Monday, October 6, 2014

Growing A Rock Garden

A sloped area in front of the house has been neglected for the past eleven years.  My usual stone walls did not seem appropriate for the location so nothing happened there.  I wanted something built using larger stones but had no idea of how to safely move small monsters to the site.  Age has brought me a little improvement in judgement and I realize that a back injury now might permanently end my stonework career.  Gemplers listed a simple cable with differing sized rings at each end.  The smaller ring will pass through the larger ring and then drop over the ball on a hitch.  My trusty red Ranger pulled this rock to the house with no problem.

There are nearly enough rocks in this collection to build a rock garden.  The smaller ones were rolled into the dump cart pulled behind the lawn tractor.  The larger ones were pulled behind the truck.  All are gathered above the new garden.  A remaining challenge is to safely move the stones downhill to their final resting place.

These stones have been found in various locations around the property.  Many had been moved to field's edge years ago.  Some were a great distance from the closest possible approach with my machines.  Becky thought a plastic snow sled might be used to pull large stones across the forest floor.  She was right.  It takes some effort but the sled slides over fallen leaves with a reasonable amount of work from me.  Several irresistible stones still wait for their turn on the sled.

Five large stones have been placed to complete the first change in elevation.  Each was bedded in wet fine gravel.  Only wet sand can be packed firm and working these stones into the wet sand has them solidly anchored.  Small path stones were screened out of the soil here.  The stone path is intended to keep the pasture grass out of the planting bed.  We have found that the path will require weeding but if we stay with it the quack grass will not take over the garden.

This unusual rock was found along the edge of the back field.  Its formation remains a complete mystery to me.  The thin white lines may be calcite deposits but they were laid down in two different directions.  How could that have happened?  This stone is in the middle of the row of five.  When I need to walk across here, I always step over this stone.  The glacier left it intact to a degree but it looks fragile to me.

We would like to plant this area come Spring.  Much more sifting needs to be done to remove all of the small stones and weeds from the dirt.  Then compost will be added to make soil.  This is where I can be found tomorrow.


Donna@Gardens Eye View said...

Good luck with this challenging area...I love watching how you are completing this. And I understand how injuries can limit us as we age.

Indie said...

What an interesting rock! Rock moving is so challenging - that's how I injured my wrists this summer. Every time I moved rocks, my tendonitis would come back. I guess it's like someone said: garden smarter, not harder! Your rock garden will be awesome!