This Week in our Gardens  
For our weekly events visit the Event Calendar
April 15, 2014
Spring flowers are starting to bloom. Forsythia should be open within a few days. The garden is starting to green up and come to life. Rain is appreciated and cool temperatures will allow the flowering bulbs to remain longer.
It was a beautiful day for the Winter Yogi-fest 2014!
Some of the attendees gathered around the fire pit to enjoy S'mores and hot cocoa on a beautiful sunny day here at the Winter Yogi-fest. For more information and photos of the event, please visit our blog Her Way at Crabtree Gardens. Link to Blog
 http://crabtreegardens.wordpress.com/2014/02/26/wintering-into-spring-with-yogi-fest/
WINTER YOGI FEST
February 22, 2014

Crabtree Gardens, LLC will be hosting our first annual Winter Yogi-Fest! 

Saturday, Feb 22nd 12pm-3pm

Price $30

 This afternoon event will include something for every one, yogi or not! All activities are included in the price...pick and choose, relax on the property, or do it ALL!

 

ACTIVITIES

 

Yoga...Of Course!

12:00-12:40 pm: Gentle Flow for All Levels w/ Angela Preat

1:00-1:40: Level 1 Flow w/ Robert Ferdinand

Yoga will take place in the heated barn.

 

 Mindful Meditation & Stretching for Winter Blues

2:00-2:30pm:  Join Debbie Jemo for this mini class that will help you meditate and stretch any winter blues away.

Meditation will take place in the barn.

"Winter" Nutrition 

Ongoing: Join Melissa DeMent (our onsite health coach) as she lectures and demos healthy tips for Winter Nutrition and gives some tastings. Her sessions will be every half hour in the Carriage House.

 

"Melt" into the Chair Mini Massage

Ongoing: Join Ashley Pane (Blissful Therapeutics at Crabtree Gardens) for a 5 minute mini chair massage in the new European Chalet Style Massage Therapy Room located in the Cottage House. Take advantage of our chandelier fitted with full spectrum lighting to combat those winter blues. Massages will be first come.  

 

S'MORES!

 Ongoing: Join Dave Crabtree by the fire pit to make your own S'mores. Savor a cup of hot cocoa or other warm winter beverage there too!

 

Henna or No?

Ongoing: Join Kristy Lash for an all natural temporary henna tattoo. You can pick from a menu of preset designs for this mini session. Henna work is done in the Cottage Guest House.

 

***Please check-in at the Carriage House Artist Studio located directly behind the Cottage Guest House when arriving.

In the event of inclement weather we will not be making S'mores***

 

***In stock Winter line of YO.GAR.DEN Long Sleeve Shirts will be available for sale. ***

 

Sign up on our Facebook event page or on our announcement board at the barn or contact sandi@crabtreegardens.com via email for questions or to reserve your spot!

 

 ***Please note that we will not have our Saturday 9am class, Kids Yoga or Prenatal Yoga on February 22nd ONLY***



 

Local Artist Series II                 
 Theme "ICE"
Our second Local Artist Series will be held in the Carriage House on Saturday, January 25 2014 from 1-4 pm.

This series theme is “ICE”. Artists were asked to interpret the theme and create unique pieces relative to it for this showing.Four local artists will show and sell their beautiful original drawings,  jewelry and other unique treasures. Artists invited were: Danielle Bernstein, Kristy Lash, John Prendergast and Steve Glicken.

CHILL OUT WITH GREENS Workshop - Reservations required
Saturday Dec. 21, 2013 1:00-2:30pm (Indoor Workshop)

Create a beautiful fresh greenery design for just $25.00
 
It’s the last Saturday in December, just 5 days before Christmas and you are exhausted from shopping and seeing too much red. But you still need a nice gift for someone who loves nature and the outdoors or maybe that special gardener friend. Why not take a break and attend our indoor “Chill Out with Greens Workshop” at the Carriage House to create a seasonal container filled with greenery, wrapped in burlap and tied with a colorful bow.  Relax while making it with tea and soothing music. For more information visit our Programs and Classes Page  

