I can’t tell you how excited I am that creek weather is coming back! We’ve already spent a lot of time sitting by the water, the girls and I dreaming about our first splash off the rickety old dock. With all the rain we’ve had, along with the lingering cooler temperatures, it’s going to be a while yet before we can get wet. The good news is, it has definitely been pretty enough to start making our area down by the creek beautiful again, and we’ve already come a long way. We’ve done a little planting, but mostly we’ve been gardening with rocks, creekside.
Winter time in general is rough on our outdoor spaces, but especially our favorite space on the banks of Big Creek. We’ve had a few serious rains in which the creek got a little out of its banks, which kinds of wears on things. On top of that, we had to have our entire water line replaced right at the start of winter, which pretty much destroyed the landscape down there. It looked so bad I don’t even think I took any pictures of it. The main shut-off valve is down there, and runs underneath our asphalt driveway, through the front yard, around the house and stops right between Madre’s house and ours, where it splits. Talk about a mess! Every last inch of it had to be dug up and replaced, leaving huge rocks and lumpy, bare ground in its wake. What’s the natural thing to do? Start gardening with rocks!
When life hands you rocks, you put them to good use! All the digging and pushing around of land meant that we had to disassemble our fire pit by the creek (it was right in the path of the water line). After our neighbor smoothed the ground back out for us with his tractor and drag, Coach sowed some grass seed, which has performed nicely.
The Fire Pit
It was looking so good last weekend that I decided to rebuild our fire pit, taking Coach’s suggestion to put it right on top of a big dip in the ground that everyone (no one more than I) kept tripping in last year. He helped me with the bigger rocks, of course, but we got ‘er done. This is the kind of gardening with rocks I can really get excited about! I can’t wait to have our first fire!
Gardening With Rocks
The region we live in is extremely rocky, and you only have to try to put a shovel into the ground to find all you want. Gardening with rocks is not only beautiful, but makes the most of our most abundant natural resource. My stepfather, Papa, was an excellent stone mason, and he built amazing things out of rocks all over this property. He did some gorgeous work at “The Park”, which is what we call the spot of land by the creek.
Time hasn’t been too good to some of Papa’s creations. (Yes, that whole sentence is a link to a post about our first creekside cleanup. Please forgive the tiny, sideways pictures in that post.)
A friend brought me two buckets full of Day Lilies and Elephant Ear, and I wanted to plant the lilies in The Park this weekend. It brought our attention to one of my favorite little spots down there where Papa constructed a sidewalk, a smoker complete with a chimney, and some landscaping borders, all out of rocks. There was a whole section of border that had fallen out, so we decided to fix it back up and plant the lilies there.
Papa constructed all of his rock creations with concrete, but we just dry-stacked this section back in. Coach can fix it more permanently later on, and the new plantings will hopefully deter anyone from walking or sitting on that section of the wall.
Coach even started a small fire in the smoker, mainly to shoo away all the little gnats that were driving us crazy while we worked.
We got rid of all the weeds growing up through the sidewalk, and cleaned everything up as best we could. Coach shook his head at me when I wouldn’t let him pull up the wild daisies growing through the rocks. He calls them weeds; I call them wildflowers.
I love the way it all turned out.
The Day Lilies will bloom for us next spring, but at least we got them in the ground and did some much-needed improvements to Papa’s landscape artistry.
Be sure to stick around throughout the spring and start of summer, because we still have lots to do. Our huge piece of driftwood (more tiny sideways pictures) had to be moved to make room for all the digging, as well, so it’s not back in the ground yet. I’m hoping we can do some more repairs to the rock sidewalk and maybe even add some things, but we’ll have to drag ourselves away from the water and all the peaceful fires we’re going to have. I do hope you’ll come back and keep up with our creekside progress. It’s going to be another amazing summer!
What are you doing to kickstart Spring? Do you like gardening with rocks, or are you more of a streamlined gardener, using store-bought edging? I’d love to hear your ideas!