There's only one thing I like as much as the flowers in my garden, and that's rocks. Rocks give the garden a more natural look, and the bigger ones provide great structure and winter interest. For me, a garden without rocks is like a sundae without sprinkles: no fun.
But I'm not so keen on paying for them. Perhaps because I grew up in the country with rocks littering the woods behind our house, I now find it difficult to fork over money for them. (And they can be pricey!) So finding rocks for free means being creative.
The attendants at our yard waste station have my phone number, and they call me when people drop off unwanted rocks. I once filled up my SUV in the middle of a thunderstorm when a guy showed up with a huge load of flat rocks. (I did take a break when it started to hail.) The rescued rocks were perfect for the waterfall in my water garden. Another man let me raid his backyard and dismantle a rock wall he no longer wanted. When I visit my parents, I collect bucketloads to take home.
I even joined our local geological society so I could get my hands on beautiful gardenite, as my rock buddies call it. While they search out the perfect mineral specimens at local quarries, I look for big, pretty, colorful rocks with pockets of crystal and quartz. After a day of rock hunting, most people leave the quarry with a handful of rocks; I leave with a truck full.
And I've come home with loads of beauties. Where did you get those? people always ask in awe when they first visit my yard. They're enchanted with the garnet, pyrite, calcite, and dolomite nestled in flowerbeds.
Don't you have enough rocks? my husband asks when I come home with a new haul. But I can always find an area in my yard where I want a new wall, a stone path, or a big, beautiful fieldstone.
My ultimate rock dream is to get a huge recliner-sized boulder in my backyard. But that would require special equipment, a delivery truck, and money. Probably lots of it.
I'm in big trouble if we ever move, because the rocks are coming with me!