Friday, September 16, 2011


This morning I went to the stone yard. It was the final step in the completion of a project I started on Labor Day.

This summer I lost the two Japanese aralia in the front courtyard garden. They were growing against the wall in a long neglected area. I have never been happy with this part of the garden. It is mostly hidden from view except when I walk down the hallway to the bedroom. I always avert my eyes because I don't like what I see.

It was probably the least photographed part of my garden ( you can just see the area in the far left hand corner of the photograph, with the Japanese aralia during better times) and I needed to change that. I knew exactly what I was going to do; extend the dry creek up into the corner.

Sometimes thing have to get worse before they get better. I began digging out the new creek bed only to be confronted with a drain pipe running right across the path of the new creek. We did however decide that it was an offshoot from a drain in the far corner of the house and as the pipe was higher than the drain it really was not functional( not our doing). David now became involved in the project cutting off the pipe and sealing both ends. So I carved out the new creek bed and lined it with granite. Meanwhile David was sent on a mission to find a new bridging stone.

Here comes the stone. I can't tell you how long it took him to drag this stone up the hill. Hours. Later that evening we were sitting quietly when David said, "that is the last rock I am bringing up the hill" Should I believe him. I think he may mean it this time.

Here is the rock in place, spanning the new creek.

The original stepping stones leading to the door needed some adjustment before I began filling the creek with New Mexico river rock. I moved the rock from lower down the creek. It was an opportunity for a good clean out. Then today I went to buy more. $30 of stone finished the job.
The larger rocks were repurposed. They had once been used around the fountain pot in the sunken garden. In order to tie the river rock to the rest of the area I added some native limestone rocks. I can just about manage the small ones by myself.

For me, the design of the hardscape is the easy bit. The planting is the hardest. What I need is plants that are easy to care for, drought tolerant, and don't shed leaves. The sun never shines in the far corner. I relocated this twist leaf yucca from one of my vegetable beds. I hope it isn't too unhappy in its new home of limey rubble.

You can see that it was about to produce a bunch of new shoots. In the shady corner, for the time being, I relocated another plant from the vegetable bed, A.weberi. It may just be a temporary plant until I decide what is best for the corner. I'm always open to suggestions.

All I need now are a few plants to soften the edges of the creek. I already see bluebonnets have germinated at the top end.


  1. Hi I am new here, i came in from Chris Rohrer's bloglist. You certainly have plenty of rocks there, and that is a nice rock garden you have created. But i pity David for getting the rock, i even wonder how he was able to lift it to the wheelbarrow! Oh he's so sweet.

  2. I love it! Especially those stones in the 2nd photo... we have some similar looking ones here in Wisconsin. I also really like the look of dry creek beds and have played with the idea of including one here at some point... yours is very nice. Larry

  3. I especially love the flat rocks you have---perhaps because that is the type I DON'T have. Here in Michigan, if I need more rocks, I have hubby dig a hole in the yard. Instant rocks! But, ours are all the cobblestones, and sometimes I wish I had some flat ones for stepping stones. All our local landscaping places only have cobbles and boulders too. Sigh.

  4. Andrea- Thanks for visiting my garden. Actually, I think David really likes a tough project but we are both getting on a bit and should not be doing such work. We just can't help it.
    Larry- Thanks. I am pretty pleased the with final result. The original dry creeks came out of a necessity for drainage si they are really wet weather creeks. If we could just check them out!!
    Sue- We really are lucky to have such wonderful rocks at our disposal. In the past I have lived in places with not a rock in sight. I must admit that I like this rocky landscape even though it is a problem for planting.

  5. I think you can stop feeling ashamed of this area. It will interesting seeing what you plant there, especially given what has happened in Texas this summer.

  6. I just love your rocky garden. It is my favorite in the Austin area.

  7. I love seeing your projects. How beautiful that stream bed is. I think from the look on his face, that may *be* the last stone he drags up that hill. I want a greenhouse, and it may be the last thing Bill wants to build. I don't know. We have to let them rest and go again. All that potential in a new bed is one of the things which keeps me gardening in spite of the horrible heat.~~Dee

  8. I'll have to show Eric this post and tell him he'd better hope I don't start getting ideas for a rock garden! Love the finished effect. Very lovely.

  9. And what was the temp the day of this project!? Wow, you guys are made of hardy stuff! Turned out beautifully.

  10. I understand David who is his last stone! Really it's a very hard work...
    But the result is great.
    I love the stones!
    A suggestion, maybe Sorbaria sorbifolia "Sem"... It's a small variety that can grow in shade. I have this plant and it is very, very tolerant drought!But, it loses the leaves...

  11. Beautiful work! I really like your bridge stone, but my back hurts just thinking about all that pushing and pulling. Kuddos to your husband. The stone creek is perfect. I am really getting to know twist leaf Yucca myself after being given a clump that was overrunning a friend's flower bed. It is really a nice foundation Yucca and seems happy even in a shady environment! are so lucky. I have too much shade...yours will look lovely with that addition.
    We got .32" of rain this morning and it looks like a lot of south/central Texas has rain this morning. Hope you get some there!
    I'll keep my fingers crossed.
    David/ Tropical Texana/ :-)

  12. The area turned out absolutely lovely. Thank David for me. The stone he moved links it altogether, and it wouldn't be there if he had not moved it. Husbands like him are extraordinary!

  13. Les- I am feeling really pleased about the new area. Can't wait for plants to start growing there.
    Ann-Thank you and what a great name for a blog. I had never heard of a wet weather creek until I came to Austin.
    Dee- He's such a good sport, isn't he. WHat would I do without him. Well, I know the garden wouldn't look anything like it does. I like to think of us being a team.
    Jayne- Oh, I'm sure Eric has helped with a lot of projects. What would we do without them.
    Denise- yes, it was rather hot. At least in the 90s but we quit by mid day. Now it is cooler but the project is complete.
    Yolanda- I'll check that plant out. Thanks for the suggestion.
    David- One thing my David does every single morning are his back strengthening exercises. It seems to pay off. iI hope the twist leaf yucca works. It was turning into a fine specimen in the veg. bed where the soil was pretty fertile. It may be in shock where it is now. I did amend a little. No rain yet, I'm
    Anon- I'll let him know. I sent him off fishing as a reward!

  14. Love your new rock garden !!!!

  15. lovely project. Need suggestions on what to plant? am I hearing the rumblings of a new design-a-go-go at jenny's??

  16. When you go after a project, you really do it right, Jenny! Fantastic, as always. And kudos to David on wrestling that rock up the hill. Whew!

  17. I love this blog and you and all the kudos I received.