Alliums: Nature-Made Sparklers

Allium schubertii Painted Dried alliums sparkler Crabtree Gardens Sandi Crabtree Home and Garden Designer and StylistI can’t sing high enough praises for these exciting flowers that grow from bulbs. A story that I wrote about growing alliums (aka ornamental onions) is appearing now in the Jul/Aug 2017 issue of four State-by-State Gardening magazines (Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana and Missouri).Pennsylvania Gardener Magazine Garden Writer Sandi Crabtree You can pick up a copy at newsstands and some nurseries or you can order a subscription online.

Several different cultivars of alliums were planted in our gardens this past fall and I’m pleased to share their colorful blooms.

‘Globemaster’ allium bulbs (a favorite) were planted near the lower deck next to speedwell (Veronica spicata) ‘Sunny Border Blue’ (at bottom center). These big purple balls create drama in the garden.  They bloom around the same time as peonies and bearded iris (at left.)Allium globe master sparklers in the gardener Crabtree Gardens Sandi Crabtree Home and Garden Designer and StylistPlanting tip: Plant something low-growing near these tall-stemmed alliums so the browning basal leaves will be hidden. You can see how nicely the speedwell covers the base of one allium at the left. Those strappy leaves that you see are daffodil foliage.

A mix of purple and white alliums were planted in the fall of 2015 on our Easter Island.

Alliums globe master sparklers in the gardener Crabtree Gardens Sandi Crabtree Home and Garden Designer and Stylist

Alliums blooming along with wild cherry trees in spring 2017 at Crabtree Gardens.

For more on our Easter Island visit this December 2016 post

Alliums will increase in quantity if they like where they are sited. Planting them in full sun with good drainage in average garden soil should allow them to flourish.  In the photo below (May 2017), there are twelve ‘Globemaster’ flower heads blooming in this grouping. The prior year there were the original six.  Don’t you love it when your original investment doubles? Alliums globemaster sparklers in the gardener Crabtree Gardens Sandi Crabtree Home and Garden Designer and Stylist

The Tumbleweed Onion (Allium schubertii ) remind me of sparklers with their long and short pediciles (stems), just like the irregular sparks that shoot from fireworks. They are a whimsical addition to the garden.Allium Schubertii Crabtree Gardens Sandi Crabtree Home and Garden Designer and SytlistTen bulbs were planted along the front edge of the lowest deck in fall. They were spaced about 18″ apart in a curving row. Allium schubertii Painted Dried alliums sparkler Crabtree Gardens Sandi Crabtree Home and Garden Designer and Stylist1Their mauve color is picked up by the mauve-brown color stripe on the backside of the petals and buds of this early blooming Dumortier’s daylily (Hemerocallis dumortieri), an old-time fragrant species daylily. What a serendipitous combo these two plants make!Alliums with Dumortieri daylily sparklers in the gardener Crabtree Gardens Sandi Crabtree Home and Garden Designer and Stylist1A. schubertii needs room to bloom, so plan before you plant as they can grow large flower heads like this specimen in the photo below.Allium Schubertii Crabtree Gardens Sandi Crabtree Home and Garden Designer and Sytlist5

I allowed space between them but didn’t take the spread of the daylilies planted near them into consideration. Centering them in a two foot square would have been better especially along a walkway or front border as these were planted. They would look stunning if planted along a light colored wall because their open structure makes them hard to see from a distance. You can see from the photo below how the solid background color of the grass allows a better view of the flowering head. Imagine that grass being a light colored wall. Spectacular!Alliums schubertii sparklers in the gardener Crabtree Gardens Sandi Crabtree Home and Garden Designer and Stylist

Allium moly ‘Jeannine’ is a short (10″), yellow flowering allium that has star-like flowers on an open head.Alliums moly Jeaninne yellow sparklers in the gardener Crabtree Gardens Sandi Crabtree Home and Garden Designer and Stylist1 They are known for self-seeding around the garden.  They make a nice pairing with catmint (Nepeta spp.). Alliums moly Jeaninne yellow sparklers in the gardener Crabtree Gardens Sandi Crabtree Home and Garden Designer and StylistI can imagine A. moly ‘Jeannine’ planted between the A. schubertii for another amazing yellow and mauve display in spring. Maybe I’ll order more and do just that 😉

