In far eastern countries, the aesthetic placement of rocks has evolved into an art form. These "scholar's rocks" are displayed and admired, much like Ming vases, in homes and museums. When placed outdoors, they impart a certain poetic quality to the gardens they adorn.

Rocks used in the garden are prized for size, shape, or color; accents of mosses and lichens also desirable. My father adamantly collects scholar's rocks, and has been known to carry huge boulders down long descents during his hiking adventures.

L: Scholar Rock. Collection of Chin Chao. Photo: Alexander Scott.

After we had securing the riverbed rock, we went on a quest for larger rocks to use in stone groupings. We asked our young friend Brian if he knew of where we could find big rocks. He led us to a wooded area near his home to search for scholar rocks.

While we were looking for rocks, Brian caught this huge bullfrog.
Click on the photo above to see a video clip of the frog jumping into the water (1.3 MB AVI file)

Brian noticed some beautiful rocks nearby, covered with lichens and half-buried in the ground. After working one loose, he helped Alex carry the monstrous rock to the car. It must have weighed 300 pounds, and I watched them stagger under the weight. We picked a few smaller rocks to use as stepping stones - another 300 lbs or so.

Alex and Brian hoisted the rocks into the trunk of the car, which sagged under the weight to within inches of the ground. With tires scraping the wheel wells, the poor Saab dragged its cargo 20 miles to Boston. Good neighbor Michael loaned us his hand truck and his muscles. He and Alex struggled to get the big rock into our garden.



With aching backs and compressed vertebrae, it was a few days before we could continue with our rock garden project.

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