Inspirational Rock Garden? You Could Say That

Find out how an "inspirational" rock garden convinced one gardener to plant his vegetables somewhere else.

Inspiration doesn’t always come in the way we might expect. Sometimes inspiration even pushes us in the opposite direction. For example, an inspirational quote might remind us of the beauty in something as simple as a smile. Then there’s the inspirational rock garden.

An inspirational rock garden could very well inspire you to never garden again. Imagine trying to plant your corn and beans over piles of rocks. Or think about how hard it would be to plant a garden full of bulbs when you have to work around dozens and dozens of rocks.

That’s what happened to Harvey Silverman. Despite the idyllic setting—”a 1785 New England farm-house with a stream, fields, and woodlands,” he found that the inspiration he had to start a garden was soon hindered. In his story, Too, Too Many Rocks, Harvey shares the story of how his inspirational rock garden was actually inspiration to move the garden to a different location.

I don’t want to give too much away here, but this story has quite the twist that gave me a good laugh. I think you’ll find Harvey’s “inspiration” was really something of a surprise.

From A Less-Than-Inspirational Rock Garden to Fields of Abundance, You Can Harvest Plenty of Amusing Garden Stories Here in GreenPrints.

This story comes from our archive that spans over 30 years, and includes more than 130 magazine issues of GreenPrints. Pieces like these that turn stories of gardening mishaps and mistakes into everyday life lessons always brighten up my day, and I hope this story does for you as well. Enjoy!

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Too, Too Many Rocks

By Harvey Silverman

The dream had come true. After several years of apartment living, our first real home was just what we wanted—a 1785 New England farm-house with a stream, fields, and woodlands.

We moved in late in June, too late, we thought, to plant a large vegetable garden. For the summer, I chose a spot along the country lane, open and with full sun. Perfect for now, I thought.

With spading fork in hand I set to work, enthusiastic and joyful. I turned over the first forkful of earth—and a couple of fist-sized rocks. The next forkful yielded more rocks. And the next.

“Wow!” I said aloud. “I know New England soil is supposed to be rocky, but this is ridiculous.”

It was a long afternoon. By dinnertime I had a small plot dug up and, next to it, a large pile of rocks.

“How’s it going?” my sweetheart asked at dinner.

“Uh, I think the garden may be smaller than we planned.”

Still, by summer’s end we delighted in our little garden’s production of green beans, zucchini, and tomatoes. Then one day an elderly gentleman came to the door and introduced himself as a former owner of our house. We welcomed him in and, later, walked together outside. He noted our garden with amusement.

“That spot used to be a hollow,” he told me. “I had a fella dump a couple truckloads of rocks there, and then I covered it with a couple inches of dirt. Musta been 25 years ago.”

The next year I marked out a large garden behind the house. I got a rototiller and turned over a few stones here and there.

By Harvey Silverman, published originally in 2018, in GreenPrints Issue #114. Illustrated by Marilynne Roach

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What kind of embarrassing garden moments have you had? Any particularly funny ones you’d like to share in the comments?


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