out the existing lumber that we had. Dave remembered that we saved five beefy, rough-cut 2×4’s (possibly dating from the 40’s) that we removed from inside a wall during the Cottage bathroom remodel.

I asked Dave to throw out conventional wisdom (he was not pleased) and use the boards to vertically cross horizontal braces, since it was a short span, rather than making a typical bridge with short pieces of lumber attached horizontally to the vertical side pieces. He fastened the boards with long stainless steel screws to old 4×4’s that we saved from a lumber siding delivery. Dry streambed Crabtree Gardens Upcycling wood recycled garden wood

Dry streambed Crabtree Gardens Upcycling wood recycled garden wood1

The new bridge will make easy access across the rocky streambed.

The upcycled wood worked as planned.  The old nail holes add character and the slight variation in board sizes and even some remaining tree bark on the sides give it an aged feel. Since it was such a short span, the longer lengths of the boards give the illusion that it’s a much longer bridge.

The wood will eventually deteriorate, but for the next few years, it will serve the purpose. I plan to give the bridge a rough coat of the same color green latex paint as the shed (the color of the heart chakra is green).Dry streambed Crabtree Gardens Upcycling wood recycled garden wood2


Before Dave put his tools away, he went over to tighten clamps on birdhouses near the decks and noticed a rock with a slight heart-shape.  Dry streambed Crabtree Gardens Upcycling wood recycled garden wood heart shaped rockHe was so proud to show me his discovery! He left it lay on the edge of the bridge and as I was taking photos for this post this morning, it dawned on me that we now have a few more hearts to add to our growing list🙂

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Finding Hearts in the Garden

Valentine’s Day is almost here and with its arrival a plethora of hearts-everywhere! Who doesn’t LOVE hearts? They are the metaphor for love and emotion. Have you looked around your garden and found any hearts? When you see the many hearts that we found in our garden we hope you’ll be inspired to do the same. We are a heart-loving garden.

We have Leaf Hearts

Hearts in the garden floating hearts morning glory heart shaped leaves Naturalized garden Crabtree Gardens1

Heart shaped leaves of  ‘Grandpa Ott’s’ morning glory (Ipomoea purpurea) seem to float in the air as they climb up through purple sage (Salvia officinalis ‘Purpurea’) and rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) in the Cottage herb garden.

Hearts in the garden Pumpkin Leaf heart shaped leaves lace heart Naturalized garden Crabtree Gardens

Heart shaped pumpkin (Cucurbita spp.) leaves with white veining make an attractive ground cover.

and Flower Hearts,

Hearts in the garden floating hearts pink bleeding heart Naturalized garden Crabtree Gardens

Flowers of the pink bleeding heart (Lamprocapnos spectabilis) dangle from a stem. They get their name from the “drop” at the tip of the heart which is said to resemble a droplet of blood.  This photo also shows the droplets of moisture that can be seen inside the flower.

Hearts in the garden White bleeding heart shaped leaves lace heart Naturalized garden Crabtree Gardens

White heart-shaped flowers dangle like earrings from the stems of this white bleeding heart (Lamprocapnos spectabilis) in spring.

there are even some Nature-made Hearts here.

Hearts in the garden Cranberry leaf viburnum and snow create natural heart shape Naturalized garden Crabtree Gardens

Nature created this striking heart-like shape with a cap of snow topping the fruit, or “drupes” as they are known, of this native American cranberrybush viburnum (Viburnum trilobum).  The fruits are edible, sour and rich in vitamin C, they can be eaten raw or cooked into a sauce.

We have Cut-Out Hearts 

Hearts in the garden floating hearts Leaf lace heart Naturalized garden Crabtree Gardens

Leaves from the sassafrass (Sassafras albidum) tree create a lace-like effect when viewed through this heart-shaped cut-out on our covered bridge.

