From the Sperry Gardens – August, 2011

I guess I’m a little boy at heart. I still like to play with rocks and building blocks. I like their textures, and I like their rich colors. Most of all, I like the fact that I can build things out of them, and that those things will stay put. I’ve shown you our Pavestone driveway and the concrete stepping stones we made using rock salt for pitting and aging the concrete – you’ve seen those before here. This time, I thought I’d show you a couple of other places where I’ve brought hardscaping into our surroundings.

I have somewhere around 1,000 antique North Texas street pavers from the early 1900s forming a long garden path and patio in our backyard. I laid these in 1995. It was turning out to be a rough year for our family, and I spent each evening on my hands and knees laying my garden path, just a few feet at a time. It was, after all, 100 degrees that summer, too. I worked out a lot of frustration that summer, just me and my pavers. These are on a 2-inch bed of packed brick sand. They’re not mortared at all, but I swept more sand in between them to lock them in place. It’s been a great and very serviceable walkway ever since, and the child-rearing issues have all worked out just fine.

As for the river rocks, the first part of my collection is near our front door. They’re stones we brought back from summer visits to the in-laws in Central Ohio. My wife’s dad was a farmer, and he hated those rocks. He’d throw them off to the sides of his field, and I’d pluck them up and bring them home. Many still have his plow scars for all to see. If only those rocks could tell what they’ve heard.

Since then, I’ve added tons of additional river rock in other parts of our gardens. This is one tiny spot where I just needed a few, but it shows how nicely they serve as a groundcover/soil-holder/contrast for my plants. I could spend hours in a stone yard and never know time was passing.

I didn’t have much else I really wanted to share with you this time around. Summer 2011 has been rough on my gardens, just like it has been with yours. Hopefully, better times are on the horizon. Maybe these quick thoughts will give you ideas for your fall renovation projects.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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