Home of the Practically Perfect Pink Phlox and other native plants for pollinators

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

It's Harvest Time

What do you think of the recent harvest of Ordovician Limestone from the front garden?

It was 'grown' from a compost soup of microscopic organisms which accumulated at the bottom of the ocean that once covered Middle Tennessee.



Dug fresh, yesterday! It's rich in calcium carbonate. Tasty! Women of a certain age are very familiar with calcium!


Limestone is the major crop at Clay and Limestone.

We grow companion plants like

Goldenrod (Solidago);


Tennessee Coneflower (Echinacea tennesseenses) which grows as a cover crop on limestone, along with Verbena canadensis and Baptisia australis.


Even our native Phlox paniculata and pilosa don't mind a little limestone growing at their feet.

One thing I have noticed about growing limestone, it hasn't any

problems sharing garden space with the Susans (Rudbeckia hirta). As you may well know, the Susans can run over other crops, but not limestone! It can hold its own against an assertive plant like Susan!




Many native plants grow happily alone side limestone.

Here are Heuchera villosa "Autumn Bride" and Amsonia hubechti with last year's crop of Ordovician Limestone.


This fantastic limestone has no natural enemies, doesn't require fertilizer and is drought tolerant! It is a practically perfect crop for Clay and Limestone.

We can't imagine gardening without it!

Gail

61 comments:

  1. What a wonderful crop you've grown. I'm glad to hear it's so versatile, as I'll be gardening with my own limestone at the next house.

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  2. Hey Pam, It's all beautiful! I do recommend a few heavy duty tools...The perennial transplanter in the second photo bit the dust when I hit one of those rocks! I am heart broken.

    Gail

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  3. Gail,

    I think you're on to something! It's obviously a perfect companion crop to the clay you have all over, lol. And talk about no maintenance and an ample harvest ... you've got a winner here.

    I like the clever angle you chose here, and the photos are just icing on the ah-hem, cake (so to speak). Sure wish we could have goldenrod, but it sends my allergies into fits whenever I'm around it...

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  4. What a super great harvest! No watering and planting and picking on the part of the gardener even!

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  5. Dear Gail,
    You - in a way - are lucky to have these stones in your garden - free supply of the hardscaping in your garden. You don't need to search for it, buy and get delivered :)
    Watch out for solidago - it overtakes the space as soon as you stop looking at it.
    Greetings,
    Ewa

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  6. Gail, if you want to share your bountiful harvest, I'll take some off your hands. :) Like veggies, we have to buy our limestone here. Your flowers are still looking so pretty and do justice to the limestone. And that butterfly is beautiful. Thanks for the smiles.

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  7. Now that is what you call a foolproof crop Gail. lol

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  8. Oh Gail your harvest of limestone is coveted here. I could call my little patch of soil 'sand and clay'. No stones here unless brought in. I do admire your tenacity in your garden. I am sure it can be discouraging when your favorite perennial staller is broken while hoisting these big gloms of limestone out.

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  9. What a great harvest! It's one that's in season most of the year, I suppose, although easier to harvest at some times. It's in good company with the rest of your pretty plants.

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  10. IVG,

    Yes, it's practically perfect! I forgot to mention that I can harvest them at anytime, except during our shorter winter months when the ground may be frozen or too wet and it's a true calorie burner!

    Allergies are certainly a pain...

    Gail

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  11. Tina,

    As I told IVG....no calories either.

    Gail

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  12. Ewa,

    We are very lucky to have limestone...and it happens that I have loved rocks since I was a kid! Occasionally, I have to order them, for special projects like the walkway and the prices are shocking!

    I do watch the Goldenrod...it is lovely but pushy plant!
    Gail

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  13. Beckie,

    Bring a truck and handsome farm hands and you have a deal! The flowers are fading fast! It's hard to find many susans not completely browned The phlox is amazing...I am so glad I didn't remove it all when the phlox bug hit!

    Gail!

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  14. PGL,

    Absolutely the easiest! lol with you!

    Gail

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  15. Lisa,

    Tenacity! I have been here for more than 20 years and it just seems normal! The rocks go in walls and also I use them to line beds so I can raise the soil level and improve it! It'as actually fun to dig them up...since they are a treasured harvest!

    Gail

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  16. ps Lisa,

    Does clay and sand mean you have concrete? Yikes!

    Gail

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  17. cindy,

    Hi, goodness, I need to stop by and visit...a head cold knocked me out and I feel way behind in visiting my friends. How are you?

    The reason I grow so many native plants is that they are not miserable in clay and limestone and other than some compost and mulch, I'm not required to totally replace the soil to grow plants that would be happier in acid soil, for example. another post! See you later, cindy!

