Photo by Melody

Flower to Rock: "Where Did You Come From?"

By Jacqueline Cross (libelluleJuly 10, 2008

What is a soul to do when you move to a place that is lacking in natural resources for your creative endeavors? You go out and find what you need to accomplish your goals.

Gardening picture

     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.

Apostle Peter garden statue

The Apostle Peter statue
in garden and an
statue in a cemetery.

Top photo's courtesy
of, Kevin Rosseel at

Angel statue in cemetary

The two photo's taken in the

gardens, show how plants

soften the look and feel

of the stone. 

Garden Statue by julesinky
Garden Statue
courtesy of,
julesinky at


     Many castles, built with stone centuries ago, are still standing.

Stone castle and bridge

Castle and bridge photo courtesy
of, mommycat at MorgueFile 

 Nunney Castle, Somersetshire
courtesy of, jusben at MorgueFile

Nunney Castle, Somersetshire


     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


Tennessee mountain stream

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.


One of my TN rocks~ 

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.


Petrified wood/TX

Petrified wood
from TX

If memory serves,
this rock is also
from TX

Black rock/TX


     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."



TN,AR,MO,AL rocks

Rocks from TN, AR, MO and AL
 Rocks from various states~Rocks from various states surround an oaktree/flowerbed filled with tropical flowers.

     Happy Gardening~

For more information on rocks, visit:

Thumbnail photograph courtesy of KevinRosseel at MorgueFile.

All photographs not cited above are my own.

  About Jacqueline Cross  
Jacqueline CrossI'm a native Floridian...feet planted in the shifting sands of northwest FL. but my heart strings are tightly knotted to the hills of Tennessee. I live with my poodle, Minnie Pearl, Zsa Zsa the cat who runs the whole show and a new addition, Kitty Belle. I'm a writer, gardener, quilter, cross stitcher, soapmaker and nature lover. Mother to 3 wonderful daughters & Nana to 6 perfect grandchildren. I also write for and was promoted to Feature Writer in the vegetable gardens section in 2008.

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