Visitors to Osho Leela love strolling through the garden and grounds, soaking up the abundant beauty and recharging away from city life – and in the summer, camping on the field.
Leela residents find sanctuary and nourishment from their often busy schedules running a personal development centre. I’ve heard more than once that the magical atmosphere comes from the ley lines that run underneath – all the way from Glastonbury. But did you know that dreams have been planted here – and that you can come and get involved?
I talk to our grounds manager, Premen, who has been on the grounds for 4 years, bringing his former experience as a gardener. His passion for the land shines through every word. “I just like it looking beautiful. I like things to be in flower throughout the whole year when possible. And I love the grass when it’s cut. The look and smell of the back lawn when it’s mowed – that’s my favourite in the summer. And I like the wildflowers and the butterflies.”
Formerly in the Debop department (maintenance), Premen stepped in to fill a gap when Dhiraj, the former director, left. “I took it on because I felt like a change, to get outside and into nature.”
Premen has a natural approach: “I’m very much into not putting chemicals down and just letting nature and the insects have some space.” At this point, he spotted a robin behind me and we both paused to take it in.
“In the summer, the butterfly life is amazing. There were just so many here this year, it was astonishing – that makes me really excited. We have a project to catalogue all the different types of butterflies and wildflowers at the moment, which we’ll hopefully get done for next summer. You think everything’s OK when you see the butterflies – even though it might not be, when you see them, you know that it’s still happening.”
Some of my favourite nature spots on the Leela land are the line of oaks, the meditation area surrounded by 8 yew trees, the small area of woodland and the apple orchard which is full of cherry blossom in the spring. Although some of the trees, like the Monterey Pine on the teepee field, date back to around the 18th Century and earlier, when the Leela house was in its previous incarnation as a country manor, what I didn’t know was that until 20 years ago, it was mainly fields.
“Someone had a vision back then to create this – if they hadn’t, it wouldn’t be half what it is now,” explains Premen. “They got a grant for 3000 trees which they used to make the maze and plant all the woodland. Those trees have all had 20 years to get big. They’re all getting a bit of top to them now so it’s becoming proper woods – not just shrubby things. I love it.”
4 times a year, volunteers come to Osho Leela to spend a weekend gardening. “It’s such a blessing having these people come here to help out – they create such good energy. They’re transforming, beautifying and showing a bit of love for Osho Leela,” says Premen.
We’ve just had a gardening weekend here, where, among other projects, lilac trees were planted in the driveway for the first time. I ask a few of the participants what brings them here and what they love about the experience.
“I love contributing to the community and working on the grounds.”
“It’s a lot of fun.”
“The coffee break!”
“Dynamic! Osho practices.” (You can get a taste of the meditations we have to offer here while you visit.)
“I enjoy the weeding. It’s been really good to see how much we’ve cleared in just a few hours.”
“We’ve had a lot of dancing and fun this weekend.”
What will be going on at the next gardening weekend?
“In November, we’ll be planting more bulbs – daffodils and tulips – clearing dead stuff, cutting brambles, and getting ready for the spring!” says Premen.
If you want to be part of the fun and plant the seeds for the spring on our beautiful 17 acres, join us on 8th – 10th November at the next gardening weekend. and bring your wellies!
“Every year the trees grow taller, the grass grows longer. Hope to see you.”
Written by Khalsa (Morgan) Nichols. Khalsa is a nature-loving writer, singer and group facilitator living and working at Osho Leela. www.morganknichols.com.