I have Rocks in My Head, OOPS!, I mean Garden Bed!

Rock in our garden from my grandmother

Rock in our garden
Rock in our garden | Source


My love affair with rocks started in my youth. How could it not? I was exposed to their beauty and utility in my earliest of remembrances.

My father grew up living in a house that his dad built. In fact, my father was born in that house. That was a rather common practice in 1925...at least in small towns.

My grandfather whom I never met, because he died of pneumonia when my dad was only 7 years old ( also common back then prior to penicillin and other drugs being invented ) designed the terraced hillside leading down to Okauchee Lake in the State of Wisconsin. He utilized numerous rocks in it's construction.

The rock garden must have been gorgeous in it's day! Each terrace had not only it's share of different shaped rocks of various sizes and colors, but shrubbery and flowers that would have created a scene of spectacular beauty as viewed from the shoreline looking back up to the house. It was also enjoyed by the people in boats that would be passing this site.


My paternal grandmother

My grandmother sitting on a retaining wall of her rock garden going down to the lake.
My grandmother sitting on a retaining wall of her rock garden going down to the lake. | Source

Rock from my grandmother

Source

My grandfather also built a number of cottages going down the hill and all of them were lake-side. As the hill flattened out, more terracing was not necessary. These were summer cottages and were rented out primarily to "city folks" coming to enjoy the lake for the season.


It was fortunate that my grandmother had this source of income as her husband died at such an early age. It was hard work getting the cottages readied for the summer. Piers had to be put in to the lake. Painting the cottages; cleaning them and preparing them for the summer occupants took much time and effort.


My dad got the job of mowing all the lawns, among other chores.


Keeping the terraced garden weeded and tended was not just work, but a source of relaxation and pride for my grandmother. The photos of the rocks at the top of this piece are ones from that very hillside. I am fortunate to have 3 rocks from that location in my possession today.

Rock from Central Wisconsin

From a neighbor's parent's farm in Central Wisconsin
From a neighbor's parent's farm in Central Wisconsin | Source

Rock colors enhanced with water

Rock in our backyard with water on it.
Rock in our backyard with water on it. | Source

Once I began the process of collecting rocks it has continued up to this very day. The rock pictured above came from one of our Wisconsin neighbor's parent's farm. They were happy to let us take as many rocks as we wanted as they were of little use to them.

We had a sump pump in our basement that would electrically operate when the water table would get high. Instead of water flooding our basement, the pump worked to force water outside into a retaining pond that my husband and I had constructed. Various multi-colored rocks of different sizes and shapes lined the pond, and when not filled with water, the rocks became the eyecatching focus of this part of the yard. Flowers lined the perimeter of the rock garden in the summer.

We lived there for 4 years and when we moved back to Houston, Texas, many of these rocks were moved along with our other possessions.

Rock Souvenir from Moonlight Bay

This one was picked up at Moonlight Bay in Wisconsin
This one was picked up at Moonlight Bay in Wisconsin | Source

Beautiful colored rock in our backyard

Source

Mineral Identification

Now instead of simply wanting a remembrance from my grandmother's home, and also using rocks to fulfill a purpose......like the construction of that pond, I started collecting rocks as souvenirs from various places that we had visited.

The one above is from Moonlight Bay in the Door County region of Wisconsin. It is a beautiful vacation spot for most people. In fact, my parents honeymooned there!

Imagine a peninsula surrounded by water from Lake Michigan with charming cottages and cute little towns. One distinct memory my husband and I have is of a grass covered roof with a goat on top munching the grass. One does not see sights like that in most places! Flower boxes filled with blooming geraniums and other brightly colored flowers are in abundance.

Friendly shopkeepers and restaurant owners are there to fulfill one's every need and desire.

Spring, Summer and Fall one can count on Door County being filled with tourists. If you plan a vacation there, make your reservations well in advance to secure a room for yourself. Then sit back and enjoy this quaint area filled with aquatic views almost everywhere one gazes.

This rock from Door County is in my garden today to remind me of our brief vacation there.

Texas Hill country rock

Texas Hill Country Rock
Texas Hill Country Rock | Source

The pictured rock above came from the Hill Country of Texas.

My brother helped lift them into the trunk of my car one time when I was visiting him.