“The Blue of the Heavens”– what a name!  Allium azureum (caeruleum) starts out looking like it’s going to be white, then a tiny bit of blue erupts.  Alliums azureum blue sparklers in the gardener Crabtree Gardens Sandi Crabtree Home and Garden Designer and Stylist2These true-blue beauties stand about 24″ tall with a 1-2″ head. Allium azureum blue sparklers Crabtree Gardens Sandi Crabtree Home and Garden Designer and StylistThere’s a little bit of shade from the maple tree so the stems are leaning to the sun.Alliums azureum sparklers in the gardener Crabtree Gardens Sandi Crabtree Home and Garden Designer and StylistTheir blue color compliments the pink flowers and chartreuse leaves of spirea (Spirea japonica) ‘Goldmound’.

‘Summer Drummer’ allium bulbs were planted in a straight row at the leading edge of the Chakra Garden to create a fence-like barrier. These interesting alliums can reach up to 60″ tall and they bloom a little later (July/August) then the others we grow.Alliums Summer Drummer sparklers in the gardener Crabtree Gardens Sandi Crabtree Home and Garden Designer and StylistAn unusually warm fall caused them to produce foliage soon after planting; they should not have emerged until spring. They remained the entire winter under snow cover with droopy, frozen leaves (photo below).

Marking the location of the allium bulbs with landscape flags or another marker makes it easy to locate them and it helps to determine if all of the bulbs sprout. I enjoy seeing the pink flags poking out from under snow in mid-winter as a reminder that there is something wonderful under there to look forward to. Alliums Summer Drummer sparklers in the gardener Crabtree Gardens Sandi Crabtree Home and Garden Designer and Stylist1A few them reached near 5 feet tall and of 20 bulbs planted in the garden, only 6 showed buds.  A deer taste-tested one and must not have enjoyed it 😉  I found it hanging on the stem and the raw onion smell was strong. We haven’t had a problem with deer and rabbits so far but this year, oddly, we did have a few taste testers.Allium bud bitten by deer Crabtree Gardens It seems the others won’t produce flowers at this point. Possibly they were affected by the early sprouting or most likely, they were immature bulbs. I’ll keep my hopes up for a  fabulous display next year. Nature teaches you patience 😉

‘Summer Drummer’ alliums have an interesting habit compared to others grown here. The foliage growth resembles that of a cornstalk with alternating leaves ascending the stem.Alliums summer drummer corn stalk foliage sparklers in the gardener Crabtree Gardens Sandi Crabtree Home and Garden Designer and Stylist While most alliums have a tight round bud, ‘Summer Drummer’ has a long, flat, pointy tip extending out from the round bud which lends the look of Pinocchio’s silhouette!Alliums summer drummer Pinocchio bud foliage sparklers in the gardener Crabtree Gardens Sandi Crabtree Home and Garden Designer and Stylist Since most of the alliums didn’t grow as tall as planned, we needed to create a barrier so we installed two sections of an antique fence and finished it with a vine topper. Here’s what ‘Summer Drummer’ looks like now in front of the fence. It sure is tall!

Allium Summer Drummer garden sparkler Crabtree Gardens Sandi Crabtree Home and Garden Designer and Sytlist

July/August blooming ‘Summer Drummer’ Allium towers over the new fence at the leading edge of the Chakra Garden.

I hope to post some photos of ‘Summer Drummer’ in full bloom later in the month.

Alliums not only make great garden additions, they also make good specimens for cut floral arrangements.

When allium flowers have finished their growth cycle, the seed heads can be cut and dried and used for creative projects. What’s not to love about these delightful plants?  Order bulbs now for fall and light up your garden next year with these spectacular blossoms, you won’t be disappointed!