    Gail

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  18. darla,

    It is isn't it! I feel fortunate, most of the time!

    gail

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  19. Hi,
    I have loved rocks all my life. We always used to bring one home from vacation. We gathered rocks along the road, where farmers had dumped them,and put around
    our flower beds. They just sort of settle into the ground and really become part of the landscape.We lived there for 26 yrs.
    Then we moved.
    The new owners had other plans and started the process of removing them....and the circle continues.

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  20. Another plant I need to add to my wish list:) I bet this thrived this summer despite the lack of rain.
    I could find many uses for this limestone in my garden, and to think it's free! I think I'd have to resume my free-weight exercises, though, in order to harvest these.

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  21. Sadly, those are not native to my corner of Katy. Fortunately, friends are purchasing property in the Hill Country where the limestone runs wild and free. I'll transplant some to my garden and hope I can keep them going!

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  22. Marvelous blog! I learned something! How wonderful that the limestone is abundant on your land. It's interesting and the plants sure seem to love it! I am from N AL and happen to love TN. Great pictures! And thanks for including the latin classifications for each plant.

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  23. I'm putting a stone pathway thru the garden. I wish I could grow a small crop;) It looks great in your garden.
    Marnie

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  24. I would probably have a love hate relationship with limestone in the garden. Go to dig a simple hole and then end up taking out a bolder with more work! You seem to be able to garden well with so much limestone in your garden. Great job!

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  25. Hi Gail,
    I was glad to make the acquaintance of your friend Ordo, otherwise known fondly as Clink. It is a true mixed blessing to have those large, perfectly shaped for stacking stones, the beauty they add to your garden is without parallel, the fact they came from that very earth is priceless, the hitting Colonel Clink whenever you dig, and even breaking your fave shovel is, ahm, not so good. I looked for the shovel at WFF and it wasn't there. Smith and Hawken might have it though. That size is so hard to find. I love your perspective here, always a treat, and so educational.
    Frances

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  26. That's a fine healthy-looking specimen you've grown there, Gail! It's big enough to add some real structure to your garden.

    Our soil must be missing something - most of the rocks are smaller than grapefruits but they make up in number what they lack in substance.

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

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  27. Great crop! The only problem is it takes such a long time to grow. Of course you have a great deal of it to harvest so you really don't need to start anymore I suppose! Great pictures of your companion plants to your limestone crop!

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  28. Glad to see your feeling better.
    That crop you have can be a bit rough on the palette though. Wish I did have some {notice I said some}. Mostly sandy soil here. I said you couldn't grow a weed unless you fertilized it. This soil has nothing in it. Good & bad with all.

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  29. balisha,

    Isn't that just how it is! We love it and the next person doesn't. I still imagine ways to get the rocks I see at building sites in my car and home! Not going to happen they are HUGE! I am glad you stopped by to share your love of rocks with me!

    gail

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  30. rose,

    I am telling you...the perfect crop! I do get some exercise and have the PT bills to prove it! Free weights are good, but I saw a guy leave a paint store with two one gallon cans of paint. He was walking along while performing bicep curls with the cans!

    Gail

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  31. cindy, mcok,

    Field trip and soon! Isn't hill Country rock pretty...It will be lovely in your garden! I fell in love with the Hill COuntry a few years ago and always thought I could live there! I don't know about your summers in TX!

    Gail

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  32. tilelady,

    I love tile, almost as much as rocks! I want to spend some time at your sites to see your tile designs. I work with broken tile and love it! Thank you for stopping by! It is fun when new folks comment and visit!

    Gail

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  33. marnie,

    I am excited to see your path! I wish you had this crop, too...it is wonderful about the garden. I may have to look for more to harvest...we need a small column for our new mailbox!

    Gail

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  34. skeeter,

    At first it was very frustrating, later I came to appreciate how valuable and useful all the rocks could be to garden design. It would be that way for you and I bet The Saint, well, being a saint, would help. Think of the tools he could get or rent!

    Gail

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  35. Gail, I envy your limestone.
    But my new small city garden spot seems to have good soil. At my country home I was working with red clay. For some reason I still had great plants.
    Thank you for the caring comments about my Sadie.

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  36. FRances,

    You are good! Colonel Clink! I am afraid that this one time the Colonel has outsmarted Hogan. Thank you for keeping an eye out for the replacement shovel! I miss it already.

    Gail

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  37. Annie,

    I wonder what you can do with the smaller rocks? What do you do with them? As you can tell from photographs we have built walls and used them to line beds, but I'm stumped about what to do with the smaller ones.

