Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Limestone in the garden and extending the limestone rockery

One thing we are not short of in Asturias is limestone. Around here the dry stone walls of the past are made almost exclusively of limestone but alas, they are falling into disrepair and no longer being maintained. There is an abundance of limestone bedrock that surfaces in many fields and pastures. Some has been cleared over the past few hundred years whilst others are left as they are far too problematic and expensive to clear or remove. Pastures or fields and hills that are littered with protruding bedrock are know as Cuetos. We are fortunate to have a couple of areas in our garden.

When we came to La Pasera we inherited quite a bit of dry-stone walling most of which has not been rebuilt as yet, mostly just repaired where necessary. We also had access, from good neighbours, to as much limestone as we needed to build a rockery. We built the first section about 3 years ago but recently decided to extend it and attempt to re-create a naturalistic looking limestone gully and rockery.

Some of the rocks weighed much more than a human so we had to manoeuvre them using a wheel barrow, levers and gravity. We're pleased with the finished rockery and once the plants have established in the nooks and crannies, it will begin to look even better. We now need to move on and pave the winding steps and terrace area which will be another few months work.

There are many fissures, cavities and pockets of air in the rocks and it is an ideal habitat for lizards, toad, beetles and crickets. We will plant a few native plants and also encourage naturalisation of ferns, mosses and alpines. The rockery is south west facing so it is hot with deep pockets of shade.


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