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Love It Like a Rock

"My mama loves me, she loves me,

she get down on her knees and hug me.

She loves me like a rock . . ."

Paul Simon


I have plenty of rocks in my garden. Whenever I plant, I usually unearth a good-size stone. (Ever wonder where they all come from?) I love it when I find a really large one because once I pry it out, basically there is my planting hole right there, no need to dig any further! I try to place them in little groups throughout the garden, to highlight plants or fill in gaps. I think they tie the garden in nicely to its setting; it is elevated off the sidewalk and held up by a retaining wall made of the same type of stones. (I imagine they were harvested when the house was built.)

I have one really special rock that did not come from my planting excavations. It is a bluish-colored, really smooth oval stone that has always reminded me of a shark. This stone came from my grandparents' yard. For as long as I can remember it sat next to their side door, in a little patch of vinca. We always went in and out through that door when we visited them every weekend, and I always admired that rock. After they died and the house was being sold, all the family had a chance to go through and choose items that they wanted to keep. My prize finding was this stone. At first I put it in my garden at my parents' house, but once John and I moved out of our apartment into our own home with a yard and I got the garden well under way, I moved it here.

So far I've just plunked right in the middle of the garden while I mull over where to place it "for real," or whether to design a little section around it. In the photo above it's just hanging out with Coreopsis alpina 'Alba'.

It could go here (below), in my shade garden, with the hostas, heuchera and lady's mantle right near our door. I like that idea because it was near my grandmother's door to begin with. Also it would be the only rock in that area so it would really be the star:

The downside to the above is that it's far off the street. My sunny main garden is right next to the sidewalk, so part of me wants to put the rock there where it will be more "center stage." I just bought some 'Elijah Blue' fescue and I already have a bunch of hens and chicks—I'm now thinking of making a faux water feature in this area (below), with it as a major element, adding some low sedums as well and maybe even a gravel mulch. I was really inspired by Debra Lee Baldwin's post on "The Suggestion of Water."


The nice thing about a rock is it can take sun or shade!