Look Up, Around and Down

Last evening there was a rare event that we could see from our gardens in Northeastern Pennsylvania, USA. A total lunar eclipse of the Supermoon. It’s actually being called a Bloodmoon because of the reddish color it took on from Rayleigh scattering, which is light scattering off molecules of air. It’s the same thing that causes sunrises and sunsets to be so colorful.

Tom Kolesa Total Lunar Eclipse Blood Moon September 2015

Supermoon lunar eclipse blood moon as photographed by Tom Kolesa.

Tom Kolesa Lunar Eclipse Blood Moon September 2015

Supermoon lunar eclipse September 27-28, 2015 as photographed by Tom Kolesa.

Much earlier in the evening Dave and I sat on the benches in Yo.gar.den and enjoyed the cool temperatures and disappearance of gnats while we gazed out over our new circle of reflective white pea gravel. We felt peaceful. The round shape and light colored surface reminded us of the full moon that would be appearing in several hours.

yogarden circle Crabtree Gardens moon circle lunar eclipse circle

With the numerous garden jobs still nipping at our heels to continue with our expansion, just sitting quietly and being grateful for the opportunity made us aware of the need to just stop and reflect upon the entire universe that surrounds us. Call it mindfulness, awareness or even mindful awareness, whatever it is, it works for a spiritual recharge or tune-up. It reminds us that our spirit is made up of energy and because of that energy we remain interconnected with every thing through a universal consciousness. We are energetically connected to things we see and even what is unseen. It’s pretty deep to understand but when you realize how it works, it can alter your life in many positive ways.

I don’t want to get too much scope creep here so I better get back to the gardens. It’s not a secret we’re expanding but the theme and purpose is still being kept under wraps. Last post gave several clues to lead you in the direction we are headed. Today’s post will recap the last few weeks of improvements to the gardens along with more subtle clues. All garden improvements that were shown in this post can be accomplished by home gardeners without the use of chemicals.

Update to Yo.gar.den: I mentioned in the previous post that there were several areas being worked on simultaneously, they are Yo.gar.den and “Next Step”.  To clear up the confusion, Yo.gar.den is the meditation garden that was started through karma yoga which is the Hindu path of service to others. It is an action that is carried out as an offering. A few people from The Lil Yoga Barn’s yoga community volunteered their time and energy to help clear out the area around our shed back in 2013 so that we could begin to develop a meditation garden. Through the work service of these karma yogis, the bramble and field area around the shed was cleared and Yo.gar.den began to take shape.

yo.gar.den clearing karma yoga

A natural ares near an old shed became the starting point for a meditation garden project called Yo.gar.den.

yo.gar.den clearing karma yogis

Karma yogis help to haul and spread mulch over cardboard near the old shed to keep the field grasses away from shed.

Yo.gar.den’s continued development has been slow-growing over 2 years with the efforts of Dave and me as time, energy and health permits. Without bringing in heavy equipment or using any chemical weed killers, we were able to organically smother the field grasses to create additional planting areas for a more managed look with the use of sheet-mulching. See “Beginning a New Garden in Spring” for more on sheet-mulching and yo.gar.den.

The semi-circular grassy area in front of the shed in yo.gar.den was used for meditation and sometimes lined with hay bales for seating.

yo.gar.den clearing meditation on hay balesI had always envisioned a labyrinth there, but after doing research, I was inspired to develop something more unique which will tie in with our “Next Step” project. Without giving away the whole concept, I’ll just tease you with the circular base which is only a part of what the finished area will be. There will be wooden posts erected in a few weeks.

Here’s how it took shape.  A 20′ diameter circle was outlined and sod removed from inside.

Yo.gar.den circle remove sodYo.gar.den circle

yogarden circle yo.gar.den circle Crabtree Gardens meditation garden

“No man is an island” Poet John Donne

Colmet metal lawn edging was installed and 6 cubic yards of Maryland river rock pea gravel was added giving a 4″ thick covering.

