It really does! Alright, I admit that’s probably a subjective view. In fact, I’ve rarely seen a garden that doesn’t ‘rock’ in my eyes.
Seriously though, rocks have a place in even the tiniest garden. I think it’s all about textures. Textures, variations and their contrasts. Think soft leafy ferns juxtaposed with rocks or stones. What could be more pleasing? The softness of the plants offsets and complements the hard surface of rocks.
On a recent walk I was captivated by some huge boulders used to landscape a high rise apartment building garden. It’s a difficult site for planting, situated at the Tweed River mouth as it is, and buffeted by south-easterly winds which gather salt as they skim across the waves. Plants must be hardy to survive those conditions.
I couldn’t be sure these boulders were naturally formed though. The artificial stones now being used in landscaping projects are so convincingly real that they even gather moss. No rolling stones here.
Whether artificial or naturally formed, these boulders were impressive. One can no longer rely on some knowledge of natural geology or rocks indigenous to the area to determine authenticity either. Landscaping supplies, including boulders like the ones above, come from diverse sources these days and are used for both aesthetic and functional purposes.
Not far from where the boulders are, rocks have been imported to shore up the river banks. These are of a different variety, less for aesthetic purposes than for functional ones.
The Water Dragons don’t mind. They, along with other creatures, have made a home among them and their antics are a source of amusement for walkers along the embankment wall.
Being still as statues seems to be their defence; they are almost impossible to discern from their rocky perches. But the flick of an eyelid over black beady eyes, or tilt of a dragon-like head gives them away. Once discovered, they scoot on hind legs with lightning speed to the safety of a crevice.
I could almost have called this post ‘contrasts’ because that’s the notion I’ve wanted to explore. Contrast serves both a functional and aesthetic purpose in a garden. The ‘hard’ proving a foil for ‘the soft’ and vice versa. The light a contrast for the dark and so on. Of course there are always ‘shades’ between. It’s the shades between sharply contrasting elements that I have learned to appreciate; in my garden and in life. They couldn’t exist without the extremes that allow their existence.
Life is about the gray areas. Things are seldom black and white, even when we wish they were and think they should be, and I like exploring this nuanced terrain.