From the Sperry Gardens: July 2014


The fairly sunny front of our house transitions to a much shadier part of our gardens as you walk around toward the back deck. I tried several different approaches to making that change, and I never was completely satisfied with the results.

One day I had the brainstorm of buying a wrought iron arch, then building a walk that would draw attention through the arch and well into the next outdoor “room” in our gardens.

You see flatbed trailers heading north on Texas Interstates. They’re hauling wrought iron items that have been made in Mexico, and the items are packed in in multiple layers, all tied together with ropes. You wonder how the vendors ever get them untangled, but somehow they do. And that’s where I found this handsome arch – at a store that offers tons of this stuff. The neat thing about it was its cost: less than $200. Sure, it was rusty, but I got it home and wiped it clean. Then I sprayed it with clear lacquer, and rust hasn’t rubbed off in the eight years that I’ve had it.

The arch is like a doorway from one room of our landscape to the next, and the steps are the hallway. They’re concrete stones we made in reusable wooden forms. As the concrete began to puddle a few minutes after it was poured, I pressed rock salt into the top surface. The salt left pits in the concrete as it dried, and the next day I was able to sweep it up and use it on another batch of stones.

This is actually the third place that these stones have been put to work in our landscape. They were formerly in a garden far from the house – a garden long since abandoned due to water restrictions and sore knees and feet. I think they’re in this spot to stay.

So while there’s nothing highly innovative or creative in this month’s trip into the Sperry Gardens, I at least showed you some changes that made a huge difference in the looks of our surroundings.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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