I like to use natural rocks like this one as stepping stones. They certainly are prettier than the concrete ones that one can purchase in most nurseries and garden centers.

Rocks as Art - Covered with lichens

Rock covered with lichens
Rock covered with lichens | Source

Lichen covered rock

Another rock with lichens happily living on it
Another rock with lichens happily living on it | Source

Have you ever looked at rocks up close?

They are things of beauty........inside and out.

While some can look quite ordinary on the outside, if sliced open and polished, they become quite extra-ordinary pieces of jewelry or can be put to other decorative uses.

The rock above and to the right with the lichens growing on it looks like an abstract painting when photographed up close. It has a prime spot in our backyard where we can enjoy it's distinct form and shapely mass.

Lichens and rocks...

Rock with quartz crystals

Notice the quartz crystals in this rock in the foreground
Notice the quartz crystals in this rock in the foreground | Source
National Audubon Society Field Guide to Rocks and Minerals: North America (National Audubon Society Field Guides)
National Audubon Society Field Guide to Rocks and Minerals: North America (National Audubon Society Field Guides)

It is fun learning about different rocks and minerals especially if liking to collect them such as I do.

 

This rock pictured above with the quartz crystals was purchased from a rock shop alongside the road while we were traveling through Arkansas.

It along with a few other purchases grace our backyard and add highlights to the rest of the landscape.

Close-up photo of a gorgeous rock in our backyard

Close-up photo of a gorgeous rock in our backyard
Close-up photo of a gorgeous rock in our backyard | Source

Identifying Rocks : How are Rocks Made?

Identifying Igneous Rocks

Identifying Metamorphic Rocks

Rocks in my head?


While most of my rocks have prime staging areas in the garden and become a focal point, others like the ones above are gathered together to show off their contrasting colors and shapes. Ignore the clover! It does not belong there but sneaks in occasionally to capture my attention.


I remember with humor the time I had picked up a number of small rocks from a vacation in Oregon and put them in my suitcase. Some bright orange rocks and some totally green in color were among my prizes.


The suitcase was obviously very heavy and all was well until I got to the area of the airport where my carry on luggage was screened. Not realizing that my umbrella and the opaque rocks looked very suspicious to the person looking at the x ray, I was asked to open my luggage and display the contents.

The airport screen-er just shook her head in disbelief when she realized what those queer shapes on her x ray machine turned out to be. She said, and I quote........"I have never seen rocks worth carrying home in a suitcase!"

I know that she thought that I had rocks in my head!

Well........as the old saying goes........one person's trash is another person's treasure.


I value these collected rocks along with the memories they invoke, and although we have recently moved to a new home and had to leave some of them behind, a selection of them continue to happily reside in our backyard garden.


Do any of you readers have a similar attachment to rocks? I would love hearing from you to see what you do with them.

Do you collect rocks and use them in your landscaping?

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  • No
  • Hadn't thought about it...
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Isn't this rock a beauty!

 Isn't this one a beauty!
Isn't this one a beauty! | Source

What makes Rocks Red?

The biggest CRYSTAL ever found

© 2009 Peggy Woods

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Comments 103 comments

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 16 months ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hi Kristen,

Nice that you are able to use some of those seashells and rocks that your mother collected. Would please her also to know that they are being put to good use. I have also collected seashells through the years. I love natural things like that mixed into decor both inside and outside.


Kristen Howe profile image

Kristen Howe 16 months ago from Northeast Ohio

Peggy, don't I wish. I only have 3 container plants on my patio. The only people in my new apartment who have garden beds are on the first floor. As for rocks, my mother collected rocks and seashells throughout the years. I've kept them and used them for my own beachy decor. Right now, it's in my new bookcase and on a tray. The rest is packed for storage.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 16 months ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hi Kristen,

Perhaps someday you will have a garden bed of your own. Of course even without gardens, people can collect rocks and many do. If they are small enough they can be displayed in any number of manners.


Kristen Howe profile image

Kristen Howe 16 months ago from Northeast Ohio

You're very welcome Peggy. If I had a garden bed, I would do the same thing, too!


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 16 months ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hi Kristen,

Glad you liked this hub regarding the rocks in our garden beds. The special ones really do mean a lot to me. Thanks for your comment and the beautiful vote. I also think that they add beauty to the garden. :)


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