From the Sperry Gardens – November, 2010

I didn’t see a lot that really shouted out to me as I walked through my garden this morning. I’ve bought seven new Japanese maples recently, since the eight or 10 we had were so spectacular this fall. But, I’ve talked about them on my Facebook page already, so they’re kinda old hat to many of you.

I don’t have any winter color that’s looking prime-time for the camera right now, and the fall color is gone.

So, it’s a time when my permanent hardscaping steps to my rescue. That’s the unofficial name given to the non-living parts of a landscape. I thought you might enjoy reading how these three hardscaping elements found their way into this particular spot in my back yard landscape.

First, the youngest among them is the carved granite bowl of fruit. I found it in a beautiful nursery in San Antonio 25 years ago, and it’s been several places in our garden since. Even though it weights more than 100 pounds, I’d imagine I’ll find another place for it before long, where it will have better contrast against its surroundings. I’ll nestle it into mondograss, or let it stand freely above bark mulch. But, it was good to see my old friend this morning. It brings back lots of nice memories.

The river rock could be just any old river rock that’s tumbled down a streambed for dozens of centuries. However, I brought a floorboard load of river rock back from my in-law’s farm in Ohio 30 years ago. Several of those rocks have now made their way into this spot. The rest are near our front door – they’re the ones that still show my father-in-law’s plow marks. He hated these stones. He was glad to see them drive off toward Texas. These brought back fond memories of a very nice father-in-law. So, that was good.

And finally, the antique street pavers from a North Texas suburb of Dallas/Fort Worth. I know where I got them, but I’ve chosen not ever to mention it, because I don’t want that city to be covered up with phone calls asking for more. I happened along at the right time, and I asked the city manager if they were selling them. He quoted a price, and I was thrilled to have them. They were first laid in that street in the early 1900s. Lots of history there. I laid these on my hands and knees 15 years ago. I love the walk, but the memories of laying them 10 feet each evening at 100 degrees – those memories aren’t so good.

All this is backed up by my favorite low evergreen, Carissa hollies. They’re the newcomers to this little spot. I planted them four autumns back.

Nothing spectacular in this column this time around – just a lot of nice memories for me. You need to develop little places like this in your gardens. The more years that pass, the more they will mean to you.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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