Nova bonsai garden

Pitoon

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I walked the bonsai pasture again. It’s nice visiting so I can see the sun position for locating potential greenhouse locations. In the end, that also locates the barn because I want it to be close to the greenhouses. Here’s the hill. View attachment 415602
Looking forward in meeting you hopefully this year sometime...... if the world doesn't shut down again because of COVID.
 

markyscott

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A thorough account of the stone walls is in the book “Stone by Stone” by Dr. Robert Thorson of the University of Connecticut. It’s a wonderful book. Their story has its origins during the last major glaciation of North America, meanders through the colonial period, waxes during the Little Ice Age, wains during the Industrial Age as they fell into disrepair, and continues through the current period of restoration.
 

markyscott

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30,000 to 15,000 years ago, during the last glacial maximum, much of New England lay under the massive Laurentide Ice Sheet. At its maximum, it was several kilometers thick. All of New England north of the Pennsylvania turnpike was under permanent ice, but this ice sheet extended as further south from time to time. The ice sheet denuded all the ancient soils, exposed and the eroded the underlying bedrock, and then retreated. A remnant of the Laurentide Ice Sheet remains to this day - the Barnes Ice Cap on Baffin Island. As it retreated, it left behind a giant pile of rubble including the clay and silt which would eventually become the backbone of the colonial economy, and the cobbles and boulders that would eventually become the stone walls all across New England.

Although northern Virginia was never under ice (except or Mount Rogers) it commonly froze, fracturing and breaking apart bedrock and receiving sediment from the glacial outwash.
 
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markyscott

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Here’s the interesting bit. Although the origin of the stone walls is popularly associated with the colonial period, they probably didn’t exist at the time. Contemporary writing describing the landscape and the farming practices at the time makes zero mention of them. They only talk about the rich fine soil and how colonial farmers had to only cut down trees and plant their crops. Instead, most stone walls were built during the revolutionary period between 1775 and 1825. The “why” is fascinating.
 

markyscott

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First, the climate was cold. The revolutionary period coincides with the end of the “Little Ice Age”, an unusually cold time during the Holocene (think Valley Forge). Second, and partly because of the cold, New England was mostly deforested to build houses and barns and to keep them warm. As a result, water penetrated deeply and the heavy freezes and thaws caused ice heaving, pushing the old Laurentide cobbles and boulders upward. Farmers began plowing up rocks in their fields and piling them at the edge of their pastures. Hence came the stone walls. We have close to 2 1/2 miles of them on our property alone.

Now you know why you see them commonly in northern Virginia and points north, but you never see them (except the ones that were recently built) much further south. The effects of the Laurentide ice sheet were smaller, so not as many boulders and cobbles left behind and the effects of the Little Ice Age were less, so not as much ice heave.
 
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rockm

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First, the climate was cold. The revolutionary period coincides with the end of the “Little Ice Age”, an unusually cold period during the Holocene (think Valley Forge). Second, and because of the cold, New England was mostly deforested to build houses and barns and to keep them warm. As a result, water penetrated deeply and the heavy freezes and thaws caused ice heaving, pushing the old Laurentide cobbles and boulders upward. Farmers began plowing up rocks in their fields and piling them at the edge of their pastures. Hence came the stone walls. Now you know why you see them commonly in northern Virginia and points north, but you never see them (except the ones that were recently built) much further south. The effects of the Laurentide ice sheet were smaller, so not as many boulders and cobbles left behind and the effects of the Little Ice Age were less, so not as much ice heave.
Funny, out that way, dry stone walls have become something of a status symbol among the 'horsey set.' Faced with a shortage of dry stone masons, The wealthiest landowners have imported Irish stone masons to repair or build or re-build the fences. Some of those fences are close to perfection, almost mathematically precise in angle and line. Costs tens of thousands of dollars to rebuild a decent section of fence like that in a horse pasture.

This is a very old article on the subject, which shows the decline of dry stone fencing masons. That gap has been filled with experts from abroad, particularly Ireland...
 

markyscott

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Funny, out that way, dry stone walls have become something of a status symbol among the 'horsey set.' Faced with a shortage of dry stone masons, The wealthiest landowners have imported Irish stone masons to repair or build or re-build the fences. Some of those fences are close to perfection, almost mathematically precise in angle and line. Costs tens of thousands of dollars to rebuild a decent section of fence like that in a horse pasture.

This is a very old article on the subject, which shows the decline of dry stone fencing masons. That gap has been filled with experts from abroad, particularly Ireland...
It’s true. During the Industrial Age the walls fell into disrepair. With the advent of industrial agriculture, it took much less land to feed the population and food could be brought from much further away. That’s why our walls cut through the middle of forests. These were old pasture boundaries that no longer “are”.

I understand the status symbol aspect of the current restoration work. But, at the same time, I’m happy to see them restored.
 

rockm

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It’s true. During the Industrial Age the walls fell into disrepair. With the advent of industrial agriculture, it took much less land to feed the population and food could be brought from much further away. That’s why our walls cut through the middle of forests. These were old pasture boundaries that no longer “are”.

I understand the status symbol aspect of the current restoration work. But, at the same time, I’m happy to see them restored.
Oh don't get me wrong. I love those fences and that part of Va. However, because of concentration of wildly wealthy estate owners, and celebrities, there is a weird social structure out that way IN SOME PLACES. It becomes evident in Middleburg in particular.
 

Brad in GR

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Excited to follow your progress, looks like the dream!

Are there specific, different/new tree species you are looking forward to working with given this will be a colder zone than Houston?
 

penumbra

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there is a weird social structure out that way IN SOME PLACES. It becomes evident in Middleburg in particular.
Very true^^^
Also like to add that I have used stone masons over a long period from all over the world when I had a landscape business. I found that many Hispanic people have a natural affinity for this work. In my limited experience I found Guatemalans to be top notch in building with stone.
I really love the miles and miles of stone wall remains out here in the valley and in the peidmont.
 

markyscott

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Excited to follow your progress, looks like the dream!

Are there specific, different/new tree species you are looking forward to working with given this will be a colder zone than Houston?

I’m excited to work with some colder weather species. Looking forward to seeing some fall color and healthier growth on my Japanese maples and pines. I’d like to get a nice white pine to work on. And I’m looking forward to working with a wider variety of native junipers. I’ve already bought a nice RMJ in anticipation. 91CD9AC4-6298-4979-985E-AE55EAE7D19D.jpeg
 

Adair M

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A thorough account of the stone walls is in the book “Stone by Stone” by Dr. Robert Thorson of the University of Connecticut. It’s a wonderful book. Their story has its origins during the last major glaciation of North America, meanders through the colonial period, waxes during the Little Ice Age, wains during the Industrial Age as they fell into disrepair, and continues through the current period of restoration.
I’m excited to work with some colder weather species. Looking forward to seeing some fall color and healthier growth on my Japanese maples and pines. I’d like to get a nice white pine to work on. And I’m looking forward to working with a wider variety of native junipers. I’ve already bought a nice RMJ in anticipation. View attachment 415617
Oh, you’ll LOVE Japanese White Pine! I especially recommend the Kokonoe cultivar.
 

Crawforde

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This thread makes me miss that area. Topography in general. Florida is pretty much flat. A foot of elevation change over a mile is a big deal here.
when I was with the USGS I surveyed many of the wetlands in the Ridge and Valley area.
Beautiful country.
 
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