The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

How to win when you have the irritation of small stones in your borders

The Walrus and The Carpenter

The Walrus and The Carpenter

As you know, most parts of our garden are very stony. Not just bricks but smaller stones too. A few days ago I finally twigged that if I collected the smaller stones as I spread my concentrated manure and bone meal mix, I could actually add them to the gravel in the driveway. This  needs topping up in parts.

It has been seven years since we spread a bit too much gravel on the driveway. It was a nightmare to prepare the ground. Luckily D and Tony did this. I was there to spread the gravel. Even though I was doing a very physical job at the time, I struggled. If Tony Connely hadn’t been there to organise us, I think the gravel would have remained in a pile for months, possibly years. But it was pride that pushed us along. We couldn’t admit defeat.

The driveway was like a beach for  few years. And then John – who used to help in the garden – used our vast and rather swanky gravel rake to move the beachy parts to the thinner areas.

Now it definitely needs a top up. So I will gradually replenish the driveway with new, home-dug buckets of gravel. A bit of a labour of love, I know, but no need to sign up for the gym just yet.

And the best part of all is that I’m delighted to find driveway size stones and toss them into a bucket. The driveway is now a reverse aggregate version of seven maids with seven mops.
“If seven maids with seven mops
Swept it for half a year.
Do you suppose,” the Walrus said,
“That they could get it clear?”
“I doubt it,” said the Carpenter,
And shed a bitter tear.

Extract From The Walrus and The Carpenter by Lewis Carroll
Even if it returns to its beach like consistency again, the stones will always be needed eventually as they bed down with alacrity into the chalky clay soil in the front of the cottage. So I’m pouring them on, bucket by bucket. Self sufficient free exercise with the extra bonus of home foraged gravel.

Now that’s a result!

  Leave a reply


  1. Commendable recycling!

  2. Magic Cochin

    I have garden soil full off stones – the long winter and snow seems to have brought more to the surface!

    Good tip, I’ll be collecting pebbles to replenish the shallow wildlife pond. And also picking up all the bits of broken brick and shards of glass from demolished greenhouses that were in our walled garden many years ago.


  3. We have a plastic honeycomb grid under our gravel in front of the house. This allows free drainage of rainwater, but retains the gravel and makes a firm, stable surface to drive over. It’s brilliant stuff! We had a landscaper install it as part of a garden renovation project, but I am sure you must be able to buy it and lay it yourself. Might be worth considering.

  4. Good for you! Reusing what you have is always the best way to go. I’m all for it!

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