13 May Rock Hunt

Sunday, Jill and I went rock hunting with the dogs to bring more texture into the garden. We find rocks, big and small, in Jones Falls valley, about a mile from our house. The Jones Falls River , which runs through the middle of Baltimore, used to power the mills, many of which still stand. As always, we used Jill’s battered Honda CRV to haul our load.

We’ve been working on our garden to ready it for the Charles Village garden tour the first week of June. Our garden is four years old this summer and our two maples are getting big enough to shadow a good portion of their beds. Which means we have been re-locating some plants and putting in new ones to accommodate the changes.

Winter was hard enough to kill even our rosemary and mint, two plants I thought never died. However, some plants, like the butterfly bush in the north bed, have made a stand and are clearly here to stay. The rose bushes Jill and I salvaged from a friend’s yard last spring–originally planted in 1948–have taken hold and are thriving. I’m amazed at how much abuse old rose bushes can take and still keep going.

Placing rocks in in a garden takes some thought. You can’t just toss them anywhere. You have to make them look like they belong–usually by burying them partially. We also use boulders around the pond to complement the pond’s rocky sides. The honeysuckle is starting to go crazy near the pond, and the hosta beside the pond’s filter is monstrous already because it gets all the spillover.

This year we decided to plant the herbs in single location because last year, as the garden grew, we lost track of them. In fact, there were several plants — like a cluster of chicks and hens — that disappeared under abundant groundcover. We’re learning what thrives and what needs watching.

One frog survived the winter. We call her Lucy. A few of her tadpole siblings survived too. Jill is frog-crazy, so she just ordered 15 leopard frog tads. These will mature quickly and leave the pond for the garden. Lucy is a green frog. Greens are much more civilized than bulls. We got rid of our bulls two years ago. Because we’re a city garden and completely walled in, we don’t get any visiting frogs.

Our goldfish are getting big too. The fattest–a bulbous fantail–is a handful. These unassuming creatures have to be some of the hardiest fish in the world, living on algae and surviving the worst winters.As soon as the garden attains its summer peak, I’ll post an update.In the meantime, check out the brief video of our pondlife:

Ron and Jill’s fish pond