To make your reservation please contact Sandi at 570-788-0833 or email sandi@crabtreegardens or join the Events Page at The Lil Yoga Barn at Crabtree Gardens

www.facebook.com/events/1478300562395471/

Local Artist Series I    November 23, 2013
We are having our first Local Artist Series today in the Carriage House Artist Studio from 1-4 pm. The artists showing today will be Margi Ackerman, Fred DiValero,  Robert Ferdinand,  Liz Hoegg and Joe Longo. Original photos and paintings along with other items will be available for purchase. We will be more than happy to gift wrap your purchases for free. The Carriage House Artist Studio is located at the rear of the Cottage Guest House at 534 W. Butler Drive, in Drums, PA.
Fall Family Photo Extravaganza  OCTOBER 12-13, 2013
Crabtree Gardens, LLC and JoeLongoPhotography have paired up to present a Fall Photo Extravaganza in the gardens. Have your photo taken with a backdrop of fall colors and natural surroundings.Visit Joe's blog to see more amazing photos of our fall gardens and the natural lower field and learn more about the event.  JoeLongoPhotography Blog
September 15, 2013
The grasses and hydrangeas are still going strong along with the butterfly bushes. Goldenrod is covering the lower fields. Sweet autumn clematis is at it's peak right now. Temperatures in the mid-30's are creeping in at night, so tropicals will be moved indoors for the season.
September 7, 2013 Retreat Time!
Photo courtesy of Cathy Colangelo
The weather on Saturday was just perfect for a quarterly women's retreat-A Blissful Day at the Gardens held by  Cathy Colangelo of  Your Life is Now Coaching. The natural surroundings here at Crabtree Gardens and our "bliss givers" - Angela Preat of the The Lil Yoga Barn and Ashley Pane of Blissful Therapeutics teamed up to deliver of day of pampering, serenity and relaxation. Rebecca McNulty added to the bliss with a delectable batch of Cottage Guest House signature scones-Glazed Cherry Almond. All of this activity was expertly coordinated by Lisa Olander, Events Coordinator here at Crabtree Gardens.

What takes place on one of these retreats?

Answer by Cathy Colangelo: "
Relax and rest...enjoy good company of other women, and our own good company. Start out with a light breakfast, some gentle yoga, everyone got a heavenly mini massage (they all literally said it was like heaven), spent time in the gardens, did a little journaling, had some lunch, some people took naps....made vision boards, read their books...went home rested and replenished."

For more information about scheduling a private retreat, team building event, wedding, or other event for yourself or a group, please contact Lisa at lisaolander@crabtreegardens.com or call us at 570-788-0833 to discuss your needs.
Grounding Workshop August 20, 2013
The Lil Yoga Barn at Crabtree Gardens held the first annual Grounding Workshop in the rondel. It was a perfect evening to connect with the earth and it's life giving forces. After a slow stretch exercise led by Angela Preat of the Lil Yoga Barn, a brief discussion about soil life was presented by Sandi Crabtree. Everyone was able to put their hands in the earth by turning over some pieces of sod to expose the cool brown soil. Roasted root vegetables along with freshly made ginger root tea was served as part of the workshop. We will be planning more workshops such as this. Stay updated by following us on Facebook or visit our events calendar to find out more information.
August 5,2013
Pink Passion Flower Vine
This week our Pink Passion Flower Vine is blooming. The Passiflora cannot survive our Zone 5 winters so it must be over-wintered indoors. There are still plenty of colorful perennials and shrubs in bloom. Annuals are at their peak and fall grasses are tall and billowy.  This year's ample rainfall provided us with a lush summer garden.  Butterfly bushes and Rose-of-Sharon shrubs are in full bloom providing nectar for the butterflies. Cooler temperatures this week are a welcome relief from hot July days.

