Archive for the ‘Gardening’ Category

Usher in Spring with Japanese Garden Fountains and Outdoor Zen Décor

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

japanese garden +supplies +fountains +zen +buddhaCreating a peaceful oasis in your own backyard is every homeowner’s dream, but it is not something that occurs without effort.  Spring is the best time to get started on a Japanese garden project and pick up Zen fountains, Buddha statues and other supplies.  But you may not be aware of what Japanese garden is supposed to look like.  Fortunately, there are countless books available on this subject alone.

The Japanese take their gardens and Zen décor very seriously and they go about the design of a garden in very deliberate ways, but there is no one method for creating your own.  Your backyard garden may look very different from someone else’s, depending on the space you have available.


Spring marks the arrival of the Cherry Blossom

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

The symbolic meaning of the Sakura or cherry blossom can be traced back centuries to the core values of the Japanese culture, simplicity and purity.   It is also closely tied to Buddhist teachings; reminding us to treasure each moment in life as they are as fleeting as the life of the delicate cherry blossom.

When in bloom, Japan celebrates as a nation.  The media provides regular updates on the “Sakura Zansen” the cherry blossom front to allow the nation to prepare for “Hanami” the viewing parties which fill the squares with dance, food and music when the blossoms peak.

Cherry blossom trees first came to America in 1912 when the mayor of Tokyo donated 3,000 trees to Washington, D.C. as a gesture of friendship. Today, they line the tidal basin and are enjoyed by thousands of people each year.  In 1926, Japan also donated cherry blossom trees to Philadelphia to commemorate the 150th anniversary of our freedom.

Stretching across centuries when the ancient Samurai proudly wore the Sakura blossom on their uniforms, often reflecting their own brief service and life, to the enduring symbol in Japan’s modern culture, the cherry blossom is seen as a time of new beginnings.  Schools open for new sessions, employees start new jobs and many couples wed.  The Sakura blossom can be found in business names and logos, home décor such as shoji screens, tea sets and kimonos and is also present on the 1,000 yen bank note.

Enjoy the Great Outdoors – Add Japanese Water Fountains to Your Garden

Friday, March 16th, 2012

japanese water fountains + garden + outdoorsNo matter where you live in the United States, it seems like spring is starting a little earlier this year.  As a result, homeowners are starting to look outdoors for weekend projects and thinking about the condition of their garden.  Once you clear out the leaves and weeds, why not consider something to make your garden more inviting?  Japanese water fountains make the perfect focal point and they help you enjoy your garden even more. Adding a fountain to your garden gives it the added dimensions of movement and sound.

Even if your garden isn’t large enough to sit in, Japanese water fountains can bring the feeling of your garden into a sunroom or enclosed patio.  Most of the fountains on sale today are made for indoor use because the motors require electricity.  Attractive enough to stand on their own, they also coordinate well with Bonsai trees, Ikebana vases and Buddha statues.  These Zen design elements are surprisingly simple and easy to find at


The Natural Life Center – Pumpkin – Cucurbita pepo

Sunday, October 23rd, 2011

Fall has arrived! The changing of the seasons invites a celebration of the fall foliage, cool crisp days and the rich harvest from the earth. When I think of October, I think of pumpkins. But don’t just think about making a Jack O’ Lantern out of your pumpkin – start to incorporate it into your diet!

The “great pumpkin” provides us with many health benefits and the seeds, oil and fruit are known to have many healing qualities. Pumpkin is rich in beta-carotene, a powerful anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. It helps prevent buildup of cholesterol on the arterial walls, which reduces the risk of stroke. Pumpkin is also high in potassium; helping to reduce hypertension. It is also rich in carotenoids, which assist in keeping the immune system strong and healthy. Eating mashed pumpkin can help with conditions like eczema, and edema. Try some sautéed pumpkin to help with bronchial asthma or bronchial infections.

Pumpkin is high in fiber and the seed oil contains Omega 6, Omega 9, and Vitamin A & E. Eat those pumpkin seeds to help with urinary infections and disorders of the prostate.
Components of the pumpkin are starting to appear in many skin care regimes and some research has shown it helps to retain moisture, maintain normal cell structure and keep your skin looking and feeling healthy.

Pumpkin also helps to balance blood sugar levels. As an example, I feed my insulin resistant pony, Maynard, 2 large tablespoons of pumpkin seeds and 1/2 cup of pumpkin puree every day. Pumpkin contains fiber; making it a great remedy for diarrhea or constipation in cats and dogs and it only takes one or two teaspoons to get things regular.

So don’t just make a Jack O’ Lantern out of your pumpkin – start to incorporate it into your diet! We love pumpkins at our house!

This is general information regarding pumpkin, pumpkin seeds and pumpkin seed oil. We encourage you to learn more about pumpkin through research and see how it can benefit your life. If any condition persists please see a health care professional. Thanks!

Frances Fitzgerald Cleveland is a guest contributor and a professional herbalist and aroma therapist. Her company is FrogWorks, Inc. – Natural Healing with Plants & Essential Oils for You & Your Animals. Visit her website at

Make Your Home a Peaceful Oasis with Japanese Water Fountains and Zen Garden Supplies

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

japanese water fountains and zen garden suppliesEven in the dead of winter, it is possible to recall the sights and sounds of spring in your home.  Just close your eyes and listen to the peaceful trickling water as it cascades down the side of your Japanese water fountain.  Then look up and see the fresh blooms in your Ikebana vase and you may think you slept right through the winter doldrums. 

Japanese water fountains and Zen garden supplies make it possible to add a beautiful touch of nature to your home surroundings.  It is amazing how a room that includes a glowing water fountain can change the moods of everyone in it.  Natural elements like these are a surprisingly simple and inexpensive way to make your home into a peaceful retreat and they offer the perfect complement to your indoor Japanese décor. 


Turn Your Garden into an Oasis with this Buddha Fragment

Thursday, August 12th, 2010
buddha statue

Buddha Statue Fragments

It is amazing how a Buddha Fragment can change the whole character of your garden.  Truly an unusual sculpture, this “Fragment Buddha” face is designed to appear as though you captured a valuable fragment of a monumental sculpture. By placing it in the perfect sacred space within your garden, it is instantly transformed.

Since ancient times, Buddha statues have been placed on the grounds of temples and gardens.  It is believed that the strong association between Buddhism and gardening grew out of this tradition.  Many Buddhists believe that the soil in a garden represents the fertile ground of Buddha’s mind or the state of our own internal Karma.  Therefore, the paths within a garden can represent spiritual enlightenment and the change of seasons the changing moods of the mind.

According to Buddhist tradition, a garden Buddha statue should always face north, since the south is associated with Yama, the Hindu god who judges the dead.