Allium Schubertii Crabtree Gardens Sandi Crabtree Home and Garden Designer and Sytlist4

“Uncle Sam” holds the American flag in the background as this dried and painted Allium schubertii resembles a sparkler shooting sparks of white (patch of Alyssum) onto the ground. 🙂

Follow this blog for future posts about working along with nature and designing a low-maintenance garden. Happy Summer! Have a safe and enjoyable Fourth of July!



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Vine Art: Make a Lacy Fence Topper

Vines topper on Iron fence Victoriana Sandi Crabtree Home and Garden Designer and Stylist

Decorative vine crowns create a loose and lacy topper for this antique iron fence in early spring before colorful annual vines begin to climb. Vine art is stylish and adds a bit of intrigue to the garden .

Though this antique cemetery fence had great patina and was in decent shape, when added to a new garden area it lacked interest and that’s where the vine crowns came in.Antique Iron Fence Her Way at Crabtree Gardens Fence Topper Vine ArtPre-made vine crowns (arches) and plastic cable ties make this a quick and easy project. If you’re ambitious and like to create, have a try at creating your own vine art pieces.

To do this project you will need:

  • Measuring tape
  • Vine crowns or arches
  • Cable ties (zip ties)
  • Scissors

Measure fence and crowns –Measure the length of the fence and divide by the width of the vine crown to find out how many you will need. If the fence measures 6 feet (72″) across and the crowns are 30″ wide then you will need to purchase 3.  (72 divided by 30 equals 2.4) so you need 3 arches for a 6 foot span of fence. They will be overlapped to fit the space.Vine Art Vine Topper on Antique Iron Fence Victoriana Sandi Crabtree Home and Garden Designer and Stylist

Figure on using at least 2 or 3 ties for each arch. Depending on the fence you’re attaching it to you may need more. They are better than wire for this project because they will snug the vine to the fence without cutting through it .DSCN7575Attach crowns to fence-Start in the middle of the fence and secure the first crown by attaching tie to fence picket or horizontal rail to hold it. Then overlap remaining crowns so that they extend to ends of fence panel. You can secure each crown with one tie until you get the correct layout, then go back and secure with more ties where necessary.Vine Topper on Antique Iron Fence Victoriana Sandi Crabtree Home and Garden Designer and Stylist2Attach a tie to the ends of the crowns where they overlap to hold them together. Vine Topper on Antique Iron Fence Victoriana Sandi Crabtree Home and Garden Designer and Stylist3

Snip the long end of ties and you’re done!

This vine crown adds a touch of “Victoriana” to a small section of old wooden snow/beach fence.

Vine Art Vine Topper on Vintage Snow Fence Victoriana Sandi Crabtree Home and Garden Designer and Stylist

Give your garden a bit of interest with lacy vine crowns and vine art!

Vine Art Vine Topper on Vintage Snow Fence Victoriana Sandi Crabtree Home and Garden Designer and Stylist1

*Vine crowns shown were purchased at a local discount wicker warehouse a few years ago.

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Kicky Kokedama

A vintage designer jewelry find and the right plant create a kicky kokedama look for an indoor or outdoor garden! Read more of how I created it:

The Japanese art of Kokedama (moss ball) is a form of bonsai that is hundreds of years old and is still trendy today. The roots of a plant are wrapped in a ball of peat and akadama (clay-like material) then the piece is covered in moss. The moss ball is then held together with string or wire.

I found this pre-made moss-covered wire form with a detachable hanging chain and thought it would make a quick way to get the kokedama look. It’s kind of cheating because there’s no work hand-forming a ball of soil around the roots. All I needed was a small plant and a bit of potting soil to fill the ball.Kicky Kokedama New garden trend decorating trend Crabtree Gardens Sandi Crabtree

One day while antiquing, I was inspired by an adorable vintage butterfly pin. It was missing a few stones, but I loved the look of it. The green eye stones caught my attention and intuition told me that this brooch, with its aged gold patina, would make the perfect accessory on my moss ball so I grabbed it for just two dollars!Kicky Kokedama New garden trend decorating trend Crabtree Gardens Sandi Crabtree vintage butterfly pin

I envisioned gold wire wrapped around the ball and the pin attached to it backed by the mossy green. Though it’s not the authentic look of kokedama, I thought it would be something unique and stylish.

