Leaving No Stone Unturned

John of A Walk in the Garden commented on my last post, hoping I would spare the Golfer the heavy work on the Rockery Restoration/Redevelopment/Wrecking project – but before I had the chance to reply that the Golfer need not lift a finger he had already lifted ten fingers and removed all the rocks! Fortunately, he was not intent on hijacking the whole project…

IMG_7849Foregoing the opportunity to indulge in some bricklaying, conservation and recycling of resources got the better of me and it was decided that the rocks would be reused, but built up vertically to form a retaining wall, set back a little to allow more space for the ladder required to prune the wisteria which grows across the gable wall on the left of the pictures. This would have the advantage not only of retaining the green mossy rocks I love so much with their nooks and crannies for ferns to seed themselves in but also provide an additional border at the edge of the paved area. Unsure yet of what might be planted in this new border, all the plants that were in the rockery, all those remaining tough cookies, were removed and temporarily potted up.

IMG_7850 IMG_7851The Golfer scraped the soil level at the base, which allowed me to drop into place recycled ‘cobbled’ slabs which had been cut in half before the process of choosing appropriate rocks from the surprisingly large number of specimens which had come out of the rockery. Trial and error culminated in a reasonably satisfactory edifice into which some of the topsoil was replaced, and realigning the steps at the side completed this part of the project – not a big job at all really…

IMG_7852 IMG_7870 IMG_7871

A decision is now required about witch hazel Hamamelis ‘Amethyst’ (in the top middle of the above photo) which was affected by realignment of the steps – whether to make just a small sideways move into the new bed or to move it to the shrub border – I do like being able to see it from the kitchen so the former is the more likely result. It will then be time for some serious thought on the other section of the rockery, beyond the replaced stretch and behind the ‘source’ of the stream. This part has been ignored and overlooked even more than the revamped section and has been empty and overgrown for a few years. With the rocks removed, now is the time to work out how to make it a loveable part of the garden again…


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35 Responses to Leaving No Stone Unturned

  1. Gosh those stones look heavy. What a splendid job you have both made of it – the sequence of photos make it look easy, but I’m sure it wasn’t!

    • Cathy says:

      Yes, some were a tad on the heavy side, but the Golfer removed them single handedly and I put them back by a process of swivelling and levering! It wasn’t difficult – apart from trying to choose rocks to fit the spaces!

  2. Pauline says:

    I am so impressed, no sooner do you think of something, than it’s done! Your new bed looks very good and I’m sure will be much easier to look after, well done to both of you!

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Pauline – I suppose it is a case of ‘seizing the day’, as we don’t know how long we will able to do all our own projects, as you know all too well yourself. It’s certainly liberating to be retired and get on with projects straight away, rather than having to wait for weekends – even after a few years away from work it still thrills me to have all this time to do what I choose!

  3. [J] Nice work! I recall someone else’s garden improvement, very similar, where the rocks slid forward when the soil backfill was compacted by stomping down with the whole family in wellies. Yours is a a nicely formed little gravity retaining wall – much better than some brick/blockwork, which would have to beeen very expensive if properly up to the job. And not as pleasing, either. Some good heavy stones selected – with sufficient depth front-to-back. Love the fact that it comes ready-mossed!

    • Cathy says:

      Well thank you for your technical overview – I am glad it meets with your approval! πŸ˜‰ Would you like to come round and inspect all my brickwork? At least the extension is still standing after 18 years…

  4. Prior-2001 says:

    looks really good… happy gardening

  5. rusty duck says:

    That looks so much better!

  6. johnvic8 says:

    You obviously have one fantastic Golfer. Please pass to him my admiration, and I hereby name him the Garden Helper Extraordinaire. Oh, and the project looks great as well.

  7. That looks just right, well done to you both.

    • Cathy says:

      Oh thanks Kate – it should have been done years ago and I think I was even a tad ashamed of it. Definitely an improvement!

  8. Lovely to follow a gardening project. It was inspiring to share it. Happy gardening!

  9. Annette says:

    Looking great, Cathy, how nice to see the result of your combined efforts. Mind your backs though, these rocks seem huge. Work is continuing in Pompeii by the way, perhaps Ninfa next? πŸ˜‰

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Annette – we have survived intact, although there are a large number of unused rocks still which will need to be relocated at some stage! Glad to know that Pompeii is progressing – is your next project already in your head? Have you been able to use your pool much this year?

      • Annette says:

        Yes, it’s progressing and I will write about it when I get the chance. Oh yes, the pool is a success story – we use it several times a day, first thing after getting up. Pure bliss πŸ™‚ By the way, your sunflowers are out, gorgeous too but yellow! Thanks again. The red ones may not come true from seed?

        • Cathy says:

          Good news about your projects – and yes, I discovered that last year about the sunflowers – definitely not true from seed! Sorry 😦

          • Annette says:

            no worries, they’re so pretty πŸ™‚ and yes, Cosmos seed happily if you leave some seedheads (they even seed like mad in the gravel)

  10. I envy you those mossy stones. They look great stacked up. I think you should put the witch hazel where you can see it from the kitchen. Look out there and visualize your next planting there. Such fun to have a new area to plant. I also like the cobbles stones along the side of the walk. It is nice that you have them readily available.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Lisa – it is surprising how quickly they acquire moss even though they have not been in a damp spot and they are only in shade for the first few hours of the day as the sun rises at the front of the house. It is certainly good to recycle things in the garden, which we do as much as we can

  11. croftgarden says:

    I admire your capacity to make the decision and get the job done. i didn’t think the croft gardeners were procrastinators, but I’m still working on the project we began 2 ++ years ago.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Christine – we are, of course, fortunate not to have to fit our projects round the sort of weather that comes your way with unwelcome regularity. In the circumstances I am sure you can be forgiven especially as the time you spend twiddling your thumbs could no doubt be counted on the fingers of one hand, and that’s excluding any thumb that might be twiddling… πŸ˜‰ In the scheme of things, this was actually a very small project, especially with reusing what was already there, and only took a few hours ps the eucomis is doing well but doesn’t yet look as if it will match me in height πŸ™‚

  12. Wow! I need to borrow him for a day….or two!!!

  13. Brian Skeys says:

    The new path looks good, I await with interest to see the new planting.

    • Cathy says:

      The path itself is only widened a little, but it looks surprisingly different. Not sure about planting yet – ideally I want fairly low growing year round interest and a pleasing shape and form. I might put the stalwarts back in for the time being and I am definitely open to suggestions….

  14. Chloris says:

    Oh what lovely rocks, how lovely they look now along the path. And how fortunate that you have such a strong Golfer to help you, that must have been quite a job. I grew up in the the Peak District, and I miss having lovely stone in my garden.

  15. I am really pleased to see that you were able to reuse those stones and I love the more formal arrangement, once you have done your planting magic it is going to be a wonderful sight from the kitchen window. Great job golfer

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Dorris – and I have sent you an email about ferns from the rockery. Not sure what planting magic is going to take place though, so please feel free to give me ideas. But please note, the Golfer only moved the stones out of the rockery in the first place… πŸ˜‰

      • I will check the email. Remind me which way it faces? Shady? Soil?

        • Cathy says:

          It is in shade for the morning because it is in the shadow of the house, which faces east, then open to the elements the rest of the day. Decent soil but obviously this will drain well as it is raised. Low growing and of interest throughout the year possibly in terms of shape and form and not necessarily colour, although I did wonder about low mounded roses with clematis clambering through them…

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