Obviously my first mission was to obtain rocks. My sister Chris lives in a rural area and she generously supplied me with a lovely selection. I rented a trailer for the back of my car and made a few trips up north to begin this project. The entire experience of collecting rocks and creating the actual rockery was very rewarding. Having no experience in this particular aspect of gardening it was time to educate myself on the requirements. I downloaded information from the internet and basically each author gave the same advice. Start at the bottom, use relatively similar sized stones and build the levels with soil. Careful planning is essential before you begin. The aim is to produce a rock garden which looks as natural as possible and avoid at all costs scattering stones at random. As a general rule a sloping rock garden is more attractive than a level one. The chosen site should be free from shade for most of the day.
It is advantageous to drive around the city and study various rock gardens. This will enable you to avoid mistakes commonly made and assist in your choice of stone and layout. Rocks are so beautiful and the choices available are overwhelming. Let's take a look at a few different types.
Granite: is a very hard natural igneous rock formation of visibly crystalline texture formed essentially of quartz and orthoclase or microcline and is used especially for building and for monuments. Granite is usually whitish or gray with a speckled appearance caused by the darker crystals. Potash feldspar imparts a red or flesh colour to the rock. It is the most common intrusive rock exposed at the earth's surface. Granite has greater strength than sandstone, limestone and marble and is correspondingly more difficult to quarry. Its crushing strength is from 15,000 to 20,000 pounds per square inch. The best grades are extremely resistant to weathering.
Sandstone: is a coarse-grained sedimentary rock consisting of masses of sand deposited by moving water or by wind. The chemical constitution of sandstone is the same as that of sand; the rock is thus composed essentially of quartz. The cementing material that binds together the grains of sand is usually composed of silica, calcium carbonate, or iron oxide. The colour of the rock is often determined largely by the cementing material, iron oxides causing a red or reddish-brown sandstone, and the other materials producing white, yellowish, or grayish sandstone. When sandstone breaks the cement is fractured and the individual grains remain whole, thus giving the surfaces a granular appearance.
Limestone: is a common type of sedimentary rock that is formed chiefly by accumulation of organic remains (as shells or coral), and consists mainly of calcium carbonate. This is extensively used in building and yields lime when burned. Crystalline metamorphosed limestone is known as marble. Chalk is a variety of porous, fine-grained limestone composed mostly of foraminifera shells.
Mica: is any of various coloured or transparent mineral silicates crystallizing in monoclinic forms that readily separate into very thin leaves. Mica colours vary with the composition. Muscovite, also called white mica or common mica contains potassium and aluminum. It is transparent in thin sheets and translucent in thicker blocks; it is coloured in light shades of yellow, brown, green, or red. Vitreous Mica is yellowish-brown, green or white, Lepidolite Mica is usually lilac or pink, Biotite Mica has a splendent luster and is usually dark green, brown or black in colour. Muscovite and Phlogopite Mica are used as insulating material in the manufacture of electrical apparatus, particularly vacuum tubes. Scrap Mica, is use as a lubricant when mixed with oils and as a fireproofing material.
Quartz: is the most common of all minerals, composed of silicon dioxide. It is distributed all over the world as a constituent of rocks and in the form or pure deposits. It is an essential constituent of igneous rocks such as granite which contain an excess of silica. Quartz forms veins and nodules in sedimentary rock, principally limestone. Sandstone a sedimentary rock is composed mainly of quartz. Precious metals, such as gold are found in sufficient quantity in quartz veins to warrant the mining of quartz to recover the precious mineral. Quartz is also the primary constituent of sand.
Shale: is a common name applied to fine-grained varieties of sedimentary rock formed by the consolidation of beds of clay or mud. Most shales exhibit fine laminations that are parallel to the bedding plane and along which the rock breaks in an irregular, curving fracture. Shales are usually composed of mica and clay minerals, the grains are very fine and the individual minerals cannot be identified without the aid of a microscope. Most varieties of shale are coloured in various shades of gray, but other colours such as red, pink, green, brown, and black are often present. Shales are soft enough to be scratched with a knife and feel smooth and almost greasy to the touch. All gradations in consistency exist between shales and clay; true shales differ from clays in their lack of plasticity in water. Many shales yield oil when distilled by heat and the sedimentary rocks containing larger quantities of oil are called Oil Shales. Widely distributed throughout the world, oil shales are a source of oil for countries lacking petroleum.
Fieldstone: is a stone (as in building) in an unaltered form as taken from the field.
This is my Bengal cat Lucy enjoying one of her favourite places to hang about while on a daily stroll.
Flagstone: is a hard evenly stratified stone that splits into flat pieces suitable for paving. Sandstone is used in building flagstone.