Hard, cold and uninteresting. Is this what comes to mind when I say the word, "rock"? Not many of us are petrologists. I am not. The fact that I am not a scientist does not take away from my study of rocks, even if my studies are for my personal knowledge and serve no purpose other that to please myself. My studies are not so much, academic, as they are emotional. Emotional? Yes, admittedly, I have formed an emotional attachment to rocks.
I do not see a flower bed in my country gardens without rocks. The rocks ‘ground' the flowers. They give the feel of durability to a bed filled with fleeting blooms. Stone and plants compliment each other, as is the case with statues placed in gardens. The hard, cold stone is warmed and softened by the graceful blooms and gay foliage of the plants around the base of the statue.
There are many types of rock. Limestone, Sandstone, Soapstone, Travertine, Marble, Slate, and Granite. That is the short list. My favorite rock is formed on the Cumberland Plateau in the state of Tennessee. It is called Crab Orchard stone, although, it can be found all over the plateau, not just in Crab Orchard. Read more about the history of Crab Orchard stone here.
We have used stone for centuries. The pyramids were built using large stones. Castles, walls, fences, fountains, pathways, bridges and many other structures have been made from stone. Stone statues in cemeteries stand watch like sentries over those who have gone before.
Sculptors find beauty in stone that no one else can see. I have felt a great deal of envy when I see their creations. The ability to chip away at a huge stone and find the masterpiece hidden inside is a talent given only a few in history. Just a few that come to mind are; Hiram Powers, Giovanni Bernini, and Michelangelo Buonarroti.
The Apostle Peter statue
in garden and an Angel
statue in a cemetery.
Top photo's courtesy
of, Kevin Rosseel at
The two photo's taken in the
gardens, show how plants
soften the look and feel
of the stone.
Many castles, built with stone centuries ago, are still standing.
Castle and bridge photo courtesy
of, mommycat at MorgueFile
Nunney Castle, Somersetshire
courtesy of, jusben at MorgueFile
Back to the hard, cold, uninteresting rock. As children, we stepped on them and had invisible bruises, we skipped them across the pond and stacked them up to use in our sling-shots. As adults, many cursed them in the fields that had to be planted for food and profit.
Children and adults alike, while sitting on a rock, have dropped their tired feet into the cool waters of streams all over the world.
Water & Rock
Water rolling over rocks softens their appearance.
Tennessee mountain stream photograph courtesy of, 'click' at MorgueFiles
I had not given much thought to rocks until I moved back to Florida. In the area I moved to, there were no rocks. No rocks? None that I could find, none on the roadsides, none in the pastures, none in any trench or hole I dug in my yard. None. I found myself wondering what I would use to border the walkways and flowerbeds. How would I build a wall to section off garden rooms? I was perplexed. I could not buy rocks that are shipped in on trucks from out of state. The prices are exorbitant. I also could not make several trips north to collect enough rocks for all the projects I had lined up.
Just one of my TN rocks.
Each time I went on a road trip to visit family and friends, I brought home a rock or two. I picked them up along the roadsides, at gas stations when I filled up the tank and on friends' property while visiting. The call went out and every time I have a visitor from out of state, they bring a rock. Not a bottle of wine to have with dinner or pie for desert, but a rock. It can be large or small. One, or a few. Whatever they can fit in their vehicle, comes to my place. I am always grateful and promptly place them at the pond, along a pathway or around a flowerbed.
I now have rocks in my formally rock-less yard from TN, AL, GA, TX, OK, NM, AR, KY, NC and MO. Sometimes I sit in the shade of an oak tree beside the pond and admire my rocks. They have been as hard for me to acquire as they were for the old time farmers to clear from their fields. We each had our battle, they to be rid of them and me to collect them.
If memory serves,
this rock is also
I believe rock borders add substance to the area they are placed in. They bring a certain quiet strength. If they are meant to contain plants, the plants lend themselves to soften the hard edges of the stone. Together, they are perfect. Complete opposites, I would like to think in a world on the edge of the rim of reality, the two would be ‘friends'.
I think too, if my Florida flowers could speak, would they ask, "Rock, where did you come from?" and would the rocks speak back and tell their tales of travel across the country to this little spot in the sand-hills of Florida.
My ‘collection' is far from complete, I need several tons of rock to accomplish all I desire to do here. One rock at a time, brought by one friend at a time, I will get there. Now, if you happen to find yourself passing through, toss a rock my way and I am sure the flowers will whisper, "Thank you."
Rocks from TN, AR, MO and AL Rocks from various states surround an oaktree/flowerbed filled with tropical flowers.
For more information on rocks, visit: http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/f/crag/all/
Thumbnail photograph courtesy of KevinRosseel at MorgueFile.
All photographs not cited above are my own.