July 26, 2013 National Moth Week
In honor of National Moth Week July 21-28, 2013,  Crabtree Gardens held a Moth Night Event on our decks at 9:00 PM on July 24th. The temperatures were unseasonably cool and we were not able to get many moths to visit us.  We still had a great time and are planning a larger event for 2014.
July 15, 2013
                                      It was a wonderful year for the phlox!
July 9, 2013 Milkweed Walk on Meditation Path
Our lower field is filled with a very large colony of common milkweed Asclepias syriaca.  Our walk lead through the meditation path into the field where we discussed more about the monarch butterfly and it's larval host plant milkweed. We will be planning another milkweed/monarch caterpillar walk for early August.
July 9, 2013
A colorful array of perennials are filling our beds here this month.
June 11, 2013 Strawberry Basket Class at Carriage House Artist Studio
Crabtree Gardens partnered with Sandy Visintainer to offer a hands-on class for making an edible "Strawberry Basket" here at our gardens in early June. The wire basket was filled with straw and potting soil and then planted with ever-bearing strawberries. 
May 21, 2013
The bridalwreath spirea s. vanhouttei is is full bloom this week along with many other beautiful specimens.  The small clusters of crisp white flowers fill the arching branches and create a cloud like effect on the shrub.  This shrub does best if given full sun and plenty of space to  arch.  They look best if planted in an open area.  They are easy to care for by removing 1/3 of the oldest branches to the ground each winter.  This will allow the shrub to keep it's arching shape.  If you shear or prune the top branches, you will take away from it's naturally beautiful arching form.  Just relax and let nature take her course! They will provide you with years of blooms.
Paeonia suffruticosa or tree peony is a woody peony that doesn't die back to the ground each year like the herbaceous peonies that many are familiar with. It's blossoms are larger than the herbaceous peony. It can live for decades if given the right location and is very drought tolerant once established. We sited our shrub in partial shade and it seems to do well here. Deer are not attracted to it (we love that). We currently have 2 in our gardens, this is a 12 year old  'Seidai'.
Yogathon is planned for May 17, 2013 9am-8pm for more...
May 14, 2013
Lilacs are filling the air with their old fashioned fragrance near the covered bridge. The gardens are dotted with shades of purple from the wild phlox and honesty that self sow.
May 5, 2013
Flowering trees such as Redbud (Cercis canadensis) and Dogwood (Cornus) both natives, are beginning to open and fill the garden with the colors of a Monet painting. Ground covers are almost at peak and deciduous trees are beginning to flower.  It's almost time for the lilacs and wisteria to begin their show. This photo was taken in close proximity to the residence. Further in the field apple and pear trees are the stars dotting the property with pale colored blooms. This is the most beautiful Spring that we have had here in 6 years!
April 22, 2013 EARTH DAY  Yoga on the decks at Crabtree Gardens.
April 21, 2013
Our Star Magnolias ( Magnolia stellata) are in full bloom . These magnolias have big fuzzy buds during the winter and very early spring and are not palatable to deer.  This is a slow-growing shrub and the flowers have a very light fragrance.
April 18, 2013
Our gardens are a blaze of yellow with Forsythia spp. We are currently growing Forsythia × intermedia , Forsythia suspensa and Forsythia x intermedia 'Arnold Dwarf' . 
April 15, 2013

Grape hyacinths (Muscari) and daffodils (Narcissus) are in full bloom throughout the gardens.  The most heavily planted area is
in the front side garden near our barn.
April 10, 2013
The spring blooming bulbs have finally opened here and the pollinators are enjoying the fresh nectar sources.
3-12-2013  This dove is not bothered by the pouring rain today.
3-11-2012 Construction of double decks has started!
3-5-2013  Andropogon virginicus L. broomsedge bluestem are looking their best now and add late winter color.
2-16-2013 Just 33 days away from Spring!
2-14-2013 Happy Valentine's Day!
American cranberrybush viburnum keeps it's fruit throughout the winter allowing a great pop of color in the winter garden.
2-8-2013
Wate's Pine turn a beautiful shade of yellow in winter and then in spring return to green.
1-6-2013
Winter Garden

We allow our plants and their interesting seed heads to remain standing throughout the winter months giving structure to an otherwise desolate landscape.  It's an easy labor-saving technique that helps to nourish the wildlife.
12-25-2012 Merry Christmas!
Aerial View of Crabtree Gardens, LLC

A beautiful fall aerial view of our gardens and guest house taken by a flight instructor was presented to us as a gift from our niece and nephew.  What a wonderful idea and thoughtful gift.  It will be on temporary display for visitors in our guest house, until our Carriage House renovation is completed.
12-24-2012
"Gratitude Tree"
On Christmas Eve a beautiful surprise of this Autumn blooming Cherry tree (Prunus subhirtella ‘Autumnalis’) and a very touching inscription accompanying it was presented to us by four very dear friends.

The Autumn blooming Cherry will bloom twice (spring and fall).  This ornamental cherry is a mid-size tree and is more cold hardy than most other ornamental cherry trees.

In fall it's leaves are golden-bronze tinged with some red and the small black fruits it produces will attract birds.  In the spring a big show of semi-double dark pink flowers turning to light pink then finally brilliant white is the real star attraction of this beautiful tree.  Depending on temperatures, it can begin to bloom sporadically throughout the fall and winter months.

