Friday, July 30, 2010

Gabion Garden

A lady in my native plant club recently asked about building her some gabion walled garden beds. I promptly replied that it would not be a problem, just let me go to my truck and get a pad and a tape measure. When I got to the truck I immediately called Lyn and asked her to Google gabions and tell me what they are, what they are used for, and any other pertinent information. She gave a me a quick run down on them and I went back acting like I was in the know on gabions. Oh yeah, technology saved my butt.

Christine is the editor for our news letter and is very savvy, native plant wise. She is also pretty savvy in the realm of garden design and construction. She realized she had a drainage and wash problem between her house and her neighbors. It was the side that had the air conditioner and a neighbor that really likes his carpet grass and is not too enamored by native plants. So there were some problems to over come.

Christine is British, or Scottish, or Welshish or something. So as not to insult any one I just refer to them as from over yonder. Well, as any one who knows any thing about gardening will tell you, the people from over yonder really know gardening. And she is one of those. Christine gardens with a larger percentage of natives than just about any one I know. She is one of my go to people when I have questions about native plants and where I want to put them in the garden. Well, when she started talking gabions for walls for beds and fixing drainage problems at the same time, I was all for this project.

She knows that they would not be for every body as tastes differ. But for her and for this application, they would be perfect. There was to be two walls, 12" tall and 12" wide that would make the sides to a long narrow raised be. Toward the end, one would curve out and then back in to make a larger area that would stop rain water from washing the side yard out. After seeing her design and drawings, I knew she had it down pat perfect and all I needed to do was start building.

I knew the job wasn't going to be easy as welded wire panels are a booger to deal with. I build a lot of horse stalls and cattle fences out of them and you know going in that they are tough to work with and there will always be blood spilled. It's just a matter of how much. I was able to get all 13 pieces built with out too much of the red stuff on the ground. This is the last piece and the hardest piece, as it is horse shoe shaped.

I dropped by a few days later and she was almost through filling them with rocks. Yeah, the woman is a work horse and I say that as the highest of compliments.
A couple more days and she was through. It really looked good and I could really see how it was going to fix her drainage problems and make beds all at the same time. She already had plants in it, all natives of course.


I stopped by to see her the other day and was surprised to see that she and her husband had completely wiped clean the front yard and had redone it with new walk ways, new beds and of course a lot of new plants almost all of them natives. It was simply stunning and they were only half way through with the project.
These are the kind of people that I respect most as gardeners. They have a dream or idea, they plan, they scheme, they plan the costs......then they just do it, and do most of it them selves. Truly admirable. You can see more of these types of people on so many of the garden blogs that I visit. I invite you check out as many as you can. So many ideas, so little time.

12 comments:

Cheryl said...

I love Christine! She's the new Capital Area Master Naturalist President, and her husband Dale is going with us out to the Davis Mts. on the Texas Hummingbird Roundup! She is definately a woman with a plan! Beautiful work btw, Bob!

Diana said...

Bob - That's totally cool. I've never seen that - what I love about blogging -- I learn something new all the time! Thanks for sharing.

Tabor said...

I like people like that as well. They become part of their project and therefore will watch it change and grow and make it even more lovely. I had never heard of gabions. Isn't the Internet wonderful?

Patchwork said...

Gabions....learn something new, everyday.

These people look like real dynamos. Gotta love it.

katina said...

Gabions. The ones that are made for work (aka creek bank stabilization...which is a fancy way of saying "keep the creek banks from eroding away") usually use some type of hex pattern wire to create the cage...like big chicken wire. And the wire is usually wound around the rocks 3 or 4 times I think.

I'm pretty sure that Shoal Creek in Pease Park has gabion banks...

Pam/Digging said...

Fantastic, Bob. I didn't think I was a fan of the trendy gabion wall, but seeing Christine's is making me rethink that. Hers (yours) looks perfect in that setting. Smart solution. And her front garden is shaping up to be something special too.

ESP said...

Wow Bob...and you commented that I must be a machine to take on a major job at this time of year! You are just as crazy as me it seems!

Gabion walled garden beds are new to me me too...what a great read - to learn more about this drainage and water diversion strategy. It is going to look great! What was it planted up with? The front of house also looks like it is shaping up to be quite amazing.

Hope you lost less blood then me :-)

Great work Bob.

ESP.

Bonnie said...

Very cool. They have some of these on the new road project at 2222 and 360 where the creek runs through...but not nearly as pretty as yours.

Christine said...

Since we are talking about my garden here I’ll tell you what I have planted! I have scarlet clematis along the trellis’ then a beautiful Rusty Blackhaw viburnum in the corner. In front of them I have several white mist flowers and then red columbine. Along the thin center strip I have possumhaws, eve’s necklace some blue mistflower and right at the end an oak-leaf hydrangea. This last plant probably isn’t going to make it since the deer have decided it is their new favorite plant but I will try cadging it and see how we go from there.

Mamaholt said...

Wow...that's so cool. Uh oh, something new to covet. Good think Jackdaddy can't weld.

Lori said...

I LOVE the look of the gabion bed! I also had no idea what a gabion was until I read this post. I'd seen them used decoratively in David Peese's garden, but had no idea what they were called. Wicked cool. I'm quite impressed with your metalworking skills!

Anonymous said...

A lady in my native plant club recently asked about building her some gabion walled garden beds.flowering shrubs