Hearts in the garde cut out hearts wooden hearts in the garden Covered bridge heart Naturalized garden Crabtree Gardens

The cut-out heart near the roof peak and arm-loads of flowering dill add a touch of “country” to the this Cottage side of the covered bridge at Crabtree Gardens.

and Edible Hearts,

Palmier hearts bad hatters tea club Naturalized garden Crabtree Gardens

Palmier hearts were served at the Bad Hatters Tea Club Queen of Hearts Tea. Easy to make from puff pastry and your choice of fillings.

Palm hearts radish hearts romaine heart and shrimp heart shape bad hatters tea club Naturalized garden Crabtree Gardens

Hearts salad: Romaine hearts, palm hearts, radish hearts and shrimp arranged in a heart shape create a pretty salad for the Queen of Hearts Tea held by the Bad Hatters Tea Club hosted at the Cottage at Crabtree Gardens Guest House.

Decorative Hearts- a few.

Heart centerpiece Valentines day bad hatters tea club Naturalized garden Crabtree Gardens

Dollar Store finds created inexpensive ($5) centerpieces for the Queen of Hearts Tea which was held at the Bad Hatters Tea Club in honor of Valentine’s Day several years ago.


We’ve crafted Leather Hearts,

Womens Retreats leather heart the Kristy bag by CG Naturalized garden Crabtree Gardens

A handmade leather heart was given out to the attendees at our “Just for Me Women’s Retreat“. Along with each heart came a little reminder to appreciate the not so perfect things, to slow down a bit, take time to appreciate nature and to try to stay centered. Good advice for all of us😉

Handbag Hearts Trend Setting Handbags

Leather heart wall pocket by The Kristy Bag by CG

and made Pine Cone Hearts,

Gratitude Gift Shop at Crabtree Gardens Pine cone heart wreath Hearts in the garden

drew Chalkboard Hearts,

Health Coach Melissa DeMent Womens Retreats Naturalized garden Crabtree Gardens

The Welcome blackboard at the Carriage House offers a loving chalk heart to our visiting Health Coach.

and saw many Henna Hearts applied here .

Henna Tattoo Heart Henna Kristy Lash Henna Artist Naturalized garden Crabtree Gardens

Henna artist Kristy Lash creates original henna tattoos on clients. Her business Henna or No? was named after a colloquialism used in parts of Northeastern, PA for asking the question “Is that so or not?” Her henna tattoos are a safe way to try out some body art that lasts temporarily. Henna is a natural plant substance.

There was even a Heart Meditation CD!

Women's Day Retreats The Lil Yoga Barn at Crabtree Gardens Balance in your life Heart Meditation CD Angela Preat

Front cover photo on the Heart Meditation CD is of Angela and baby Lucas resting upon her heart . The meditation was created by her for the Just for “ME” Day Retreat attendees.

Women's Day Retreats Heart Meditation The Lil Yoga Barn at Crabtree Gardens Balance in your life Heart Meditation CD Angela Preat1

Each Heart Meditation CD was signed by Angela and given a heart.

But the best hearts by far are the Hearts That Beat🙂

Hands to heart center The Lil yoga Barn at Crabtree Gardens Hearts in the garden

Nature loving yoga students practice “bringing hands to heart center”. This sacred hand position is called Anjali mudra (AHN-jah-lee MOO-dra) in Sanskrit.

The bride, her groom and their officiant during the ceremony at the Wedding Pergola at Crabtree Gardens.

The bride, her groom and their officiant during the ceremony at the Wedding Pergola at Crabtree Gardens.


Happy Human Hearts in the garden Covered bridge heart Naturalized garden Crabtree Gardens

This fun-loving group of cousins visited here for our family reunion several years ago. They are striking the “Happy Hands” position.


There are so many more photos of the happy human hearts that give our gardens life. We will save them up for a future “hearty” post. Happy Valentine’s Day! We extend our Heartfelt gratitude to our friends, families and visitors. Now, what hearts can you find in your garden?

“The heart is like a garden. It can grow compassion or fear, resentment or love. What seeds will you plant there?”  ~ Buddha

Jen Klinetop Photography Hearts in the Garden Crabtree Gardens

Special thanks to Jen Klinetop Photography for capturing this heart in our garden.