We are honored to have received this heartfelt gift and will be looking forward to the spring show it gives us here at Crabtree Gardens.

12-21-2012
Winter Solstice Celebration


We joined together to welcome longer days and celebrate our blessings around a table filled with herbs and greens signifying good wishes and positive thoughts. 

We listed the bad habits and thoughts we'd like to get rid of on colored papers and tore them into tiny bits then burned them in a bowl, signifying their removal from our lives.

We sang a song to remind us to share peace and love and we mingled around a huge bonfire drinking Wassail.

It was the perfect beginning to the Winter Solstice. We're planning on making it an annual affair.
11-10-2012
A beautiful skeletonized vine sculpture near the front of our barn.
10-26-12
Golden Splendor!
10-24-12

There is big news here at Crabtree Gardens this week!  An article that I wrote titled Companion Planting was published in the On Gardening page of Horticulture magazine.
10-9-2012
Long Border with tall grasses
10-3-2012
Our new Wedding Pergola is under construction this week.
9-24-2012
Sweet Autumn Clematis climbing up the wisteria.
9-10-2012
Elephant head amaranthus juts out in front of the camera lens.
9-6-2012
Burgundy Grey and Pink
9-3-2012  BUTTERFLY BUSHES ARE FULL!
Because of the many flowering plants we have that attract butterflies, our gardens are alive with their activity this time of year. While visiting our gardens you will be amazed at just how many different types of butterflies there are.  Its great to pull up a chair and sit just outside the doors to our Barn Theater and watch them dart between the butterfly bushes in search of nectar.  Sitting quietly and watching nature is a very relaxing experience at Crabtree Gardens.  Call us to plan a visit 570-788-0833.
8-21-2012

Wow! Crabtree Gardens in fine art!  Michele Tokach, a fine artist has been using our gardens as her muse.  She has exquisitely portrayed our gardens, gazebo, the Cottage, our farm house and our barn workshop (nine paintings) and offers them for sale through Fine Art America . Please check out her works at http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/michele-tokach.html
8-15-2012
Its butterfly season and they are busy in the gardens! 
Here is a Red-spotted purple on a hydrangea flower.

This photo was chosen for Photo of the Week on
Better Homes and Gardens photo of the week contest!

8-11-2012
Elephant ear (Colocasia esculenta) add a tropical look to our border. 
August 2, 2012

Our wildflower meadow is a succession of blooms. At present, Queen Anne's Lace is abundant and the goldenrod is starting to show buds, so it won't be long until the Monarchs are fluttering through it. 
July 26, 2012

Storm damage to our "Secret Dale" located in the lower part of the meadow.  We lost several large trees and were left with abundant clean up.  The Secret Dale is closed to visitors.
July 22, 2012

We just started a new project. We are currently working on building a "stream" using just plant materials under our covered bridge which leads from the Cottage to our gardens. See how we are doing it!

July 15, 2012
Queen Anne's Lace is named after Queen Anne, who supposedly was a lace maker. This beautiful flower has a single burgundy floret at the center which is said to resemble a drop of blood on the lace resulting from a finger prick from a needle. The photo I took has 2 florets.  It is said that this flower boosts tomato plant production when kept nearby. It is considered a noxious weed by farmers.
July 8, 2012

A lonely cosmos Cosmos bipinattus
in a sea of feverfew Tanacetum parthenium, both prolific self-seeders, make the possibility of having garden beds filled with color throughout droughts possible.  By allowing these beauties to sow themselves and naturalize you will have less maintenance and a healthy garden filled with pollinating insects and life.  Learn how to by joining one of our classes.



July 3, 2012

We started with blue balloon flowers, which seeded into some white ones.  Now among the white ones we found this variegated beauty.  Stars and stripes just in time for the 4th of July!   Celebrate!
July 1, 2012

Red astilbe, feverfew and  hosta create a dynamic combination and are quite easy to grow. The heavy white variegation in the leaves of the hosta echo the white of the feverfew and help to brighten a lightly shaded area.
6-23-12
Chicory, bee balm, daylily, lily and calla lily are blooming right now in addition to many other of our floral beauties.  Contact us for a tour at 570-788-0833 or schedule a group workshop for a few friends and celebrate the wonderful weather that we wait so long to enjoy.
6-10-12
This beautiful unidentified rose is blooming at the Cottage this week.
6-5-12
Crabtree Gardens is doing it's part to help the Monarch butterfly. 

