Thursday, March 5, 2015

The Mystery of the Rocks

My husband and I live on a two acre property in the Post Oak Savannah of Central Texas. Caught between the clay soils of the Blackland Prairie and the sandy soils to the east, we seem to have an interesting mix of the two soils, but no good landscaping rocks. We're just too far from the Texas hill country and seem to have completely missed out on the fabulous limestone rocks that are ubiquitous throughout the western part of Central Texas.

Smooth Texas hill country field stone
We do have rocks, but the rocks we have are small and more gravelly in nature. An amateur archaeologist once told me that she thought our neighborhood was once much closer to the Colorado River. We're about 5 miles away now, but she believed that we were once right on the banks or perhaps part of a sand bar piled with silt and river rock.

Miscellaneous rocks from our swimming pool dig serve as a dry creek
I think she was probably right. When we had our swimming pool dug years ago, we found rocks that were as round as melons and as smooth as eggs. Within the 9 foot deep hole, we could see fascinating layers of rock and clay. Some of the clay was as thick and sticky as modeling clay. When I saw those layers, I better understood why we had such bad drainage in certain areas.

Rocks found in swimming pool dig
As someone who has a love for rocks in the garden, our lack of large stone creates somewhat of a problem. Sure, we could buy rock, but I have a huge garden and rock is surprisingly very expensive around these parts. My thrifty nature has encouraged me to look for other alternatives and over the years we've found many people willing to share their rocks.

I think the first free rocks we ever collected were from a friend out in the Dripping Springs area. He was trying to clear a horse pasture, so his horses didn't twist a leg. If you've never seen Dripping Springs rock, it's really quite fascinating. The limestone has been eaten away and is full of holes. This rock is loaded with character and makes a great accent piece in a garden bed.

I remember years ago when a friend cued us in on a new development that was going in out in Burnet. The site was loaded with these thick, beautiful, nature flag stones. We spent several weekends collecting (with permission) as many as we could before the bulldozers cleared the remaining rocks away. Today many of these stones can be found throughout our garden.

Small path leading to water feature

Steps leading to a bird bath

Pond edging stone

Garden bed brimming with heartleaf skullcap
When it comes to rock, I'm happy to help those with rock abundant landscapes to thin the herd, so to speak. Our friend Ely owns one such property that I've visited several times in the last few years. He definitely has plenty of rock to spare and is trying to clear some of it out. I've totally drooled over some of the beautiful rocks that were just too big for us to move. Fortunately, a neighbor with a tractor volunteered to help us load them on our last visit. The rocks were so heavy, we couldn't fit many in the truck. They were the devil to move when we got them home, but oh so worth it.

Another Dripping Springs area property, owned by our friend Tom, has been supplying us with lots of stone for our dry stack garden bed projects. I'd like to eventually outline all of my garden beds with stone as a visual cue to the dogs to stay out, plus it looks good too. Last time we needed stone, Tom loaded a huge trailer full of stone for us. The stone has lots of interesting shapes and colors. Somehow my husband pieces them together in a way that they don't fall over. I either don't have the skill or the patience for this work, so I just lay out the basic shape shape and wait for Richard to put together his artistic rock puzzle.

These boulders are our latest acquisitions. I'm not sure where they are going yet, but luckily we have a small tractor to help move them into position. I'll be sure to think long and hard about placement, because I have a feeling they will probably stay where ever they land.

This blog made me realize just how many rocks we've amassed over the years and I couldn't help but chuckle as I was taking the photos. I wonder if archaeologists thousands of years from now will scratch their heads and wonder how all these hill country rocks came to rest so far away out here in the Post Oak Savannah. Hehehe. I know and now you do too.


  1. It would be funny to think someone in the future might try to figure out what type of ancient ritual we were following when we carted rocks from place to place. They do look great in all your flower beds.

  2. Beautiful rocks! You're lucky to have such generous friends. I'm a little greedy with mine :)