Yogarden Circle Garden Maryland River Rock Pea Gravel Crabtree Gardens Yogarden circle lawn edging

Here’s a photo of the circle base with the new yo.gar.den stepping stone placed by the little explorer, Lucas. These next two photos are by Robert Ferdinand Photography.

yo.gar.den explorer with stepping stone

“The Little Explorer” Photography by Robert Ferdinand

yo.gar.den explorer in pea gravel circle

“I Am the Universe” Photography by Robert Ferdinand

There were many rocks removed during the digging of the circle and they were re-purposed in the dry stream bed that’s in-progress at the left side of the shed. It will“flow” toward the new planting area and be incorporated into the design there. More on that in future posts.

yogarden dry stream bed in progress Crabtree GardensUpdate on “Next Step”:  Remember the rainbow photo in the previous post? It led to the area where “Next Step” expansion is taking place. A portion of the lower field was cut in order to gain access to the small island of trees that grew there from seed dropped by birds even before we purchased the property in 2007.

Next Step 2015-09-16 009The area we are expanding around is in the center of the lower field and was created by a raised pile of rocks that were plowed into the middle when it was a used for farming years ago.

Next Step rocks on island Crabtree GardensIt’s now just a tiny island that we will be developing into a vision that Dave and I had as we first saw it sitting in the middle of the plowed field when we allowed a neighbor to farm our land for the first three years we owned it.

This rock pile is the same type as the one we found at the meditation garden (next photo) when we first began to reclaim that area. There, we covered over the rocks with cardboard and a heavy layer of wood-chip mulch to choke the remaining vegetation. Virginia creeper, which turns a gorgeous shade of crimson red in fall is starting to cover the area now. A few plants like bleeding hearts and sedum were added to the outer edges where there are fewer rocks. This area behind the shed is finally growing into a nice little woodland.

Virginia creeper in Yo.gar.den Crabtree Gardens Woodland gardens Naturalized gardening

Virginia creeper can be seen turning a red color as it covers the woodland area near Yo.gar.den.

Sorry for jumping between areas!

Back to the “Next Step” lower field expansion: Some of the rocks  here will be moved to yo.gar.den’s dry stream bed and the remaining pile that’s left will be covered with topsoil excavated through the leveling of the main walkway leading down into the new space. Once the topsoil is in place we will be planting 600 spring-blooming bulbs. There is a definite restriction as to what will grow in this area because of the deer population. Daffodils (Narcissus spp. and cvs.) and  flowering onions (Allium spp. and cvs.) will not be bothered by the wildlife so we opted for both. In addition to a mix of purple and white allium, two of the daffodils that we chose were Narcissus ‘Sailboat’ and ‘King Alfred’. (Just gave another tiny clue here and there’s several more in this post too!)

There will be much more happening down in the lower field after the topsoil gets moved so stay tuned for our updates. For those of you on Pinterest, we are giving photo clues on “Next Step” Project on Crabtree Gardens, LLC page. Here are photos of the the colorful bulbs ordered from Van Engelen. All photos credited to Van Engelen’s website.

Allium Van Engelen

Purple and white Alliums

Narcissus Van Engelen

‘Sailboat’ Daffodils

Narcissus Van Engelen1

‘King Alfred’ Daffodils






We will be having a great giveaway in the coming months but it’s a little too early to mention what the item is because it might just give away too much of a clue! Thanks for sharing our posts, it gives us the energy we need to continue with our venture.

“Learn how to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else.” Leonardo da Vinci

Robert Ferdinand Photography Blood Moon 2015

Photo credit: Robert Ferdinand Photograpahy



About crabtreegardens

I am a passionate decorator and the head gardener at Crabtree Gardens, LLC, which is a five acre naturalized garden located in Drums, PA. I advocate chemical-free, low maintenance gardening methods and working along with nature. I'm a freelance garden writer and member of GWA: The Association for Garden Communicators.
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