The Rock Quarry

For the next phase of our garden project it facilitates selecting a lot of rocks.  30 tons of rock.  Big boulders.  These will be used for the design of the Japanese garden area, the pond, and a small retaining wall on the other side of the house.

We got a list of names of places to go look for rocks and started our visits. We went to  Smith Rock out of Johnson Creek Blvd, while they  had a very nice selection in their yard plus a cool bar worth seeing inside their building, none of the rocks spoke to us. Portland Rock and Landscape Supply on 82nd street had some Columbia River basalt rocks in their yard, and while we liked the color we were looking for something more rounded. Columbia Basalt

We decided we might have better luck going to an actual quarry so we could pick out the rocks we wanted since we needed a fair amount. We discovered that Northside Rock products up on Dixie Mountain in North Plains had some more rounded boulders. This little journey meant we got to stop at King Torta, one of the best little Mexican restaurants on the way, so I was game. We had to suit up with our hazard vests and hardhats, as there were a lot of big machines around. Their boulders were good in size and shape but the colors were more in the brownish family than we wanted.  We next headed out to Forest Grove to the Farmington rock quarry but their rocks were too black. One consistent thing we were learning, is that all of the folks that work with rocks are great.  Everyone who helped us gave us lots of information and couldn’t have been nicer.  The only problem was we were starting to feel like Goldilocks, looking for the rock that was just right!

Over the weekend we went to an estate sale that had some nice garden art pieces.   We found a Japanese pagoda lantern and bought it.  My husband was doing a little research about it on the web to find similar ones and came across a site called Pacific Stonescape Inc.  While they were located down in Albany, it seemed worth a call, as we really liked the look of the Santiam boulders they had on their website.

I got ahold of Steve, who is also the owner, and he couldn’t have been more helpful.  They would deliver to Portland and we could go out to the quarry with him and pick the actual rocks the very next day.  We were excited! 

We drove down to the Salem area and met Steve at a little coffee shop.  It was a beautiful day with sun, clouds, and the occasional little rain, the quintessential Oregon day. When we got to the quarry it was exactly what we had been hoping to find.  John started climbing around surveying the hardscape.  He was in his element. We perused the selections of these gorgeous natural river boulders in their many grey hues before making any decisions.  

surveying the rocks

Then it was time to start marking.  Steve had a can of spray paint and marked smaller rocks and placed them atop the ones we liked.  Then we went back with chalk and also marked them.  Norm, who would be pulling them out for us with his big machine and putting them in a pile for Steve’s truck to pick up in a week also was another gem we met.

The rocks we selected had a smoothness to them from years of being tumbled and washed over in the river.  We found some with beautiful natural ridges that we can imagine the water flowing down in our pond area.  Others were natural benches, and some had small scooped out spots for a bit of water to collect and we  can already imagine the birds bathing in these.

These three

As I’ve written before, we are often amazed how time and patience plays such a role in our project.  These rocks were worth waiting for! 

santiam boulders

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