Contributed by Allan Robinson
For many of us, when we think of the contents of a garden we often think of plants – our favorite perennials, trees or shrubs. Perhaps an arbor, wall, bench or chair, maybe even a hammock. Some of us may think of sculptural elements like water, art, gazing balls or a bird bath. But let’s look at another element that humans have been working with and around since time began: rock.
From an early perspective, rocks were the byproduct of gardening, moved to the side of the field for easier cultivation. Think of those iconic fieldstone walls running through the New England woods. We’ve all come across plenty of rocks, perhaps more than we care to think about. Just how many times has our planting progress been thwarted by that all too familiar jarring feeling and corresponding metal-on-stone audible clank? Many of us would be happy to never see another stone in our gardens again! But I suggest taking another look at stone.
Rocks can be used as sculptural elements in the garden to satisfy a need for form, function or both. Smaller stones can provide a path to, or edge along, our favorite perennial bed. Larger rocks can be an enduring four season focal point or act as a seat to catch a moment’s rest. A jagged rock protruding from the earth creates a sense of drama whereas a rounded stone nestled among ground covers can be soothing and look natural. Rocks can be the backdrop to show off one of our favorite plants. Rocks with crags or a depression can collect water and attract wildlife. And if your “thumb” errs on the brown side rather than green, you’ll never have to worry about watering, killing or overwintering rocks.
Let us help you look at rocks in a positive light!