Wednesday, January 13, 2016

WHAT! ANOTHER ROCK

When David was out cutting down some trees a few weeks ago I spotted a rock that I knew I could find a place for in my garden. To my eyes it was a beauty; full of character and that perfect, weathered shade of grey.


If you have visited my garden you know just how many rocks have been moved from out there to in here. In fact our garden would be nothing without its rocks.
This is an area I redid recently. A corner by the pool; another layer of rocks to make this area more of a rock garden. Many plants have lived in this spot. I started with a rosemary plant that became to big. Then an Agave demettiana which succumbed to the freeze. Next came a soft leaf yucca which succumbed to the agave weevil. Now I am planting hardy natives such as santolina, blackfoot daisy, a low growing iris and scatterings of California poppies. I want to keep the plants low so the rocks will always take pride of place. Not so easy here as few plants stay small and manageable.


Rocks maintain interest in the winter garden when all that remain are the more structural agaves and grasses. No color to be found yet. That will have to wait for spring.


And they make a great transition from one level to another.


Not to mention their usefulness as a retaining wall. These rocks I collected during construction knowing I would build this dry-stone wall.


I like to take my cue from the land where there are some pretty amazing rock walls. I love this one, close by our house, over which water rushes when there are heavy rains.


You have to do something when you have terrain like this.


On the surface you may see nothing but underneath there is buried treasure.

So exactly what did I do with that rock I found. Actually, I put in an order for more! I decided to redo the area in front of the large window in the front courtyard. Originally there were 3 white Indian Hawthornes. I had never pruned them and they grew rather straggly, never flowering. A flowering Senna seeded there. It was lovely but if you know much about those trees you are lucky to have one grow with a nice shape. They tend to send out branches at all angles. But they are pretty when they bloom. It was leaning forward trying to reach more sun.
This area never warranted a photograph so I have none to share of how it looked but I knew it needed to be redone. One day I just let loose with the pruners and saws and by the end of the day the area was bare. Now I could begin to think about what I was going to do there. Of course with the dry creek running alongside it was going to involve rocks and that rock was going to find a home right there. That is why I needed a few more rocks.


The first job was to remove all the river rocks and clean out all the debris. This is something that has to be done every few years because plant material builds between the stones. Then I started to position the stones along the edge of the dry creek. This is always trial and error and these rocks are very heavy. First attempt failed but here's that nice rock placed on the second attempt.


The final ledge and river rocks replaced.


I plan to plant along the edge to soften the look of the area and add new gravel. I was also thinking of getting a new pot until I looked at the prices of large ones at the nursery today. (Unless we win the lottery tonight!) This old pot works quite well and it will be a matter of deciding what to plant in it. Also maybe a few grasses to soften the area around it. My other thought was to make a rectangular water feature which would be poured in place. But that would be more work.


For now I am playing around with ideas.

17 comments:

  1. I think the thing I love most about gardening is filling the potential of a newly cleared area, so thrilling.

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    1. That is so try. I can spend many an hour happily researching how to do a new area.

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  2. Oh, to have a "quarry" right behind your garden. There's nothing as satisfying to me than moving rocks of all sizes around the garden, from gravel to small boulders. So much effort but what a result! BTW, the agaves and grasses photo: no color needed, as it's perfect! So nice!

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    1. I'm with you Alan. Nothing quite so satisfying.

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  3. That pot looks perfect there, reinforcing the illusion things were always "just so", rather than newly arranged. I am eager to see what plantings you will choose to soften edges and draw the eye - you always manage such appealing groupings. And, I look forward to seeing this area re-appearing regularly on the blog from now forward. It is certainly not an area to overlook or leave out any longer!

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    1. The plants will probably ones gleaned from other parts of my garden. Lots of lamb's ears out there. But it will have to wait as we are having work done on that window and not until March.

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  4. That is a beautiful rock. You have such a great eye for rock placement in your garden. I have a pile of good looking rocks that I need to place, but haven't figured out how to integrate them yet. Wish I had your talent!

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    1. Thanks Laura. It's one of my favorite parts of gardening on this lot. Saves me having to choose plants which I am not very good at.

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  5. It's not easy to take out overgrown plants and start over. The area looks great now and will work well until you decide on the water feature. A water feature view would be a nice view from that large window.


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    1. I always feel so much better when I have done it and wonder why it took so long.

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  6. Moving rocks is much harder than furniture. I must confess, I move rocks around every year, kind of like a dance. Ha.. looks good.

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    1. These ones do weigh an amazing amount even when they are of no great size.

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  7. You certainly have a plentiful supply of rock! It's great that it's all of the same or similar type too. My neighborhood was built on the site of a former rock quarry but, although we have a seemingly endless supply of pebble and fist-sized rock, the large rocks appear to have been stripped away. Local palo verde stone was used for our fireplace when the house was built (in the early 1950s) but that stone is no longer even available for purchase here.

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  8. Playing around with ideas is more than half the fun of gardening, I think. I like where you're going with this area.

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  9. You have such beautiful rocks! I love how you have the contrasting ones, too. I love rock in the garden and enjoy the fact that we now have a good amount of it. It's moving some of the boulder-sized ones that is the difficulty!

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  10. I love your rocks! I've been playing with rocks in the front garden, but i need to go find some larger ones and lug them home. Thanks for the inspiration!

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  11. You make moving rocks around so exciting! Your garden in winter is so beautiful. I love how the seasons wash over your garden, each as impressive in their own right.

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