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The Lil Yoga Barn-Spring Reawakening

The Lil Yoga Barn reawakeningIt was a warm day on July 5, 2015 when the last yoga class took place here on the yoga decks seven months ago. 

The Lil Yoga Barn at Crabtree Gardens Outdoor Yoga Meditation Law of Attraction Synchronicity (1)Seven is the number of completeness and perfection (both physical and spiritual). (It’s also the number of chakras) 😉.  We’ve been resting for seven months and have now decided that it is time to REAWAKEN.

Sunflower opening Gold Flowers Crabtree GardensThe gardens have had 7 quiet months of repose. It’s a gorgeous Saturday out there today and it is kind of sad that there are no yogis parading through these gardens on their way to the walk

We miss seeing the beautiful people that gave the garden and buildings so much life.

The Lil Yoga Barn Trend setting yoga community

There is only one way to properly rectify this situation and that is to bring yoga back to its home here at Crabtree Gardens. Let this be encouragement to all of you who have been asking for it to return.First Yoga Class on the Decks back in 2013

First Yoga Class on the Decks back in 2013

It’s official! We will be re-growing this wonderful yoga community!

Thank you for the many notes, calls and uplifting comments that you’ve given to both Dave and I as well as Angela and Robert over past 7 months. We will keep you informed with yoga news and of course on the progress of our secret project- “next step” too.

Divine Light (2)

Photo credit: Angela Preat

We are grateful for the divine light that shines upon us all.

Om The lil yoga barn


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Two-fer Teaser on Next Step

It’s rodent day🙂 I’m just teasing, everyone knows it is Groundhog Day and Punxsutawney Phil, the most famous groundhog ever, didn’t see his shadow early this morning so Spring is on the way! I chose the chippy photo because it was cute and we find that chipmunks are less destructive than those big fat ground wrecking hogs.

Speaking of ground-wrecking, this brings to memory the gigantic groundhog hole that we found on our little island down in the lower field (I have a feeling it was more of a groundhog city down there). It was by far the largest rodent hole that we’ve ever seen. Last year we moved some large stones to cover it but left an opening just in case there was a groundhog using it.  Thank goodness, it proved to be unoccupied.

Ground Hog hole filled in with big rocks Crabtree Gardens Next Step Secret Garden

Four large stones that covered the hole are marked with red X’s.

Thinking about the groundhog hole and ground wrecking also reminded me that I needed to give an update on the secret project. After all, this mound of rocks and group of trees was the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow when we announced our expansion to the “next step”! Here’s a photo of what it looked like the first year we purchased the property. It was the perfect location for a groundhog to live,  since the farmer avoided plowing this island.

Small Island in a sea of corn stalks Next Step Secret Project Crabtree Gardens Drums PA

This island of trees gave us the idea way back in (2007)

Getting back to the project, a previous post on Columbus Day back in October explained that we were waiting for our excavator to arrive to move some earth because we ordered beaucoup spring-blooming bulbs that needed immediate planting. We also had plans to extend our parking area with gravel and use the excavated soil to extend the area around this little tree island.

Unfortunately, due to the warm weather extending into November, the excavator had machinery in use at another location. We waited for weeks and trusted that he would arrive in time. The excavation of the new parking lot wouldn’t have mattered that much if we didn’t have a use for all of the soil that would come out. But the original plan was to use this soil to build up the new area and give us planting space for the bulbs that delivered in late October. It was now late in November and they required immediate planting before the ground froze to ensure they had some time to put down roots that would allow them survive the winter. (I was stressed.)

Green Mountain Excavating

The arrival of Green Mountain Excavating on 11-30-15 saved the day and my sanity!

We made a quick decision and had to reach out to another excavator because several days of rain were predicted followed by a dip in temperatures which would cause the surface to freeze. It was a blessing that Butch Ervin of Green Mountain Landscaping was able to come to our rescue. Since Butch came at a spur of the moment and didn’t have many hours available to give to us prior to heavy rains, instead of starting the parking lot, we opted to have him relocate a pile of topsoil that we were planning to use elsewhere. It solved the immediate problem.

