Returning from the estate sale in Cherry Valley last weekend, Paul and I were coveting many of the rocks along the roads in that rural desert town. I actually had to restrain him from pulling over and snagging a few. Back in Riverside, we came across a yard sale being held at a home we were familiar with. In fact, it was here at a previous sale that I’d bought the steel gate and industrial windows that form the backdrop for the Rancho’s pagan temple. Needless to say, we had to have a look. One of the most interesting features of this house, and one that’d caught our eye from our earliest days in town, was a stacked stone wall made of chiseled granite. Literally hundreds of these honed stones made up the wall, and I was amazed to see that it was now being dismantled. I didn’t want any of the wall stones for myself, but I had to ask what they were going for. The saleswoman quoted an amazing price for a large number of them; I told her I was really only interested in 3 of the largest ones. She came back with a good price and I agreed to take them. She then mentioned she had a number of unusual specimen stones she was interested in selling, maybe I’d like to see those, too. Unusually shaped, oddly textured and amazingly colorful, I had to have them, too … I won’t describe the effort involved with getting the 3 biggies, and all the specimen stones home, but it was considerable! Unloaded, finally, I had to decide where to put them ….
During the week, the saleswoman called to say she had more unusual stones in a storage unit she’d sell, and we set up a time this morning to see them. Long story short, I bought those too. They were just too interesting to pass up! Back home, these new stones unloaded, I described to Paul my idea: we’d fill the failed fountain/planter with them, arranging them in its basin to showcase their unusual qualities. The fountain, a re-purposed handwashing station from a wartime-era airplane factory, is situated in a raised tier, so the stones would be virtually at eye-level.
Taking the largest of the translucent, quartz-like stones — a chunk-of-ice lookalike — we placed it high up in the center to create a peak. Then, we continued layering more of the pale crystal chunks around it, adding more colorful, textured specimens as we moved outward toward the rim. Finished, I doused the completed arrangement with water, activating the stones’ colors and textures. I love how the top of the new stone mountain begins with cool translucence, and ends with green, red, rust, brown, gray and blue, all in an amazing array of textures. Click twice on the photos for the full effect. The fountain never really worked as a water feature, and its usefulness as a planter was limited, being in full-sun, so I’m loving that it’s finally being put to good use as a way to share these gorgeous stones.