CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Many serious gardeners joke that they spend the first 10 years getting the rocks out of their gardens and then the next 10 years adding rocks back into the landscape.
Dick Meyers is just that gardener. Meyers and his wife, Pat, live in a secluded dell off Corridor G in Charleston. There are thick woods behind the house and a ravine in the front. Between those two natural elements, Dick has carved out a slice of manicured beauty complete with a pond, waterfall, covered patio and lots of garden statuary.
The problems arose when the natural elements, aka the deer herd, started encroaching on the carefully tended areas.
"They ate everything -- the shrubs, evergreens. They ate it all on this part of the hillside," Dick said, pointing to a steep slope off the driveway area of the property.
So Dick set out to create a rock garden that defies the slope and the critters that live there. He concentrated on the structure, not the plants, to deter the roaming herd.
"Deer have a hard time on the rocks," Dick said. "They will slide and fall when they try to walk on these rocks."
He's created little pockets of soil between rocks of all shapes, sizes and colors. "I place the rocks, and then I move them around. It's trial and error," Dick said.
Each rock has a story, and many of them were gifts. There's a petrified log from an old friend and a piece of quartz from Canada that came from his father's fishing camp. A chunk of limestone that came from Virginia Tech, where Dick's brother teaches, is near a hunk of glass sitting atop another stone, a remnant from the former Libbey-Owens-Ford glass plant in Kanawha City.
In another area, there's a row of rocks taken from a project that Dick worked on before his retirement as an architect.
"Those stones came from the South Central Regional Jail site," said Pat. "We call it our jailhouse rock."
Pat said a trip to Jerusalem was an inspiration for the garden. Flowers are scarce, so, instead, visitors to the aboveground tombs place stones atop the monuments as memorials.