The past two days were the first weekend of the long-awaited-for Springtime at Ananda Open House. After many, many months of preparation the doors were thrown open and the public was invited to share in the glorious colors of the Crystal Hermitage Gardens.
As you can see, the weather was not spring-like. In fact, it was quite winter-like and for most of the two days it threatened to rain. (And it snowed last evening!) The members of Ananda who were on hand to host this popular event dressed in parkas and hats.
Last year we greeted hundreds of people per weekend. This year the numbers have been far fewer. But those who braved the cold were greeted by warm and loving smiles and treated to dramatic skies and richly colored tulips, pansies, alysums, and green shrubs and trees. We also had a selection of fine teas donated by Teavana, and gourmet scones baked by Netri.
One good thing about the cold weather is that the tulips and other flowers may last longer. According to the weather service the rest of the week will continue to be cloudy and cool. At the moment, it appears that it will not rain next weekend – so we are hopeful that people will hop in their cars and visit.
The amount of planning and planting that went into the gardens, the planning that went into hosting potentially large crowds required a nearly heroic output of energy. But, no one complained that the turnout was smaller than expected and actually took the timeless advise to “not be attached to the fruits of our labors” to heart.
Major projects, like new stone paving near the standing Buddha, a french drain and new stone pavers around the retaining wall at the entrance to the dome were completed in the last hours before the doors opened. Railings were put up all along the stairs leading down to the gardens and the path to the upper entrance was rerouted to lessen the incline. The path now is not only easier, it is more beautiful in how it opens up in front of the gates at the shrine.
I wandered around the gardens these past few day, enjoying conversation with my friends and feasting my eyes on spectacular colors. I used a variety of lenses and tried angles to challenge myself to see new things.
The overcast skies create nice lighting conditions for flowers. Yesterday, after a light rain there were little rain drops on the tulips that looked like diamonds.
Every year, Netri, Jivada and the green team plant new color combinations so the waves of color this year were unique. And there is more to come. Because of the weather, the tulips on the lower terrace are slower than the upper terraces and have yet to bloom.
This morning begins a week of team teaching and evaluations of the yoga teacher trainees. The past three week students from the US, Switzerland, and Sweden have been studying Ananda Yoga at The Expanding Light. They are a delightful and dedicated group. I am going to head over to Hansa Temple to serve as one of the evaluators. So, I will end this post with photos of some of the flowers. Blessings to you all. Love, Barbara