In early June, I headed down to Siva Ashram by myself for a quick, five-day visit for Phase 4.2 of our landscaping. It was amazing to see how the grounds had gone from being almost completely brown in April when we were there during the dry season to being lush green in just two months. The rains have come again and it is the perfect time for planting.
Many of the plants that we had planted in previous years are now bearing fruit. The citrus, nance, coffee and a few others all have fruits. The starfruit and tamarind trees are flowering. Creating a garden like this is not instantly gratifying. The fruits of our labor, excuse the pun, will only be seen in the years to come. And some of the trees we are planting will only reach their full size in about 75 to 100 years. I’m afraid I won’t get to enjoy that, but ours is a long-term plan. In fact, we have a 300-year vision for Siva Ashram.
On this trip, we lined the driveway up to the future main ashram building with short-variety coconut trees. These won’t grow very tall but will bear lots of fruits and also create a lovely evergreen canopy over the driveway. The Jacaranda Mimosifolia that we had planted along either side of our long entrance driveway have been struggling badly and not doing well at all. We finally made the very tough decision, after consulting a couple of landscaping and botanist friends, to pull them all out. Heart breaking, but it needed to be done. We replaced them with Delonix Regias, which we know does well, and the driveway will be canopied with red flowers as opposed to purple in the future.
Most people only ever get to see photos and videos that we post on our project. These don’t show a lot of the struggles that we face in creating such a garden, and I certainly don’t want to paint a picture that it is all rainbows and unicorns. Another challenge faced recently was we planted two gorgeous Bismarckia palms to mark the entrance of our driveway only to find out a month later that they were stolen one night. Disheartening and frustrating, needless to say.
A little over three years now since our first planting, the garden is starting to take shape. This made us also realize that a few trees were either planted too close to each other or not in the best spot. So we spent some time moving a few trees to happier locations. We also planted a bunch more trees and palms–almost a hundred in total. Since we started, we’ve planted over 1,200 plants and trees. We have more to plant and will continue to develop the gardens in the years to come to create a gorgeous spiritual sanctuary.
The video below gives an overview of some of the projects accomplished during the June visit. We’d love to have your support whether it is in the form of expert advice or tree donations. And we also want to take this opportunity to thank all our friends who have stepped forward to help in so many ways, those who have donated trees and, of course, our amazing team of hard working souls in Costa Rica without whom this project would truly struggle to see the light of day.
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