Gravel: Treasures Collected Along the Path

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  2. Xeriscape Gardening at Keppel Croft
  3. The Zen Garden
  4. » The Basics of Successful Gold Mining-Part 1
  5. Keppel Croft Gardens

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The rail fence provides some shelter from the cold north winds off the Georgian Bay. Our main problem with these gardens has been the invasion of guineafowl and chickens from the barnyard.

What talk collections are in the Treasure Chest?

They love to make dustbaths in the gardens, scattering mulch and plants! We used this area near the barn as a sheep pasture for quite a few years. Once we began working here, we discovered that the concrete floor of the old pig barn was underneath layers of earth and grasses in the northwest corner of the field. There are even the remains of the pig trough on the south side of the concrete. We plan to plant up the trough with sempervivums and sedums this year.

Bill decided to create a small zen garden here. He built a raised bed in the centre of the concrete flooring, filled it with coarse gravel with fine gravel as the top layer.

Xeriscape Gardening at Keppel Croft

Several rocks were added to the bed including one very handsome "waterfall" rock found out near the barn. A simple planting of small sedum was put at the bases of the island rocks. The concrete flooring is covered with a layer of purchased washed river stone. It's very easy to weed and maintain. Space between posts around the perimeter of the garden is lined with bamboo stakes lashed to a top railing.

There's a small hedge of cedars transplanted from the farm defining three sides of this garden. The shady viewing seat is a restful place to sit and contemplate the garden. Running parallel to the barn fence and its border garden, there is a checkerboard path under construction. Bill made a frame which allows him to pour concrete to make a quadruple row of pavers at one time. Recycled carpet covers the area under this path. The path area consists of pavers and spaces filled with washed river stone.

The Zen Garden

The outer edge of the path has pavers alternating with spaces filled with broken red brick or low growing sedums and thyme plants. Initially we used black plastic pot trays to protect the newly planted squares from maurauding chickens and guineahens. Now the squares of gravel and crushed brick have become homes to volunteer plants. Coming from the North, the first discovery point is the Wing Deck.

Constructed using Epay wood, the Wing Deck is in the shape of a least turn wing.

» The Basics of Successful Gold Mining-Part 1

The deck is a great location from which to observe the many bird species that winter in San Diego — shore birds, egrets, herons, pelicans, osprey and, of course, least terns. Fashioned to mimic the ebb and flow of the grass, the deck is the perfect spot to relax and lose yourself in the rhythms of the marsh. Before departing the Eel Grass Deck, take the time to study the railing, where you will find some wonderful observations from Silver Strand Elementary students etched into the railing. The final discovery point along the trail is the Solstice Clock.


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Similar to a sundial, the solstice clock points the way toward sunset on the longest day of the year June 21 as well as the shortest December Most of this work was done at the end of the last century and in the early years of this century. By , the project was orphaned, giving way to more pressing concerns and issues of the day, Liza Butler said.

Keppel Croft Gardens

There still much to do. Discovery points are also incomplete.

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But fallen leaves aren't just beautiful — they are useful, too, rotting down to create precious leaf mould. As both a mulch and a soil improver, leaf mould is excellent news for any soil.


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Even better, it's free and pretty much makes itself. There is no shortage of raw material for leaf mould at Glebe Cottage: One edge is bounded by a native hedge. On the other, there is beech and oak.