Gardener's Grapevine 2012.06.06

Written by David Green.

As many of you know, Sunday afternoon is my time to sit down and write this column. This has been an absolutely, beautiful day. A little windy but that just kept us from getting too warm in the sunshine.

After church Art and I decided to take a little road trip over to the Fulton County Fairgrounds and see what the Gem and Mineral show was all about. We had talked to some folks from the society up at the depot and learned that they do this quite large show every year. It was well worth the trip and a nice little sideline to our Sunday. We saw rocks and gems from all over the world and learned about faceting and polishing. It is amazing how different rocks can be.

Now I know this is a gardening column and I stretch gardening into nature in general. Most gardeners are nature lovers and it extends beyond their own yards. I would encourage you next year to go check out this show. It is free and very interesting. There is also a lot of jewelry on sale.

I never gave rocks a whole lot of time or thought until my son was three or four. He loved rocks like no one I’d ever met. He’d ask me what a certain rock was and questions regarding it. So I kind of got interested by proxy as many of us do who have kids. I got really into using them in the garden was about six years ago. I had gone on a trip with the garden club and seen rocks used in landscaping. Rocks of any size can be quite costly and it is even more so if you plan to use them to any great extent.

I was out at my grandmother’s doing gardening with my aunt in the spring and noticed lots of rocks in the fields. I was told they come up in the spring due to ground heave and if they are very big they can cause huge damage to the farmers’ equipment. That is why you see large rock piles beside fields every so often. They dig them out and pile them up.

This got me to thinking that if the farmers didn’t want them and I did, maybe I could go collect them and use them to landscape with. At the time, Art and I had started tossing around the idea of putting in a small stream at the back of our property. So we started walking the unplanted fields and harvesting rocks. It’s a good idea to ask first, which I did, and the answer was always the same, “If you pick them up I won’t have to.”

Well, welcome to the back-breaking free rock business, and it is very interesting. We found rocks of all shapes and colors, and even a few that Art looked at me and said, “No, Jo that one will break my back lifting it.” I drag my husband on some really crazy trips and into my ideas, and he always goes along even if a bit begrudgingly. When he says “No,” it is usually wise to move on.

Long story short, our rock landscaping is very beautiful and I still like to go get rocks in the spring. My back is not so crazy about it though.

  • Front.nok Hok
    GAMES DAY—Finn Molitierno (right) celebrates a goal during a game of Nok Hockey with his sister, Kyla. The two tried out a variety of games Saturday at Stair District Library’s annual International Games Day event. One of the activities featured a sort of scavenger hunt in which participants had to locate facts presented in the Smithsonian Hometown Teams exhibit. The traveling show left Morenci’s library Tuesday, wrapping up a series of programs that began Oct. 2. Additional photos are on page 7.
  • Station.2
    STRANGE STUFF—Morenci Elementary School students learn that blue isn’t really blue when seen through the right color of lens. Volunteer April Pike presents the lesson to students at one of the many stations brought to the school by the COSI science center. The theme of this year’s visit was the solar system.
  • Front.leaves
    MAPLE leaves show their fall colors in a puddle at Morenci’s Riverside Natural Area. “This was a great year for colors,” said local weather watcher George Isobar. Chilly mornings will give way to seasonable fall temperatures for the next two weeks.
  • Front.band
    MORENCI Marching Band member Brittany Dennis keeps the beat Friday during the half-time show of the Morenci/Pittsford football game. Color guard member Jordan Cordts is at the left. The band performed this season under the direction of Doyle Rodenbeck who served as Morenci’s band director in the 1970s. He’s serving as a substitute during a family leave.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.

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