Monday, October 26, 2009

Erratic Behaviors

Monday, October 26, 2009

A bright, sunny morning here on the mountain. 27 degrees and a 4 mpg wind bring a chilling reminder to us that the snow flakes we have seen recently will soon be staying with us. I've noticed that Karl the Wonder Dog has picked up on the temperature changes too and is less hurried for early morning walks than perhaps a month ago.

Some gardeners have been known to express erratic design behaviors and I have been offered that handle more than once. I really don't care as good gardeners should be able to find talent in any design. My excuse is that I live in the land of erratics and as such there should be no surprises to what I design. I like stone and I like this part of Vermont.

Years ago I was introduced to the term "glacial erratics". Looking back, I cannot recall the introduction but I fell in literary love with the term that represents the odd shaped and sized pieces of stone that were broken off larger stones and tumbled along as glaciers advanced and receded. Glacial erratics work very well in gardens although they must be sized properly. The ones I picture here might be considered extreme in size for typical Vermont gardens but have merit in the correct setting.

I have come to learn that the enthusiasm of the gardener relative to the money in their pocket can translate to the movement of erratics. The bigger the erratic, the larger the need for a big pocket and large heavy equipment. Just the same, the hard scape can begin with massive stones like these and work down with an accompaniment of vertical and horizontal plants, textures and colors. You need the money but you also need a vision.

The land around here is very acidic and moss begins to grow on the forest floor and on new stones as soon as they are disturbed. The mosses appear to cushion the hardness of the stones while creating a cloak of color that this time of year looks so nice dotted with leaf confetti in different colors.
If you are out and about and up our way sometime soon, call ahead and see if we can arrange an "erratic walk". Our journey will be round about too but you'll get a chance to see and photograph some fine specimens and perhaps think differently about adding stone to your design palette.

Writing from the mountain above Peacham Pond where one brave little junco pecks seed from the platform feeder in the company of vocal blue jays.

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
Vermont Flower Farm

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