From the Sperry Gardens: June 17, 2021

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.

You see flatbed trailers heading north on I-35. They’re hauling wrought iron items that have been made in Mexico, and they’re packed in in multiple layers, all tied together with ropes. You wonder how they ever get them untangled, but somehow they do.

Rustic wrought iron arch has given psychological separation between “rooms” in the Sperry gardens for many years.

They come to garden shops and roadside stands, and that’s where I found this handsome arch – at a store that offers tons of things just about like this. The neat thing about it is the cost. This one was only a couple of hundred dollars. Sure, it was rusty, but I got it home and wiped it clean. Then I sprayed it with rust-preventing primer (roughly the same color), then clear lacquer, and rust hasn’t rubbed off in the many years that I’ve had it.

Continued Below

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 successive batch of stones.

We made these old concrete steppingstones and have used them in several different walkways. I pressed rock salt into the drying cement as they cured and knocked off the corners for a rustic appearance.

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.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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