The stones symbolize tears, Pat explained.
Plants in the rock garden have come from a variety of sources, but Dick said many come from Green's Feed and Seed, where he's found the best selection. A beautiful shrub sits at the top of the hill, from the garden of Dick's daughter, Sandy, who teaches chemistry at Furman University in Greenville, S.C.
"I'm not sure what it is, and we didn't think it would make it with the different climates, but it's beautiful and thriving," Dick said.
There are sedums, woolly thyme, candytuft and creeping jenny and many other low-growing, sun-loving species.
The Meyerses love water features, and they have a trick to make the fountains look cool and inviting.
"Add this to the water," Pat said, holding a container of copper sulfate. "It turns the water a pretty shade of blue." She cautioned that the additive stains concrete, pointing to one of the fountains in the Meyerses' garden that's a beautiful shade of bluish-green.
Jeff Cox, in Horticulture Magazine, gives the following advice for creating a rock garden:
"You can haul rocks from the wild, so to speak, if you have the property owner's permission. Or you can buy interesting rocks at a landscape supply yard. [Protect] your back. Make sure you wear a tight-fitting brace that supports the lower back and abdominal muscles. Many landscape equipment rental places will have them."
Cox emphasizes a natural look for adding rocks to the garden, insisting that rocks be of the same kind and color, like they are found in nature. He recommends using one large, dominant rock with several smaller ones, and partially burying the rocks, as they would appear in one of nature's outcroppings.
Suggested plants that show off rocks include: low-growing plants like alyssum, bleeding hearts (Dicentra), catmints (Nepeta), stonecrop (Sedum) and hens and chicks (Sempervivum), Corsican mint, lungworts (Pulmonaria).
If you plant shrubs behind the group of rocks, use dark green evergreens like false cypress (Chamaecyparis obtusa'Nana Gracilis') and interesting deciduous shrubs like Harry Lauder's walking stick (Corylus avellana'Contorta'), or the colorful redtwig dogwood (Cornus stolonifera).
Reach Sara Busse at sara.bu...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1249.