We protect milkweed and allow it to self-sow on our property.  Below, Monarch butterfly caterpillars are enjoying the only food  they can eat which is milkweed.
Monarch females lay their eggs on the milkweed plant with an adhesive fluid that is applied to each egg as it is deposited. Four to six days after the eggs are deposited, they will hatch. The caterpillars will feed on the milkweed until they are ready to become a chrysalis where metamorphosis will begin and eventually a beautiful Monarch butterfly will emerge.
5-31-2012
We're getting ready for a garden tour this Saturday, June 2, 2012 held by the Berwick Beautification Committee, of Berwick,  PA.  Our garden is one of 6 gardens on the tour.

After recently speaking to an owner of another garden on the tour and discussing our busy schedules, she expressed frustration about the work involved in getting her garden ready for its visitors. She mentioned that I too must have been busy getting our garden in shape.  I just laughed and explained to her that we're as ready as we'll ever be. 

The truth is we don't  need to get it ready.  Our garden is always ready because its naturalized.  Yes, we like to cut a neat clean edge around the Rondel (visitors like neatly cut edges), but other than mowing the walking paths and picking up the stray tools or buckets left around, we are pretty much ready anytime. 

That's the difference between a naturalized garden and a highly maintained garden with heavily mulched plantings.

We strive for a color filled low-maintenance beauty with a succession of very closely planted shrubs, perennials, biennials and self-sown wildflowers colonizing wherever they decide to grow.  Our ground covers intermingle allowing the shading of the soil and providing a cool oasis for the millions of tiny bacteria living underground, providing nutrients for the plants also residing there. 

By allowing the plants to remain in place in the fall, their leaves and stems becoming the future food of these tiny organisms, we are providing the best kind of natural fertilizer a garden needs to continue to flourish. We don't "put our gardens to bed" as many gardeners feel compelled to do.  We allow our garden to rest and rejuvenate itself to become even better the next year.

Our methods are not conventional but the lush gardens are proof that they work.  Our mission is to teach others of this naturalized way to have a stunning garden filled with layers of beauty, and a bio-diverse property capable of taking care of itself.


Check out our garden programs and classes page for more information.

5-26-2012
Peony, Siberian Iris and Bishop's Weed flowers make a pleasant combination and are easy care.  They are blooming right now in our Friendship Garden.
5-23-2012

'Matador' poppy is in full bloom this week.  It's a show-stopper!  The gardens are also filled with phlox in shades of orchids and white and their fragrance is just divine.
Below is a lovely English cottage garden flower that is very easy to grow from seed. This beautiful display of Lupines (Lupinus polyphyllus) is located in our English cottage garden at the Cottage. We anxiously await their appearance every spring.

Early morning light makes the shades of blue and purple iridescent. Once established, this perennial will continue to move around your garden self-seeding happily, providing of course you allow them to naturalize and not continue to cover them with layers of mulch.

 We also have Chicory (
Chihorium intybus) interspersed within this planting bed so the blue color will continue throughout the early summmer. It may be considered a roadside weed, but we value this perennial herb for use in our gardening classes. It's medicinal uses are many and it can also be used as a substitute for coffee.

This is a Tree Peony Paeonia Suffruticosa which is blooming right now in our gardens.  It is different than the herbaceous peonies that die to the ground each year and return the following spring.  The branches of the tree peony remain intact and new buds are formed on the old woody branches. 

Each spring it rewards you with gigantic fragrant blossoms.  Tree peonies are easy to grow in USDA Zone 4-8 or 9.  The bushes can grow from 4-5 ' wide and 4-7 ' tall. This is one shrub I could not be without.  
My husband David is holding a 10" plate in back of the opened tree peony Seidei.
We really grow 'em big at Crabtree Gardens!  Our asparagus is huge this year and so very tender and sweet.  It makes the pencil thin grocery store stalks seem like you're eating grass blades. Homegrown asparagus is the best hands down. 

This picture shows the fleeting petals of that tree peony, which didn't last too long in a vase.
They make a lovely fragrant addition to bath water. Plan a stay at our Cottage and we'll pamper you with fresh petals from our all naturally grown flowers.
April 29, 2012
We had a heavy frost last evening and we're hoping our plants survive with out damage.  Most are very hardy.  Clockwise from left  a variegated honesty found growing among the solid color ones, frosted bee balm, drooping peony buds, the usual color of honesty,
chocolate vine, and our brand new double doors to the new Barn Theater Workshop by our friend Francis. More on the workshop......
April 21, 2012
I was lucky enough to get a quick photo of this beautiful Tiger Swallowtail visiting our Viburnum carlesii on April 20, 2012.  We also have many other beautiful fragrant shrubs opening daily such as the glorious lilacs. 

