Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Rocks and Hedges

Fig. 1   Boxwood (Buxus microphylla)

This is the section of our yard which we call 'Down Under'.  Our yard was sloped on one corner and we were determined to use every square inch of it.  Solution - we had this rock wall built for us.  The backyard lawn, an open area for playing, is located behind the hedge.  The second problem arose when our kids started to run and jump into the 'Down Under'.  Mothers would agree with me that this is just too dangerous for tiny people - my youngest at that time was one-year old.   Therefore boxwood (Fig. 1) were planted later to prevent the kids from diving into the lower section of the yard.

Fig. 2  Moss growing on rocks.
  A decade later (Fig.2) the hedge wall continues to grow.  It requires a minimal maintenance which includes trimming twice a year and soaker-hose watering once a week during the hot summer months.  Every other year, Redwood compost is applied over a thin layer of steer manure around the base of the plants.  This process helps increase soil organic matter and earthworm population.  The fertility and water-holding capacity of the soil is improved - both important in our area with hot and dry summers. 

Fig. 3   The combination of the wall and the hedges provides strong lines in the landscape.
 Our yard started out as a rocky piece of land (approximately forty percent rocks).   Every plant that we planted in this yard (except in the vegetable garden) required a crowbar.  Sometimes we just dig out a single piece of rock and  there is a hole enough to hold a five gallon plant.  The rocks used on this wall (Fig. 2 and 3) are serpertine [1], similar to the rocks that are found in our property and the rest of the area.  In fact, some rocks that were mined from our yard during the landscaping process became part of the rock wall.

Fig. 4   'Down Under' in the fall of 2010.
The rock wall and the boxwood hedge are structures in the garden that provide a sense of permanence. When the season brings the rest of the garden into dormancy, they remain green (Fig. 4) providing the garden the needed interest.


Permanent structures in a garden are like the eyes, lips and nose on a face.  Design them carefully for timeless beauty in the garden.


Wife, Mother, Gardener said...

Beautiful stone wall and hedge. Thanks for sharing.

Curbstone Valley Farm said...

A truly beautiful wall and hedge. We've gardened in some tough soil conditions in the past, so I can appreciate how much effort it takes when you have less than desirable soils.

Helen Lewis said...

Julie --
Thanks. That is supposed to be the theme of my blog - sharing my garden and my experiences in it. :)

Clare --
Want to know what's worse? The people who installed our irrigation system went around instead of digging huge rocks. When it was time for us to plant, because we though that the pipes an in straight lines, we damaged pipes that wrapped around them. But that's behind us now! Hooray!

Anonymous said...

Helen, this is a gorgeous stone wall. I bet you knew I would love it with the boxwood and moss.

Jean Campbell said...

Fantastic solution to a knotty problem. The wall is a beauty. One of my entertainments is creative pruning of my boxwoods.

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