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Quote of the Day: Gordon Hayward

April 20th, 2017

“Stone gives our garden solidity and weight. It helps to frame views and bring out the colors of the foliage in our plantings; and it provides places to rest and foils for lawn. Used in paths, it shapes how we move through space. Stone artifacts lend a feeloing of time and history and often determine the mood and tone of an area.”

Gordon Hayward in Stone in the Garden

My Ohio garden had lots of stone features, every planting hole produced hundreds of stones ready to be used in walls and walkways. So I build walls and walkways with them.

Now that I’m settling on a design for this garden, stone walls are going to be added here and there throughout the garden. My first wall is on the upper side of the potager. Now that the big maple tree is gone, it’s time to level out this area and build walls around it.

The only difference is the size of many of the stones. I have access to stacks and stacks of large stones, these stacks were made by the original homesteaders here in the late 1800’s. I’m slowly moving these large stones and building walls that define gardens spaces and level out the very hilly nature of this garden.

Do you have any stone walls, walkways, or other features in your garden?

Quote of the Day: Stone Walls

July 22nd, 2012

History is about leaving our mark. The old settlers’ mark is a bunch of tilting gravestones and some broken down stone walls, and I wonder if, as they heaved rocks onto the intricately fitted walls, they thought about us, the future, or were they just trying to get those stones out of the field. Whatever their motive, they left a mark with their lives. And we leave one with ours.

Linda Tatlbaum from Carrying Water as a Way of Life: A Homesteader’s History

I always notice stone walls when we’re out and about, especially the old ones. Perhaps it’s because I’m a stone wall builder myself. When I build a stone wall I’m not necessarily thinking about it being here in a few years, I’m more doing it because I love the look and I have a ton of rocks on hand.

Gardening organically is something I do with future generations in mind. I know not using chemicals in the garden is healthier for me, but I know that it will make a big difference to the generations that come after me. They are also on my mind as I blog to encourage others to go organic.

What kinds of things do you do for the sake of future generations?

Making Lemonade – or Stone Walls

March 31st, 2012

“He builded better than he knew,
The conscious stone to beauty grew.”
Ralph Waldo Emmerson
(found in Stone in the Garden)

Every time I dig a hole here at Chiot’s Run I end up with more stones than soil. It’s back building work (and biceps too), which I have to look at it as a treasure hunt for stones or it would quickly become frustrating drudgery. There’s a rather large pile of stones in the back that came from the digging of the foundation, I’ve added to it when the rocks I dig up aren’t needed for an immediate project. As a result I have a nice stockpile of stones ready for any project I can dream up, as long as my back can hold up.

Last fall, when I was planting tulips on the back hillside, I dug up rocks by the thousands. Some were small, about the size of a golf ball, most were about the size of a frisbee, and there were a good many that required a spud bar and could be categorized as boulders. I have been wanting to build a small rock wall to hold up the front edge of this bed for years, but have not had the energy or inspiration to do so. This past week, the weather was beautiful, the soil was still soggy, it was too cold to pain the remaining doors, so I decided to work on this wall.

Most of the rocks that went into the wall were dug from the soil that it’s holding back. The result is definitely wonderful as stone walls add a sense of history and permanence to a garden. Where once a garden seemed to drift into the lawn, now there’s a definite dramatic edge. This wall is the perfect height for sitting and from it you can admire the maple grove behind you up over the small hill or the raised bed garden behind the garage. I capped it with large flat stones just for this purpse (the little black garden cat seems to think it’s the perfect spot for her afternoon naps).

I need another day or two to finish up this project, my arms were getting pretty tired by the end of the afternoon I had spent working on this. It’s so nice to see dreams taking shape in the garden. Hopefully this stone wall will help limit erosion on this hillside and provide a beautiful spot to sit and enjoy the garden.

Around here building with stone is like making lemonade from lemons. What could be a source of frustration is now a source of raw materials and beauty throughout the garden (not to mention some serious biceps and a strong back).

What’s one of the biggest frustration that you have with your current garden? Have you been able to turn it into lemonade?

For more reading and great inspiration on how to use stone in your garden, I highly recommend this book. After renewing the copy from the library many times I finally purchased a copy for my library. The beautiful images are an inspiration for all the stone projects in my garden.

Reading & Watching

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.