Over a year ago I posted on my blog a photo I had taken of a Moon Gate at the Denver Botanic Gardens. Some time later I received an email from Gary Kirk of Eugene, Oregon, telling me he had googled moon and star gates and discovered my blog. Since then I have had occasional email conversations with both he and his wife Lee. Last week I received a photo of the Star Gate he had installed in his garden, along with a series of photos of other "rock" installations. I wrote to him and asked for more details about how he became interested in rocks and symbols. I have quoted portions of his response, along with his photos, below:
"I have always been interested in megaliths, stone circles, labyrinths and rocks in general. I started mountain climbing in 1957 and also have done a lot of caving--which means that I've spent a lot of time on top of and inside rock. When I heard there was somebody making rocks, I went out to watch him do it. Later we became friends and he showed me how to do it. My first project was this gateway to the back yard: Old Man Rock and Old Woman Rock."
Gary between Old Man and Old Woman Rocks
"The second photo shows the two rocks on the North Umpqua River that the two fake rocks represent. I was in the first ascent party on both of the real ones."
The real Old Man and Old Woman Rocks
"When I started working the back yard the second project was the Brae Burn Stone Circle (real rocks) which shows both the winter and summer solstice. I had to make a level spot which meant a lot of digging and also a retaining wall on the low side to bring it up. I used little sea shells for a while to mark the solstice spots, but kept finding them in the water basin where the raccoons tried to wash them."
The Brae Burn Stone Circle
"The next project was the "Inuksuk" because I liked the idea--and I had the rocks."
"Next I built the Inca Wall Labyrinth last year. It's called that because the curved wall is carved like Inca Stonework. The famous 12-cornered stone is in the center. The labyrinth is a simple one due to space limitations."
The Inca Wall Labyrinth
"The Yin-Yang entrance circle was built to join the three paths and also because it is a circle. I call the back yard a "Garden of Circles." I did this during February hoping I would be chosen for the Eugene Symphony Guild Garden Tour. Then I found out that I was. Panic! I needed to get going on the Celtic Star gate to complete the grand plan."
Star Gate with labyrinth beyond
"About three years ago Lee and I were on the deck and were wondering what we should do with the back yard. (We had just bought an additional 20 feet back which really opened things up.) She said, 'Why not a Star gate?' It took me all these years to come up with a good design--and a safe way to build it. A circle of cut stones would not support itself, so I came up with the idea that were two big rocks and the 'gate' was built between them. I am pleased with the way it turned out. I finished it about two weeks before the tour and then brought down 7 1/2 yards of dirt in my wheelbarrow to fill in around and make it look logical then threw plants at the empty spaces."
Reverse view through the Star Gate
I am so pleased that Gary allowed me to feature his beautiful photos of his spectacular garden and tell the story of its development on my blog. Thanks Gary!
If any of you have questions for Gary about his wonderful garden, he has given me permission to list his email: firstname.lastname@example.org