Saturday, September 25, 2010

Triumphant Hands

Completed Willowbank Raised Garden Wall

Above is what the raised flower garden looked like at 8:00 am on friday morning. I had taken the Thursday morning to do a thorough instruction on dry stone walling techniques to the nine students who were taking the historic restoration course at the prestigious Willowbank School of Restoration Arts on the Niagara Parkway in Queenston Ontario, and then the whole afternoon working with them to dismantle the slumping circular stone retaining wall that was to be our 'repair project' for this year's two-day hands-on workshop. This dry laid terrace garden at the Niagara Horticultural School in the Botanical Gardens, just south of the Butterfly Atrium, had been 'rebuilt' only sixteen years ago by professionals, but was now looking pretty sad.

It was unbearably hot for September here in Ontario, but everybody plugged away on the Friday at it and somehow we managed to complete the new wall by four that afternoon. Sixty linear feet (two feet thick) of carefully laid reclaimed limestone later,( and lots of blisters and aching backs to prove it) we had just enough energy left after rebuilding this raised garden wall and cleaning up the site, to raise our hands in triumph and say, 'hey, look what we did.'

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