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ID jit
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What would you do with this?

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Need to rebuild the stone ring and add some soil. Pretty sure I have enough stones to add another ring on top.

Difficulty here is that there is a HUGE boulder maybe 4" to 6" under the surface about dead center for 4 to 6 square feet and it tapers off from there. So, the middle have has very little soil depth.
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applestar
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Re: What would you do with this?

Why fight it? -- what about putting a pre-formed or liner lined shallow pond for the boulder to support? I mean I like the birdbath it's lovely, but a pond would be bigger, and depending on how you design it, less formal. While you are at it, you could add some kind dry stream bed maybe or of waterfall or just a oozing spring if you have electrical access or you might just get something solar or wind generated. I'm playing with ideas to adapt air pump water lift concept for my pond's moving water feature.

I envy your ready supply of rocks. I have to go buy or scrounge them so my rock projects go very slowly.

My 2nd concept idea would be a rock garden. Why bury the boulder? It would provide thermal mass and condensation drip watering for the surrounding area.
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ID jit
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Re: What would you do with this?

Have both rock and stones here. Come gather as many as you like; just bring a shovel and it doesn't matter where you dig, nor how deep.

Search youtube for air lift pumps and geyser pumps, both are used with aquariums. I have a hybrid for my little 2.5 gallon betta tank. The double valve set up can move a lot of water on not so much air if you deal deal with the surginess of it.

Koi pond, "brook" and water fall are in the front yard - not doing that again. (Even suggesting moving that bird bath would be a death sentence by Chinese water torture.)

There is very little to less depth out there and it drains super fast. The boulder is a huge rounded chunk of granite, at minimum, shed sized if not bigger. Posted this looking of ideas of what to plant in there. (Before the stone ring and initial fill, flocks and a hard time staying alive.) Have about a yard of compost ready to go and more than enough sandy gravel to mix 50/50 to refill it with. Sort of want to get rid of the hostas and the indigo/purple siberian iris aren't doing as well as I thought they would.

Have to rip it apart to rebuild the stone ring and refill it, so I was looking for outside ideas of what to plant in there.
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rainbowgardener
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Re: What would you do with this?

how sunny is the area?
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imafan26
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Re: What would you do with this?

If you raise the outer ring of stones and fill in the middle it will add depth. As long as the soil can drain and you don't plant anything deep rooted over the boulder it should be fine. The birdbath does look lonely there and it is small especially when there is no context for it.

You could actually make it a "natural" area to invite beneficial insects in. Add more stacked rocks, and a log (hollow or a log drilled with small holes for nesting). Some native plants; nectar and pollen flowers; vegetables and herbs. Put in a few flowering shrubs for shade and cover for the insects. Leave some bare ground for ground nesting bees. Add a few stones to the birdbath to provide landing places for the butterflies and bees to take a drink. The tree in the back might be a good place for some artificial hives and a hummingbird feeder in the off season. Plant a suitable winter cover crop.

https://www.xerces.org/wp-content/upload ... 15_web.pdf
https://www.pinterest.com/shopsteellife ... -shelters/
https://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/xmlui ... pnw550.pdf
https://www.fws.gov/pollinators/pollina ... rhelp.html
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ID jit
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Re: What would you do with this?

The whole thing get full sunlight about 80% of the day. With that ornamental tree, the ground sees a mix of partial shade / filtered sun with direct sunlight early and late in the day.

Drainage... Have more than enough of that, especially with how dry the local area is during the summer. You can leave a garden hose on the ground and it will barely form a puddle. No one can keep a lawn alive around here without irrigation and that only works till the water ban get enacted sometime mid summer.

Thanks for the ideas.
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SQWIB
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Re: What would you do with this?

Patio/sitting area, Firepit over the rock?

Sitting area (wood deck)

Wildflower garden.

Veggies... Build up the sides with 6x6's for a raised bed (keyhole)?

Veggies... Build up the sides with more stone for a raised bed (keyhole)?

Pondless waterfall.

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applestar
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Re: What would you do with this?

