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.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.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in 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.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.

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