Top soil added to trees in small island building a new garden Next Step Secret Project Crabtree Gardens Drums PA

A triangular shaped island is taking shape.

There was just barely enough soil to provide us with an adequate planting area for our bulbs. It was a rushed effort to get those bulbs in and covered. I’m not even sure the right bulbs were planted where they were planned. I learned two good lessons; 1) Never get bulbs before a planting area is ready and 2) Give your contractor a firm date.

Beginning a new garden project one side of a triangular island Crabtree Gardens garden expansion

The front entrance side of the triangular shaped island is ready.



Here’s the project today. Look closely, see all those pink flags? They are marking the areas that don’t have bulbs in and can be stepped on.

Secret Project Next step crabtree Gardens Footprints in the snow

Remember, this is just the beginning of the shape. There’s more dirt to move creating the other sides. Oh, and that big pile on the left is mulch. Yes, it’s frozen solid with a garden fork in place. Time and weather worked against us and we couldn’t complete the mulching. I’m praying the bulbs were able to put down roots so we have a colorful spring.

Next Step Secret Project Bulbs planted in new Island frozen mulch Crabtree Gardens


I know these photos aren’t pretty flowers and this doesn’t look like much work since October and you’re probably thinking “Sandi, this is so boring, enough about this dirt and those bulbs already.” Right? You only care about what the big secret is. Well, the building and completion of the island is important to the final outcome. Trust me, you’ll see.

Now, let’s talk about clues. You may be trying to figure out the theme of this space rather than what we are doing with it. That’s what should be happening.  Many of you will probably get the theme today by some things I’ve already mentioned in this post. I’m not going to give away what we are going to do with this space until we make the announcement in the spring. Besides, I need to make sure the parking lot gets completed!

Ok, for those who are still uncertain, I’m giving you one last great clue on this post and it’s a sure giveaway. We picked up a bottle of wine on the weekend because it was the perfect clue for our secret project and here’s a photo of part of the label.

Secret Project Next Step Wine Bottle Label 2016-02-02 017 (2)

If you review the previous posts that are linked you’ll see a theme and hopefully with today’s post be able to connect it together ;)  If you know the wine, you’ve got it! Don’t forget, we will be having a giveaway in the next couple of months so you may want to keep your guess quiet until then. More on that soon! Thanks so much for sharing and following our journey.













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Heavy Frost

A coating of heavy frost covered the foliage in our gardens creating a chilly but peaceful scene.

Heavy frost photos NEPA Frost Crabtree Gardens Frosty Morning1The temperature dropped to 23.5degrees F here in Drums, PA this morning, October 19, 2015. Our area can receive light frost anytime after Labor Day in early September, so we have been quite lucky so far.

Heavy frost photos NEPA Frost Crabtree Gardens Frosty Morning Though we have had mornings in recent days that were below the freezing mark of 32degrees F, we were spared frost because of the wind.

Heavy frost photos NEPA Frost Crabtree Gardens Frosty Morning3Since this heavy frost has now blackened the leaves and stems of tender bulbs such as cannas and dahlias, it’s time to begin their removal for winter storage. It’s not a job we look forward to because it can require a strong back to lift the moisture-heavy, bulb-laden cannas. But the rewards are sweet with an abundance of new bulbs for the next year. I do hope to be able to get a post out with our canna digging process.

Heavy frost photos NEPA Frost Crabtree Gardens Frosty Morning4Heavy frost photos NEPA Frost Crabtree Gardens Frosty Morning5We use this time to transplant before the ground begins to freeze. Cooler temperatures and moisture in the soil will allow the transplants to take hold. We have had a good rate of transplant success moving young trees and shrubs at this time of year.

Heavy frost photos NEPA Frost Crabtree Gardens Frosty Morning2We had some snow pass through the region but no accumulation here. It won’t be too long before there will be a blanket of white covering the grass. Until then, there are plenty of jobs that need doing.

Make it a great day!


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