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!



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

  1. Chris Leskosky says:

    Wow! Impressive what you have accomplished. Loved the walls and the porch pictures. As far as the sculpture, to me it looks like Jesus’ broken cross because he resurrected.

  2. Thanks, Chris! What an interesting perspective you have on the sculpture 🙂 We appreciate you taking time to comment on it. Happy New Year to you!

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