Shrubs are wonderful additions to a residential garden.  They are usually very low maintenance, they provide structure and many flower providing nectar for beautiful butterflies that will drop by for a visit and add another living dimension to your Eden.
We are again truly "growing" this week.  The interior of our old barn is half-way through completion to the Barn Theater Workshop, where our garden programs and classes will take place.  Unfortunately, we have had to replace some of the structure due to a severe infestation of carpenter bees that we never knew were making homes in our wood.

We avoid the use all chemicals on our property and this has now become a huge dilemma for us.  We promote pollinators and do whatever we can to help their survival, carpenter bees are very important pollinators. However, our contractor told us it's either the carpenter bees or the structure of our barn.  We researched alternatives to chemicals, but have not been able to come up with anything that would be effective other than diatomaceous earth, which only adds slower pain to the insects death.  So we must use a spray to quickly eradicate them from within our structure. 

The new wood siding will be painted and hopefully by continuing to patrol the area for any carpenter bees we can immediately block the holes with the hopes of stopping the nesting activity.  It is an unfortunate circumstance that these insects chose to make their nests within the wooden beams of our barn but that's what they do just as their name suggests.
4-14-2012
Here are some johnny jump-ups, honesty, elderberry flowers, various ground covers, vinca and a very fragrant viburnum Carlesii which one of the most wonderful fragrances of all.
4-6-2012 Good Friday

We enjoy making our food as good to look at as it is to eat.  Here's home made egg salad surrounded with grape tomatoes and olives and garnished with cilantro and smoked sweet paprika.

4-2-2012  Blooming in our gardens today is Japanese Kerria  Kerria japonica also known as Japanese Rose. This is a deciduous shrub that will take shade and blends well with ferns and hosta.  It blooms at the same time as the forsythia and can sporadically bloom throughout the summer.
 Do you want to learn more about designing your own garden?
Consider registering for our Garden Designer Program which will begin
May 24, 2012 and continue once monthly through October 25, 2012.
Check out our Programs and Classes page.
April Showers bring May Flowers- Happy April Fools Day!
Today, we are getting our pond and waterfall ready for the season.
3-31-2012
Out Like a Lion

March leaves us cold and rain soaked on it's last day.  At least the rain is helping the young hedges planted yesterday which will quickly grow into an allée in the center of the gardens.


3-28-2012
The Shed Transformation Project

Read More About It
3-24-2012
Some spring pictures
3-23-2012

Let Us Plant- The American Chestnut

 

Through a caring donation of four seedling Chinese-American chestnut trees from Dr. Frank and Phyllis Gegwich, of Berwick, PA, Crabtree Gardens will be taking part in a movement to re-populate the American chestnut tree across America. Thank you , Dr. Frank and Phyllis Gegwich for your efforts to bring back the American chestnut.   More….

3-18-2012

 

Crocus is the earliest of bulbs opening in our gardens. A favorite flower of the pollinators since there is not much available this time of year. This photo shows a happy honey bee gathering up some of the bright yellow-orange pollen from the anthers of this crocus.


3-17-2012

Covered Bridge is now in process!


The construction of our new Covered Bridge has started.  Francis Laskosky, our master woodworker will be constructing it on site this week.  "Franco Polo" as I jokingly call him is very busy getting the structures ready for garden tours and workshops. Covered Bridge progress photos will be added daily until it’s completion.

 

We are looking forward to another productive and unseasonably warm week filled with anticipation and transformation here at Crabtree Gardens, LLC. 


3-11-2012  Creating Diversity in the Garden

 

The gardens are starting to show even more signs of life.  Our forsythia are showing some yellow in the flower buds, the hedges are greening up and the elderberry have large swelling buds. We are presently cutting back our Miscanthus grasses because wind damage has caused them to break and lay over the lawn areas.  

 

Since we follow the naturalized garden mantra, which reduces maintenance by allowing nature to have her way, it’s difficult to stay away from removing the rotting leaves and dried grass fronds that have found their way into the planting areas, however it’s this exact thing, the rotting leaves that will provide the shrubs and perennials with the needed nutrients throughout the coming spring and summer months. Nobody rakes the forest floor do they?