Well maybe I’m getting a little glitzy here and kokedama doesn’t get glammed up, but it’s my party and I’m having fun, besides, I love being original and “kicky” kokedama could turn out to be the next hot planting and/or decorating trend!

I really needed to find a plant to complete this moss ball project so I headed to Berlin’s greenhouse. I caught sight of the deep-maroon, almost black color of a purple shamrock  (Oxalis triangularis) (aka Love Plant) backlit by the sun. I thought it would make a great accent plant for the moss ball and visualized it hanging from my window.Kicky Kokedama New garden trend decorating trend Crabtree Gardens Sandi Crabtree Love Plant Purple Shamrock

A greenhouse staffer said it could take some sun, would do well as an indoor plant and appreciate being moved outdoors in summer. Its upright form and contrast of the white flowers (with a tiny pinkish tinge) against dark leaves made a striking statement.Kicky Kokedama New garden trend decorating trend Crabtree Gardens Sandi Crabtree Love Plant Purple Shamrock1

To plant it, I first soaked the moss form then added a small handful of plain potting soil to the ball. I could have purchased bonsai soil but I’m a rebel. I removed the plant from its pot then gently teased away some of the soil from the top and bottom and worked the remaining roots into the moss ball; it barely fit.  I filled a bowl with water then set it in to completely soak the ball and to remove trapped air pockets around the roots. I let it drain well (you don’t want a drippy plant hanging indoors).

I had gold thread on hand and wrapped it around the ball in a haphazard manner then attached the pin to the thread. I may decide to replace the string with gold wire if it breaks.Kicky Kokedama New garden trend decorating trend Crabtree Gardens Sandi Crabtree Vintage Philip Hulitar Butterfly Pin

Wallah! Here’s my new kicky kokedama hanging in the kitchen window! I LOVE it! The gold thread adds just enough glimmer to the moss and the pin is perfect!Kicky Kokedama New garden trend decorating trend Crabtree Gardens Sandi Crabtree Love plant Purple Shamrock vintage butterfly pin

Kokedama can be placed in a bowl or on a plate if hanging plants aren’t for you. I needed a quick table centerpiece, so I unsnapped the chain and set the ball on a black plate then added some white rocks to balance it. It looks even more kicky now!Kicky Kokedama New garden trend decorating trend Crabtree Gardens Sandi Crabtree Love plant Purple Shamrock vintage butterfly pin1.jpg

My kicky kokedama centerpiece looks great after one month so I’m not going to hang it. The flowers are gone and the stems have grown taller and lean towards the sun so I rotate it.  The leaves seem to be doing well and I’m seeing signs of new growth. When the weather warms, it will be placed outdoors. I’m quite happy with my new “vintage” living art piece!Kicky Kokedama New garden trend decorating trend Crabtree Gardens Sandi Crabtree Love plant Purple Shamrock vintage butterfly pin2

Give kicky kokedama a try, it’s fun and there are so many ways that you can decorate these balls and change the look with jewelry. I think they would look cute with beads (maybe vintage ones) strung along the wire. The possibilities are endless 🙂

About the pin: I learned that the vintage brooch is a signed piece designed by Philip Hulitar. Although there are signs of age showing on the metal and it’s missing some rhinestones, I feel that this lends a nod to wabi-sabi (Japanese concept of imperfection).Kicky Kokedama New garden trend decorating trend Crabtree Gardens Sandi Crabtree Love plant Purple Shamrock vintage butterfly pin3

About the plant: Oxalis triangularis has three common names: Purple Shamrock, False Shamrock and Love Plant (my favorite). Oxalis grow from tiny bulbs that increase in number. The leaves are heart-shaped and arranged in groups of three joining at their points as they emerge from the top of the stem. The leaves close at night and open in the morning.  I think they resemble the wings of a butterfly (maybe that’s what also attracted me to them in the greenhouse).

