Two Presentations: Sourcing Stone for Dry Stone Constructions

Two presentations in three days is living in the fast lane for me, especially when one is at a giant casino. In the fundraiser for the Latchis Theatre I joined Helen O'donnell, Julie Moir Messervy and Gordon Hayward in presenting a day-long seminar. We were warmly received by seventy gardening enthusiasts. The event brought in over $7,000 for lighting upgrades to the historic theatre murals.

At the 50th annual meeting of the New Jersey chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects I was perpetually disoriented by the cavernous spaces and maze-like hallways of Donald Trump’s Taj Mahal Casino in Atlantic City. The saving grace of being around smoky, slot machine-filled dens was meeting a host of really nice NJASLA participants and exhibitors. Two hundred and fifty people attended my slide talk.

The subject of both talks focused on three questions: What makes sturdy dry stone constructions? Where does stone come from? Where do designs come from? In the second question, I pressed the point of seeking out alternatives to what has become the most common go-to place for stone procurement: The Home and Garden Center. I encouraged audience members to investigate six potential local resources: reclaim and reuse, quarry grout, farm dumps, gravel pits, scarified ground and loose bedrock. I suggested that by hunting for the treasures that may be laying just out of sight on the fringes of mainstream retail commerce they can reduce global environmental impact, construct works that are naturally compatible with their surroundings and keep their dollars circulating in the local economy.

Many thanks to the hard working, volunteer teams at both venues that made the events a success and a pleasure for all.