Begrudgingly, I admit that my enthusiasm for planting and for creating boulder edged gardens has run up against physical limitations. From here on out this could be a moot point since I’ve now run out of spaces to add granite boulders (my wife hopes this is true), but I’ve said that before.
If an understanding of leverage was less necessary in prior years when I muscled boulders that should be too heavy to move, with advancing years I must be more realistic. But, I am stubborn and no doubt overconfident in my capabilities, so this can be troublesome.
My August project started with three tons of granite boulders, figuring where all could go, then moving them into place. I carefully selected two pallets of boulders, none too large, but knowing a few partially obscured at the bottom were questionable.
Fortunately, all were to be hauled down the back slope, so the challenge was only to move the larger boulders onto the dolly, to control the overloaded dolly on the slope, and then to work them into position. Boulders must be placed as nature intended, with a natural stagger, so the shifting of a few inches can be the hardest part. In any case, with all the strength I could muster, and with a sturdy, steel spade to leverage the final inches, all boulders were placed. And, without the need for medical treatment, so I must not be declared too old just yet. (This also encourages the next chapter, whenever, of moving objects that should be too heavy for a person of my age.)
The next step was supposed to be to acquire a truckload of soil to fill behind the boulders that now border the forest, but while considering less expensive alternatives, the idea popped up that accumulated sediment could be dug from the seasonal, dirt bottomed pond dug years ago to help dry the damp, lower garden. This seemed like a great (and cheap) alternative, until the digging and wheelbarrowing began. Even in the heat of August, the soil was damp and heavy, and while I recall a time I could push endless wheelbarrows no matter the heat and weight, it’s a bit more work nowadays. But, despite the appeal of moving lighter soil downhill, heavy and cheap won out, and now the soil’s in place, so planting can begin, though what to plant is still in the works (below).
With a few leftover boulders, a second, smaller planting area was dug from a small area of lawn beside the greenhouse, and here the excavated sod and soil raised the level perfectly without additional soil. This spot had troubled me, but this is the answer, I think, with a small ‘Shaina’ Japanese maple planted and a small euphorbia and euonymus transplanted that were struggling in overly shaded spots. To fill a bit more I dug a handful of Bletilla orchids. Yes, it’s August and not ideal for transplanting, but I can’t wait so I’ll watch and water if needed.
‘Shaina’ should be an ideal Japanese maple for this small space. Another failed several years ago, the victim of a late freeze injuring tender newly emerging leaves, and again the next spring. I figure that as the maple grows, the orchids will be moved elsewhere, and someday, if ‘Shaina’ grows too wide, the path can be relocated. But, that will be years from now. It is fair to question if I will still physically be able to move the path then, but I will always say yes I can.