Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Underfoot along Summit

Question: what do we have lots of that's suitable for landscaping Prescott. Water is definitely not the answer. Which might explain all those rocky median strips next such streets as Summit where I took this handful of pictures recently. Quite fascinating, the variety.

This wildly patterned large stone sat in the midst of other, smaller chunks of similar schist.

While a lone quartz stone was a highlight amonst these darker rocks.

Sacred Heart sits well above street level; the slope landscaping uses sandstone in different sizes and shades of red.

Volcanics are popular, in part because of the color but also because, frankly, they are full of air bubbles and thus don't weigh nearly as much as other landscape rocks. You'll see a lot of "boulders" down in Sun City that are easy for an old-timer like me to heft; yes, they originated in certain types of volcanic explosions.

This is a more work-a-day gravel for parking spaces. Not nearly as bright or big as the other ground covering stones. Of course, all these spaces need to be carefully covered with black plastic tarps before dumping and arranging the rocks. Look what happens if you don't (below); Life has a way of finding every possible niche to make a home.

Now, if I may be permitted a bit of cynicism: I seriously doubt that folk (or institutions) are trying to save water when they landscape with stone. I'm sure they expect, instead, a carefree, permanent arrangement that is sufficiently unpleasant underfoot to discourage kids from rough housing or walked dogs from pooping. Almost the only maintenance needed is a blower to remove autumn's crop of leaves. Until. One day, a crack develops in that black tarp and Life reasserts itself. As pesky as it can be, I vote on the side of Life!


meggie said...

I vote for life too! Those leaves that fall help to regenerate the earth. I am always shocked that fallen leaves are not used more often to help the soil. It has become fashionable to dicard them, or regard them as a nuisance.

"They paved Paradise,
And put up a parking lot."

Antipodean Curmudgeon said...

The rocks among which the quartzj is ensconced look to be copper bearing (greenish tinge), but of doubtful commercial value.


Avus said...

Meggie's Joni Mitchell quote seems most appropriate.
But there is a beauty in (natural) rocks, as well - they just have to appear in the right places.

Granny J said...

meggie -- you're right, of course, that we should be mulching those leaves as well as the grass clippings and some kitchen waste as well. It always seemed such a shame to burn piles of autumn leaves, tho it isn't done here in Prescott.

bro -- I should have sent you the pix before I posted! But then we do have a lot of copper-bearing rocks in these parts, most of them in uncommercial amounts.

avus -- well, I prefer the rocks to the paving, though after you've seen a lot of unlawns, you tend to get tired of the lack of motion in a landscape!

kimmus122 said...

I'm glad you brought up the point about life breaking through the plastic. I also would like to see this life given a chance. The other unfortunate thing is that the black plastic kills the soil. No oxygen = no bacteria or buggies.

A better choice would be root barrier fabric...but even still I'm all for no plastic or fabric and just doing "selective" weeding. That way you get to see what cool stuff pops up!

Also, the house across from me has an expanse of gravel that they painted green long ago. It's pretty tacky.

Granny J said...

kim -- you bring to mind the whole question of "just what is a weed?" I've been taking some most interesting photos of plants that almost everybody considers "weeds". BTW, that green-painted gravel sounds really, really tacky.

Anonymous said...

I wonder how many people waste water washing the rocks when they get dirty. I'm sure some do. If someone wanted something that looked a little like grass, I guess they could put Astro-turf, or whatever the latest version is, in. Some of it looks close to being real. Then they would have to use water to wash it when it got dirty. Can't win.

Wandrin said...

Great post. The beauty of rock in its many forms and colors always attracts me.

Regarding rock for landscaping: Only in Arizona can twenty tons of rock be considered landscaping.

It may take a while, but nature always wins through reclamation and recycling.

Granny J said...

steve -- I'm sure that there are those who get concerned when their rocks get dusty, tho I have to admit that rocks always look much prettier when they are wet...

wandrin -- always fascinated at how fast nature gets to work changing the works of man. Living, as I do, on a hillside,it can happen pretty dang fast.

jarvenpa said...

Me too, on the side of life. Though my new bookstore location has the most lovely rockwalls along the porch, and a little hillside where someone tried to shore up the dirt with riverstone. And there I will be planting all sorts of things. I'm in forest country, not desert land, so even in the drought years we have rain in the autumn and winter, enough for moss on the still stones.

Anil P said...

I would vote for life too. The landscaping won'tlook half as good without some life springing from the cracks.

Granny J said...

Welcome, jarvenpa -- that sounds like a lovely set-up you've got going for you. Would you like to take a good half or so of my library out of my hands? At this point in my life, I'm overwhelmed!

And welcome also, anilp -- I too vote for Life, though it can become a bit too much if we've had a good rainy season.

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