Banquet Piece, Pieter Claez

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Rock Gardens, one of the Branches of Gardening

Sometimes old horticulture journals and books in Google Books turn up in my searches. A favorite is William Robinson's The Garden, An Illustrated Weekly Journal of Gardening in all its Branches. William Robinson is credited with popularizing the wild garden in response to the more controlled Victorian gardens in England.

(What a great title! "Gardening in all its Branches"! And you were being somewhat juvenile, weren't you,  when you started saying "Danger! Danger! Will Robinson!" while I was telling you about him?)

The column, "The Rock Garden", is one of a series in The Garden. It was written by F.W. Meyer, who wrote frequently on gardens. (more on F.W. Meyer when I find out who he was). Here's an exerpt from the seventh in the series: "Rock Garden-Making, Lessons from Nature in Rock Building with Stones of the Stratified Kinds" (F.W. Meyer, Elmside, Exeter, Column VII, March 7, 1903):
I like that the author, F.W. Meyer, uses natural rock formations for inspiration.
"... when we imitate Nature in our gardens why should we choose the ugliest works for our models? Let us rather select the choicest bits of scenery. The stratified rocks which we admire most in Nature are not those which show monotonous and even lines all at the same angle of inclination, but the wild and rugged scenes, where massive rocks — no matter how evenly or regularly their successive layers might have been disposed originally — have become disturbed by subterraneous forces which shattered their once regular strata in the wildest profusion.
"We admire the rocks which during violent convulsions or upheavals were cleft asunder, or which, when the water under which they were formed receded, toppled over each other in the greatest disorder. We admire rocks which by the mysterious forces of Nature have been broken up, and which have been distributed into groups of varying shapes and sizes, sometimes massive or pierced by caves and ravines, sometimes scattered or vanishing altogether below the surface of the sward and reappearing further away amongst a mass of vegetation, either flowers or greenery. Such are the stratified rocks with which Nature has provided her most charming pictures. Such should be our models."
These Little Yosemite rocks are larger than they look!
He might as well be describing some of our local wildest landscapes that are much loved. In our local Sunol park, Little Yosemite, fits that description, where the Calaveras fault has stirred up great amounts of disorder.

If I was alive in the early 1900's I would have been waiting with great anticipation for the next issue just to find out what F. W. Meyer would say next about rocks.

As I find more "Rock Garden" articles , I will add them to this list:

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