So, I'm back to the rock garden idea. Plant near drought-proof plants like Eastern prickly cactus, lamb's ears, creeping thyme, maybe yucca if you want a tall contrast.... wormwood and other artemisia, grape hyacinths, creeping phlox, cerosia, .... An oasis with an ornate birdbath in the middle would be kind of surreal and fun. You could water the plants when you fill the birdbath and not worry about providing enough to keep alive. Birds will splash water on them when using the birdbath. The boulder will still provide the thermal mass so you may be able to keep things alive here that normally wouldn't in the open. Some sages, etc. that would not be winter hardy. If you are not worried about it taking off, lyre-leaf Sage is extremely tough. Iris might make it -- it would certainly like the drier conditions, and maybe peony, too. Wild or alpine strawberries....

You could also choose drought tolerant *native* plants that would also provide birdseed... maybe coreopsis, New England aster, etc.
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jal_ut
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Re: What would you do with this?

First get the weeds out, then plant some radish, turnips and lettuce seeds.

If you don't want to grow some food, toss the rocks in the garbage bin and level it up and plant Kentucky Bluegrass. Then you can just run the lawnmower over it once a week.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

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ID jit
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Re: What would you do with this?

I wish 5 gallons of diesel and a road flare could be used.

There is no leveling with out dynamite. It will be a garden at least a few more years and nature have mercy on anyone moving that bird bath.

Still looking pretty sad. Still very undecided what to do other than get more soil in there and restack the stones more neatly.
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applestar
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Re: What would you do with this?

OK -- one more go -- what did you say the tree was?

If the birdbath is a fixture, I would definitely turn this into a bird/butterfly garden. A plant grouping with different heights and flowers and fruits/seeds for different seasons that will be attractive to birds and butterflies. I want to see wild strawberries (F. virginiana or alpine) as groundcover, low-growing berry shrubs like blueberries or honeyberries, currants, viburnums, shrub cherries, juneberries ... hummingbird fave flowers if you get hummingbirds there -- heuchera, salvia, beebalm ... butterfly faves like asters, sedum, trying to think of flowers that aren't too tall... maybe purple coneflower... trying to stay native --avoiding saying zinnia haha... seed-bearing flowers like the tickseed, coneflowers, evening primroses, etc.
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jedson303
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Re: What would you do with this?

I don't know the answer to your question. Only you do. But it seems to me that your are trying to do something meaningful here – spiritual, if you will – using that term in a vague sort of way. I mean the circle you have there is something other than a scientific way to grow vegetables. The only suggestion I would make it to think of the stone not as an obstacle, but as something that belongs there, something that should be accepted and worked with. If you let yourself explore more about what you are trying to do with that circle, and what the meaning of the stone is in it, maybe more ideas will come to you.

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ID jit
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Re: What would you do with this?

The tree is some kind of ornamental fake apple tree or something ... lots of red blossoms right now. roots are shallow and spread all over the place.

The reason the garden is there at all is mostly about protecting the lawn mower blades and quelling the dust patch over the rock.

Left to my own devices, I would be explaining the misuse of fertilizer and diesel fuel. I learned a neat trick on my uncles farm in northern VT when I was sent "on vacation" as a kid. Spent a good part of a summer making pasture / removing trees, big rocks, big stones and big stumps. That method is sort of frowned upon these days though.

I guess what I am looking for is suggestions on low maintenance annuals to put it there that can deal with DRY. Stuff that I can plant in there in a predictable pattern so they will be easy to mulch around, have blooms most of the season. Basically, plant it; mulch it, forget it, clean it up in the fall and re-mulch it in the spring.
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imafan26
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Re: What would you do with this?

Planting natives will be the lowest maintenance since the plants should be adapted to the area. They will need to be watered until they are established, but if they get a good head start, they should be able to survive on minimal extra water after that.

https://pollinator.org/PDFs/EasternBroad ... c.rx18.pdf
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ID jit
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Re: What would you do with this?

Thanks for the list of plants.

Had a pound bag of "wild flower" seeds in my hand the other day. Even went home to get the decoder glasses so I could read what was actually in there. Didn't help much even if I could read the fine print. Still didn't know what the stuff was. (kind of made me laugh)

For some reason I am thinking the wild flower thing would be more work and time than just sticking with the hostas, crocuses, tulips, siberian iris and grape hyacinths. I know that stuff will survive there and be comfy enough under bark mulch. Should probably add in a few short version of whatever those daisy- like annuals are and call it good.
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