Composting right in-line, there is no easier or natural way. It will add organic matter to the soil, and in turn the soil will remain moist and not need additional water.  It may look unsightly for a few short weeks, but once the perennials start to leaf out, the leaves left in there will continue to blanket the area and keep undesirable plants (weeds) at bay.  Our plight is to help others to move towards this more naturalized approach.


We try to remove the stigma that a beautiful garden is filled with a few plants surrounded by a sea of chemically treated mulch, preventing any diversity from occurring within that garden. However our methods are not easily received by most home gardeners because these methods are not for the faint of heart. As most people prefer the look of mulch to actual plant life, it's our future work to make "natural" the norm with gardeners rather than the exception. Natural doesn't have to be a field filled with "weeds", it can be so much more if given the chance.

 


Hooray! Looks like Spring has finally sprung!
Our first crocus opened on March 3, 2012.  Looking frozen but forcing themselves through the layer of organic covering, these are the first spring blooms on our property.  Our mahonia is covered with the tiny pale yellow buds. This hellebore is droopy because it was a bit frozen but the Oriental willow is standing proud covered with catkins ready to push out the flowering tails.
Feb. 25, 2012    25 days until Spring!

"Progress of any kind" is a mantra here at Crabtree Gardens.  Even though the gardens are quite bleak, we are busily readying our grounds for the spring opening. Focus has been placed on garden structures. We’re pleased to report that the infamous old shed has been re-located to its new home. Several other contractors suggested we raze the shed, but its character cannot be replicated. We were very fortunate to have Kulaga Excavating, of Drums, PA take on the challenge of gingerly relocating our precious shed and extending our entrance road thus providing more parking area. Joe Sr. (aka "Big Daddy") skillfully moved the shed to its new home and Joe Jr. and Dan were in charge of the road and building of the Hugelkultur berms (see Feb.12, 2012 below).  They are true professionals and we couldn't be any happier. Heartfelt thanks to the Kulaga Excavating team!

Below is the location the shed was moved from, it will become the Hosta and Shady Glade, with over 20 different hosta cultivars and shade loving plants. A bespoke covered bridge will be constructed next to the Glade. The bridge will transport visitors and guests from our English Cottage guest house to our naturalized American cottage gardens and vise versa. Francis will be constructing the bridge upon completion of the swing.  He's quite the busy man!

Our 14 yr. old Black Lab Marley is surveying the area for any mice that were displaced from the shed. Branches in the background are stockpiled for later rustic trellis construction in the garden. Our new road can be seen just beyond the branches.


Feb.19, 2012

It’s Feb. 19, 2012 and these are fresh herbs from the Cottage Herb Garden.  They’ll be chopped and pressed into dough forming the base of Ham Puffs, a savory served at today’s Bad Hatters Tea Club premier meeting.  Most of our herbs have lasted throughout the mild winter and we couldn’t be any happier.  It does help that they are tucked into a warm alcove between the concrete steps, foundation wall and basement stairwell and the fact that we allow blown in leaves to stay providing an extra blanket of protection. Watch for more information on the Herb Spiral Workshop we will be offering this spring at Crabtree Gardens.

Like a colorful confetti, the rosemary, thyme and sage are chopped for use in some of our tastings.
Feb. 12, 2012
Finally!  Our new Hugelkultur berm is starting to take shape.  This is a Permaculture technique practiced in Eastern Europe. Logs and branches are piled up a few feet high then covered over with soil.  It's labor intensive, but the results will be worth it.  We were able to work up a sweat moving the logs and are glad, because we didn't have a chance for much aerobic exercise this year shoveling snow.  More photos on this new technique we are using.

2/5/2012

 I'm Feeling Warm and Fuzzy

Finally, after much searching I found the seemingly difficult to locate “Black Cotton” seeds Gossypium herbaceum “Nigrum” from a wonderful generous person named Nan Ondra check out her blog http://hayefield.com/.  The seeds look like little balls of cotton.

It’s still a little early to plant them inside but in the next few weeks, I’m going to give it a try.  I fell in love with the dark leaved plant after seeing a picture in Garden Design Magazine. http://www.gardendesign.com/ideas/garden-design-black-magic.

 

Speaking of warm and fuzzy, our pussy willow is starting to show some fuzz, it’s really early, but with the extra mild winter we are having; many things are starting to look alive.