    The geology of Austin would be an interesting study. Maybe I will check it out this winter when we are growing curiosity!

    gail

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  38. Dave,

    About 350 million years according to geologists. These rocks are often covered with fossils of sea creatures...crinoids and mollusks. You and our daughter would love it.

    Gail

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  39. Lola,

    I haven't a clue what to do with sandy soil! I guess it requires major effort to improve it and using lots of compost. The one good thing about clay, it often is nutrient packed...but it so packed that the nutrients can't get out! Add humis and compost and it's ready to rock and roll!

    What do you do with your soil to get it ready to plant?

    Gail

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  40. Hi Gail - I hope you are feeling better from your cold. I feel like I am behind in visiting my blogging friends too. I guess just a lot going on and not enough computer time. You know how it gets with a young one! She's just starting to walk and keeps us on our toes :)

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  41. cindy,

    Aren't those the best days! So exciting, once they walk it isn't long before they are running! I am really far behind in visiting bloggers today!

    Gail

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  42. What a wonderful harvest! And I love how low maintenance it is.

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  43. Hi Gail! I hope you're feeling better.

    You've got a great crop there - low-calorie, drought-tolerant, and all-organic to boot! Now all you need is some good recipes for your calcium-rich harvest!

    Very fun post!

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  44. Susie,

    Bringing in the harvest is the only difficult part of the whole crop experience! Other than that...it''s sit back and let it be!

    gail

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  45. gardengirl/Linda,

    I am feeling much better thank you. Now I can get out there and get some work down in the garden. I am completely surprised that there are only about 10 plants in the holding spot to go into the ground. Now if it would rain and the temps would go below 80, we could actually see some of autumn.

    All stone soup recipes are welcome!

    gail

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  46. What a great crop. Limestone is perfect for so many reasons. It's actually pleasant-looking as well!

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  47. I'm so impressed that you know so much about your crop. It is a beautiful product, but I bet you wish you didn't have quite so much of it. If Lisa calls her garden "Sand & Clay," I'll have to call mine "Loam, Clay & big chunks of Concrete." BTW, my PPP has rebloomed with 1 flower.

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  48. I am a woman familiar with calcium myself! ;-) It's good you embrace your bountiful crop of limestone instead of fighting it. Having a gorgeous, natural, native, landscaping material available at your fingertips is truly something to be envied. The task of excavating said material, not so much!

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  49. I think it would be nice if you would share some of that calcium. After all, that's more than 100 people need in a life time. The little yellow faces look happy and tough. Wish all our plants would grow so easily.

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  50. I love that crop of stone. At least it gets along well with the plants.

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  51. Ernestine,

    Good soil is wonderful! You are lucky to have it! How is Ms Sadie doing?

    Gail

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  52. mmd,

    You are the winner! I am afraid mine bloomed the longest but you got me on re-bloom! What did you feed it!

    From where did the big chunks of concrete come?

    Gail

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  53. Kathleen,

    It is a bountiful crop! I was committed to creating a garden here and there was only one way for me to do it! One rock at a time! Which reminds me I forgot to take my calcium!

    gail

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  54. anna,

    They are tough plants! I am sorry to see the Susans fade away...well, they don't fade! They get brown and feed the finches! I would be glad to share calcium with you! It's the best kind.

    Gail

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  55. Most of my gardening is done in large containers. Too much bad stuff in soil. But put a lot of chick manure, fertilizers, compost & anything else that works. Gardening in containers is better if you want to go organic.
    This is the way I do it anyway.

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  56. cinj,

    They get along beautifully! How is football season coming along?

    Gail

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  57. lola,

    I think you are smart to do grow in containers, you can control all the variables! The rest of us are at the mercy of what ever was put in the soil before we gardened.

    Gail

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  58. Hi Gail, I am particularly admiring that second photo... so sorry about your transplanter. It is difficult to lose a precious tool.

    Your limestone is so earthy and so woodsy and soooooooooo gardenie!! Again, I have to reiterate how very much I admire your tenacity dealing with your current practically perfect crop. All your cover crops are to be envied in their seas of prettiness.

    Great post and wonderful photos of your happy garden.
    Meems @Hoe&Shovel

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  59. Dee/reddirtramblingsSeptember 12, 2008 at 7:24 AM

    Gail, you've got a great sense of humor. We don't have a large crop of limestone @ RDR, but we have the alternative species, red sandstone. My blog could have been named Clay and Sandstone. :) ~~Dee

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  60. Oh, how I wish I could grow limestone like you do (only in slightly lesser quantities!) :-)

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Let us be grateful to people who make us happy;
they are the charming gardeners
who make our souls blossom.


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