The creation of a lovely park-like Gardens for contemplation and meditation has been launched at Ananda in Laurelwood Valley, Oregon. It will feature areas with inspiring shrines and quiet nooks for those who may want a secluded place to meditate in nature. In addition, there are plans as well for grassy areas surrounded by colorful flowers and ornamental plantings where musical events will be held on summer evenings.
Yogananda Gardens is a collaborative experience. The land where these gardens will be placed is part of Ananda Laurelwood and we are starting work on the land. The highly admired sculptor, Gary Roller in New Mexico, is creating a larger-than-life-sized bronze statue which will be the crowning touch in the Gardens.
The statue itself will be surrounded by landscaping with attractively created flower beds of various shapes and hues, pleasing to the eye. Seating areas will be created around him for visitors to bathe in the Yogananda vibration as they enjoy the beautiful and serene view of Laurelwood Valley spread out below.
There will be different heights to different areas of the park with meandering trails leading from one area to another. When finished the upper area and lower area will have wheel-chair accessibility.
Interesting paths through some of the more natural areas will lead to secluded spots for relaxation or meditation in the midst of colorful bushes, trees, and flowers and probably a statue or two. We have many creative people, who are a part of our group, who are participating in the design process. This is a big project! One that will offer a place of beauty, peace and tranquility in a troubled world for aeons to come.
This beautiful scaled drawing by designer, David Steinmetz, shows one proposed layout for the garden area.
The area planned for development of the Yogananda Gardens is the 10-15 acres roughly bound on the East by the existing road, on the North and West by housing clusters and on the South by the waste water purification ponds. The proposed statue placement has the advantage of good visibility from the garden area below and even from parts of Laurelwood Road. It affords a great views of the far horizon to the West and the Laurelwood valley to the North that would be unobstructed by plantings and small trees in the garden below. Also it is somewhat distanced from the residential area above. Two entrances will allow the visitor to choose a downhill or uphill experience of the garden. The topography includes a variety of environments: From a dense forest on a steep hillside in whose shadow is a seep that invites the creation of a water feature of some sort to relatively flat areas that could become gathering areas and other spots just right for quiet seclusion.
Since the diagram above was drawn, the proposed site for the statue has been shifted to the east and up on to the flatter area now planted in wheat. Watch the blog page for news of updates and progress as the plans and development process progresses.
Stay tuned and become a part of this exciting new opportunity to honor Paramhansa Yogananda, who has brought divine inspiration and tremendous tips and guidance on living a practical, but uplifted life that can bring us the peace and fulfillment so badly needed in the world today.
What has been accomplished already:
- Much of the area overgrown with blackberries has been repeatedly mowed.
- A small shrine near the planned plaza provides a focus for the project.
- Initial mapping and surveying.
- The gardens have served for a wedding venue.
Ongoing grounds development:
- Engaging volunteer and intern help.
- Identification of special places.
- Development of pathways.
- Control of invasive plant species.
- Installation of benches. Planting flowers.