Do you like the glitzy look of this kicky kokedama? How about that “Love Plant?

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The Best Things (In the Garden) Happen While You’re Dancing

A whole year just waltzed on by and now it’s time to start a new one. Hopefully, 2017 will prove to be even better and brighter than we can imagine. Though there hasn’t been much blogging through the year here, (making up for it today with a big one) there has been continued progress on all fronts and we are happy to share!

Shall we dance?

The Fence– We had a beautiful hemlock fence installed along the back of a neighboring property so that we could keep privacy near the Meditation Garden. Our living bamboo privacy fence is slowly beginning to fill in. Until it reaches maturity, the locally sourced, full-thickness, hemlock board fence should serve its time well.hemlock-fence-crabtree-gardens

Open Panels-Directly behind the Meditation Garden fence panels were installed as a backdrop with open spaces left between them for deer to pass through. If we closed in this corner area, deer could be corralled inside allowing them to browse our garden. By leaving openings, they can easily move through. We didn’t want to make it easy for them to linger at the Crabtree All-You-Can-Browse Buffet.

Arrowwood Viburnum-In late fall, arrowwood viburnum (Viburnum dentatum) ‘Cristom Blue Muffin was planted in the open spaces. These native shrubs offer flowers for pollinators, beautiful blue berries for the birds and brilliant fall color. The deer can easily clear (jump over- or maybe they will clear them, there’s always a chance) these shrubs. Arrowwood viburnums are said to be “rarely damaged” by deer in this detailed list compiled by Rutgers.deer-pass-through-in-garden-crabtree-gardens-viburnum-dentatum-blue-muffin


Dry Stream Bed-Our dry stream bed has been extended and a small berm is being formed on the walkway side. The slight rise along the side elevation will give the the effect of moving water having carved out the stream bed rather than just a flat surface laid on the landscape.  It doesn’t look like much now. Daffodils were planted under the first small section of the berm in fall.  Since our labor force consists of two 😉 we do things a little bit at a time avoiding machinery and heavy labor if we can.  The berm is built up using overturned sod, as it decomposes, soil remains and organic matter stays; it makes a great planting surface without having to haul in topsoil. Work smart-along with nature!dscn2800


Rock Collectors– Our soil is filled with “potato rocks”, too bad that we can’t eat them.   Held in plastic pots (above photo) with good drainage, the rocks we pick out of planting holes sit for a few months while the rain cleans them. We then add them to the dry stream bed.

Lavender Arc-Late in the fall, young lavender plants were planted in an arc-shape to soften the angular look of the wood entrance planks at the front of our shed.dscn3868-2-copy



dscn3871Mandala Moved– We moved our large “Flower of Life” mandala from inside the shed to the side near the Meditation Circle where it can be fully appreciated. Not a big deal, but it created a perfect focal point on the shed side and it compliments the Meditation Circle.flower-of-life-mandala-at-meditation-garden-crabtree-gardens

Chime Tower– The new wooden structure that spans our Meditation Circle was designed to hold our garden chimes. It adds gravitas to the whole area and really delineates the gravel circle. We are still debating whether or not to add climbing plants. Keeping the circle clean from garden debris is important and keeping things low maintenance is high on our priority list. More on the circle and before photos in this post.


Owl Gaurdian– In order to keep the birds away from sitting on the chime tower and dropping inside the circle, we invested in a wise security guard. He sits on the back porch- lol! He hasn’t yet been mounted on top of the structure because Crabtree Gardens’ laborer #2 (Dave) has not been inclined to climb up there to secure it. But honestly, we have not had any bird problems. (Fingers crossed, eyes crossed, praying hands and knocking on wood.) owl-chime-tower-crabtree-gardens

Chakra Garden Work

Boundary Created-In fall, a narrow planting bed was cut along one side of the Chakra Garden. It was planted with a row of Allium Summer Drummer; these 4-5′ tall growing ornamental onions will create a fence-like boundary and delineate the planting area inside. Flags mark the bulb placement.dscn2632


