An Evolving Rock Garden

by - April 07, 2018

We have a little tradition in our family of bringing home rocks from camping trips or special times in the mountains. We don't always remember to do it, but the times we have it usually involves picking one out and seeing if Joe is able to lift it and get it into the car. We also regularly dig up rocks in the yard. Nearly every time we have planted a tree, we've unearthed rocks of varying sizes. This has resulted in quite a collection that we had been using to create a border around the firepit garden. 

Last summer the firepit garden was looking pretty lush. It's interesting looking back just 10 months or so and seeing the evolution between seasons but also in plants that have been moved to new spaces. One cedar died, and two other junipers have been moved to a new location. 

Currently as spring is tiptoeing in and out of April, the ground is a little barren, and when I look out I can almost envision what it will become although there is currently not much to look at. In fact, a month ago, the only thing I saw was that ring of rocks. The border served to separate grass from flower bed. However, the grass was always creeping in and the chickens were always knocking mulch out into the grass. The ring was always getting tripped over and accidentally kicked.

Then I saw an episode of "Love Your Garden" where rocks were used not to divide landscape but to be blended into the landscape. I pulled out the rocks and grouped in clusters into the flower beds. I wished there were a few larger ones since all the little ones looked too busy.

Then last week I wanted to plant a dogwood tree. I dug down and hit a rock. As I circled around that initial shovel strike, I kept hitting more rock. I had a feeling this was a good one.

Rolling that giant rock left a trail.

It made a great entrance into the firepit, and we happily replaced the concrete blocks that were there.

But there was more rock. Just beside that first rock, there was another rock. And then another. Digging that last rock broke two shovels.

I got a lot questions about whether this rock was actually as gravestone.

This is how I found them under the ground on top of a layer of bright orange clay. The photos make them look like different colors, but they are actually all the same.

We made a cardboard sled and used ratchet ties to drag our rocks across the yard and place them into our firepit garden. I still don't like the placement of the smaller rocks, but I'm waiting to see how the vegetation comes in. This will be a pollinator garden with many cone flowers, black-eyed susans, lantana, dianthus, meadow sage, grasses, ferns, foxgloves, yarrow, hostas, columbines and blue star amsonia.

I planted lady ferns along the new rock path, and they've been popping up over the past two days.

June Kitty is watching things grow with me. We agree that it's not fancy like the garden shows, but it suits our style and holds some fun memories already.

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