Tuesday, May 8, 2012

What to do with a pile of bluestones?

Sometimes life gets in the way of blogging about life.

I've been a bit lacking in motivation lately. Couldn't seem to persuade myself to do what I ought to do. Or what I enjoy doing. I don't believe this house has been properly cleaned for a very long time. The sheets are nearly crawling off the beds. There's dust and dirt all over the floors and I don't even want to look in the loo. I've been struggling to come up with ideas for my drama classes and stressing about whether they'll work or not. I haven't managed to get to a yoga class for well over a month. Not since in fact I cleared and mopped and cleaned and erected my very own little shrine to Iyengar for the very purpose of doing yoga at home. I won't go into all the other boring details of my slip into inertia apart from to say that I think I've lifted my game and turned a corner. As will be evidenced by my more regular blog writing.
Last week we had a bunch of workers digging up the road and doing something with the electricity in our street. And on Friday Monkey Man got very excited by a big pile of bluestone rocks that had been dug up right outside our door. Monkey Man has a thing for bluestone. Loves them. I think it's because he's a bit of a history nerd. And our suburb according to him is the bluestone capital of the world. A few days before, we had subjected our children to a movie night watching TinTin (if you haven't seen it don't bother). And Monkey Man pointed out (not for the first time) that many of those bluestones in the animated Parisian TinTin streets were shipped all the way from our suburb. And likewise lots of London is filled with our bluestone. Monkey Man's rather proud of our suburb and its rocks. Now I don't have evidence to back up Monkey Man's statements but they're probably true. He has a rather good memory for facts and figures and he's very often quoting them at me. I sometimes find myself asking if that's the "fact for the day" or if I should expect more. Anyway, we do live on a very large basalt plain and in the 1800s our area was littered with bluestone quarries. And you can read all about it here if you are so inclined.

Naturally when Monkey Man spied the bluestones he got chatting to the workers and asked if he could take them off their hands and save them a trip to wherever they were planning to take them. And for a couple of beers and some hauling to the front yard they were ours.

But what to do with a lovely pile of bluestones?

I was thinking about simply dumping them arranging them in an artistic heap out back to make a rock sculpture. Or replacing all the brick edgings around the veggie patches with bluestone instead. But then I remembered permaculture herb spirals. Sonya from Permaculture Pathways wrote about them here and I loved the idea. I'm almost set on making one with these rocks except I'm not sure I have the right sunny spot. And I'm thinking that if I just let the rocks sit out the front for a bit longer I'll come up with a better idea. Or maybe you have some suggestions?


  1. I kind of like the pile as it is now. I can imagine if I was a lizard or frog, I'd find it a very attractive resting spot.

  2. Don't leave them lying around too long in a pile as they look like the perfect spot for snakes to live in....!!!!!

  3. Herb spiral garden? They are lovely.

  4. Mmmh, if you don't have dangerous spiders where you live you could make a nice little garden wall...

  5. Did you mean Sonya? I think a herb spiral would be lovely!

  6. The Herb Spiral idea looks pretty attractive; or you could make a rockery to host small succulents, cacti and grasses; or use them for the edging of a new flower-bed...
    P.S. Did they REALLY ship Bluestone all the way from Australia to London? Crazy! Seems like a pretty uneconomical arrangement.

  7. I liked the pile too until I read the snake comment but a herb spiral is probably as good an idea as any. Good looking and productive.

  8. Send them to Brunswick - Moreland council is about to rip up heaps of the old alleyways as bluestone is apparently too costly to maintain...Otherwise I love the sculpture idea and the herb one and actually pretty much anything you do with it will probably be fabulous.

  9. I love blue stone. We live in a 1910 blue stone villa and there are a lot around us and they are sort after. I think you got an absolute steel, getting them for just a couple of beers. They would have cost a fortune here.
    I think they would look great as a drystone wall behind a lovely cottage garden.
    Or as a back drop for a water feature.

    I think to get yourself back on track with the organizing of your home. You need my book. Read about it

  10. Herb spiral sounds great..........What does monkey man want to do with them?
    Sounds like you need a mini holiday maybe a weekend yoga retreat?

  11. Oops Dixiebelle I did mean Sonya - got my blog names mixed up. Better change that now!
    Suzanne I've not heard of snakes around here - but it's possible. There is a river not too far away and there are snakes there. Hmm.
    Alessandra dangerous spiders! You're all putting me off the rocks. Of course we have dangerous spiders! But I have red backs living under my outdoor chairs too!
    Mark, apparently they filled the ships that were returning to England from depositing cargoes of both imports and immigrants.
    Jeanetteann I have thought about your book!
    Oh for a holiday or yoga retreat.

  12. Apparently (I'll track down some evidence) the bluestone was originally used as ballast for ships returning to England, and the quality of the stone become popular. It's used as paving on the banks of the Thames and the Seine.
    Monkey Man :-)

  13. Oh my, see how excited he is?! Monkey Man has commented on this blog for the first time. Not sure if it's the bluestone or the opportunity to elaborate on the fact for the day.

  14. What a great find!
    I like the idea of a water feature or sculpture.
    The herb spiral looks fantastic, but those photos look pretty new. What will it look like in a few years when everything's grown at different rates and there's a three foot rosemary bush stuck on top?

  15. have a look here at the garedn beds thats what i would do with them

  16. I'm so jealous! I love bluestone to the point of buying some on ebay, which I have used for a strawberry/raspberry bed border - I can send some pics if you'd like to see. But if I was in your situation I'd be inclined to build a bluestone pyramid with spaces between to grow strawberries - the extra heat the stones hold would make them fruit a little earlier and keep fruiting (with continuous fruiting varieties, not just summer fruiting one's) a little longer. Gotta love that! Could do a similar thing with other frost/cold sensitive plants if you don't like/have enough strawberries...

  17. Bek I'd love to see your photos. Could you email me? I could probably combine herbs and strawberries. My only thought is I've never had much luck with them - pests. And rocks harbour all sorts of pests that love a strawberry.

  18. They'd be great as a surround for a pond, with lots of great hiding spots for little critters that would also like the water.


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