  • Perennials Planted– An end of season nursery sale netted a load of perennials for the Chakra Garden. Hopefully, the rabbits will have mercy and not devour everything. More will be added this spring.perennials-for-chakra-garden

This section was included at Dave’s suggestion. Collectors of junk have a hard time parting with stuff. There were a few old cedar chairs and tables in the garden that had seen better days. (Photo below) Rather than discard everything, we dismantled them and saved the boards that were still in good shape. We assembled some wood art pieces for the Chakra Garden.img_2108

There are five of the seven art pieces already built. Four of them are still waiting to be painted. Here is a quick peek at the creativity of the Crabtree team and their really insightful interpretation of the first chakra. Hold the applause. We have not yet discussed a title for this truly masterful work of art. 😉 Any suggestions? artistic-wood-sculpture-crabtree-gardens

And now, on to:

Easter Island– We’ve made great progress so far! If you look back to previous posts you’ll see the before. We hoped that Easter Island would be completed in the summer, but the universe didn’t really want it that way. We look forward to continuing with our plan in 2017.

  • Mo Arrived!-Perhaps the most exciting day for us was the day that Mo arrived. Mo is our name for the concrete statuary that suggests the look of a moai. He came on a flatbed truck that had to park on a side road, then he traveled by forklift along Butler Drive to our private road. mo-statue-for-crabtree-gardensmo-statue-for-crabtree-gardens-1

He safely arrived at Easter Island and was placed on a special rock bed so he doesn’t sink into the ground. He seems quite happy in his new location! He’s our favorite 😉  Stressing over whether the alliums (purple flowers) would bloom after being planted so late in 2015 was unnecessary. They put on a fabulous show. mo-statue-crabtree-gardens

At the Decks

Paver Entrance-Our pergola received an update with a paver and pea gravel entrance. It was much appreciated by the yoga students who frequented the decks. It was an easy project and not that costly; it took the two of us an afternoon to complete. We are considering adding walkways using this same technique this coming spring.pea-gravel-and-paver-entrance-crabtree-gardens

paver-and-pea-gravelWelcome Bed– Though right now it doesn’t look like all that much, a new welcoming landscape has been planted opposite the Pergola in front of the Wate’s Pines. This area was difficult to mow because of the overhanging pine branches. Now the pines can grow out naturally and an assortment of low maintenance shrubs will enhance the view. Mowing will be much easier for laborer #1 (me).easy-care-shrubs-crabtree-gardens


Yogi Art– A steel cut-out of a woman in Vriksasana (tree pose) now welcomes the yoga community to our Gardens. We call her “Maria”.  She is a gorgeous piece created by Whimsy and the Welder (glass and steel designs), purchased at Art on Main in Pittston, PA. We hope to be able to work with Bill and Maria from Whimsy and the Welder in 2017 to create a special entrance for our garden. Our Maria developed a lovely rusted patina in a few months when exposed to the weather. We just love her!tree-pose-steel-sculpture-crabtree-gardenstree-pose-steel-sculpture-crabtree-gardens-1

There was much more garden work that took place over the past year as we continued to expand. We had a colorful year filled with many blooms and our goldenrod fields provided abundant nectar for passing monarch butterflies.

The use of our gardens for professional photographer sessions and the re-opening of our  yoga classes back April had kept us on a tight schedule with maintenance. We aimed to put our best foot forward at all times.

We are grateful that the yoga community is building here and look forward to providing the peaceful atmosphere surrounded by chemical-free gardens that they have grown accustomed to.  539_mindfulness_circle_yoga_peaceful_spirit_crabtree_gardens_drums_pa539_july_2016_yoga_on_the_decks_crabtree_gardens_drums_paDuring the colder months, we hold yoga classes inside our heated barn studio. barn-peaceful-spirit-daylight

It won’t be long until we can open up the double doors and breathe in that fresh, sun-warmed springtime air. Until then we will watch as the deer, so very light on their feet, dance around our garden looking for anything that they can devour on their way through.dscn3876







May you have a healthy, happy and blessed New Year!


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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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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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