Visit to Steve and Liz’s house

On 19 September 2003 eleven members of the Geology Group met at Steve and Liz’s house, on a wet and overcast day. We were to be conducted around the house and garden to marvel at the rocks and the gardens on display there

Marvel we did
They have assembled and curated a collection to enchant and ensnare even those with but the slightest interest in botany and petrology. Our group found that the breadth and depth of specimens on display showed a deep fascination with rocks and plants in so many forms, and a serious history of collecting. Steve even sculpts and presented the rocks from a sculptor’s point of view. How hard are they? Do they polish up well? Will they fracture before the work is complete? What is the rock telling him about how the work should progress?
Everything in the garden is suffused with a  light generated from deep within the earth’s crust. Reds, blues, greens, yellows, blacks. If I was an Alien about to return to my home planet and able to ship  a memento of Planet Earth, I’d take this garden

When I said that I would write a report on this visit I’d imagined that there might be one or two (possibly a dozen) objects on which to comment. Well, I was floored. For a sculptor, Steve has a great ability to leave well alone and to let the rocks exert their influence over visitors unaided, in their natural state. Where he has worked the stone, the temptation to handle and explore the pieces was irresistible

I think that the joy of the day was to see, in one place, so many rocks and plants that earned their place by how well they pleased the eye, the hand, even the nose! This was no dry collection but the choice of someone with an appreciation of the  beauty of the stones we walk on and amongst

I’m not even going to pick a favourite (oh, OK … the Green River Fossilized Fish!) but the orbicular diorite came close

Any description I  write seems mean, paltry and inadequate to anyone who has seen the garden. So I’ll say nothing more except thank you Steve and Liz for an extraordinary experience, and I hope to see it next year, under the National Gardens Scheme

John Wilkinson