Maple sap is even flowing in the trees at the Cottage. I know this because we had a limb removed in early winter, and now it’s bleeding.

1/29/2012 More Progress  

New Garden Shed and Shrubs

We have chosen the locations for 7 Red Twig Dogwoods and 8 Winterberry Hollies to be planted throughout our Serpentine Walk in March.  There will be a new Garden House moving to this site later this winter. The picture shows 4 stakes with red flags marking the shed location and cardboard tubes in the background marking locations of the new shrubs. More on Garden Shed and Master Woodworker Francis Laskosky.

Red Osier Dogwood  will be planted in the Serpentine Walk area in the upper meadow. Red twig dogwoods are fast-growing shrubs that form a loose, rounded multi-stemmed suckering plant. They average 6-10 feet tall with a similar spread.  They form a dense root system, which is good for stabilizing stream banks and hillsides. They are also good for providing food and shelter for songbirds and other animals

Alternative Names

American dogwood, red willow, redstem dogwood, Cornus sericea ssp. sericea; Cornus stolonifera var. nevadensis Jepson and Cornus stolonifera Michaux (Hickman 1993).

Winterberry Holly  Ilex verticillata (L.) Gray

Berries are poisonous to humans

The attractive bright red fruit of winterberry is eaten by small mammals and more than 48 species of birds. The leaves and stems of winterberry are not a preferred source of browse, but moose, whitetail deer, cottontail rabbits, and snowshoe hare do utilize this plant. The persistent bright red fruit of this shrub make it very popular for landscaping. It is recommended for planting in shady moist areas, even though its growth and form are best under open grown conditions.

1/22/2012 to 1/28/2012 

 

I’m So Longing for Spring 

We just received our Pollinator Friendly Garden Certification by Penn State Extension and are so pleased with the news.

See Certificate

 

Our gardens and meadows are now covered in snow. So rather than post pictures of the pristine beauty of the frozen plants, I’ve decided to make spring come early. I’m enjoying a warm, relaxing cup of tea flavored with some strawberry-blackberry syrup we made this evening. David is playing some tunes on the piano.

 

Below is a springtime photo of a hollowed out stump of a locust tree near our pond.  I'm told locust will not rot, it has been this way for 5 years now, so I guess it will be around for a while!  Other spring photos-see more...

 

Enjoy-Sandi

 

1/15/2012 to 1/21/2012

Why is this tool my favorite?

 

When the snow halts all of the outdoor progress at our gardens, we make effective use of our time and begin to overhaul our gardening tools.  It is important to keep them in tip-top shape. Unfortunately, during the busy growing season, their condition is not on the top of the list of priorities.....continue

The Craftsman Handi-Cut Utility Cutter

The newly painted-so-I-can-see-it version!

1-8-2012 to 1-14-2012

Winter Temps Above Average

Even though our meadows are covered with dead vegetation, the temperatures are unseasonably warm and it feels like Spring rather than mid-winter, we enjoy walks about the area and the surprises we happen upon. Usually this time of year, our gardens are blanketed with snow.

 

We have some field art made with discarded black PVC pipe that was left on the Cottage property by the previous owner. Rather than send it to a landfill, we opted to use it for a free-form dynamic sculpture in our upper meadow.  It is constantly moving and changing positions with wind currents.

 

The pipe sculpture is surrounded by pine logs from a tree that was removed 2 years prior to make way for the road into the gardens. They were placed in the shape of an arc to provide a boundary around the sculpture.  As the logs decay they harbor insects, a tasty meal for the birds. Many times birds use the pipes as perches while surveying the area. Be sure to keep rotting wood a safe distance away from your home, so as not to attract termites.

 

A wasp nest (below) is discretely tucked inside of one of the pipes. 

 With branches exposed, the remnants of birds nests can be seen in the shrubs (lower photo). This bird used some plastic to weave in it's nest. It is such a pleasure to discover things during the dormant season that would be overlooked as the meadows are in growth.

1/1/2012 to 1/7/2012

 

An Exciting New Year Begins with: The Hedgerow 

We have begun our newest and most exciting project for 2012 here at the gardens. The first stages of our Wildlife Hedgerow are now in process with the removal of several giant evergreens trees which had begun to outgrow their space.  Read More....

(Lower Photo)

Steam can be seen rising due to the composting process in action. Nitrogen rich needles and carbon rich wood chips are being consumed by aerobic bacteria causing a chemical reaction to occur. What a great sight!