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The stone arch at the San Francisco Flower Show
Informal dry wall




Speaker Program

JANUARY 12, 2011


Mariposa Gardening & Design, Berkeley, California


Mallorcan Masonry: Dry Stacked Stone Walls for Beauty and Habitats


The use of plants in a landscape can make for a good design, but combining plants with other elements can make a garden truly special.

Stones, whether as boulders, paving, or in walls, can bring the beauty of nature into our spaces. Andrea showed us how the use of stonework can add color, beauty, and function to just about any garden space.




Andrea Hurd has been designing gardens since 1990. Over the years her love for the natural world has influenced the way she designs.

  With an eye toward creating naturally peaceful and beautiful gardens, the landscapes she creates often incorporate dry-laid stone walls and patios and provide many ecological benefits to our urban areas..

To see examples of stone work go to Mariposa Gardening & Design

  Commentary on January’s Speaker:Andrea Hurd
  There is a special quality about a person who can take something mundane as a rock and use it to create a thing of long-lasting beauty and function. That person is January’s speaker, Andrea Hurd of Mariposa Gardening and Design, Berkeley. Ms. Hurd’s presentation, “Mallorcan Masonry: Dry Stacked Stone Walls for Beauty and Habitat” aroused our curiosity and interest, not to mention a desire to make travel plans to visit this beautiful island off mainland Spain.
Andrea got her training and appreciation of “dry” walls by attending a stonework symposium held on the island in 2007. This was a “hands-on” workshop – learning by observing and building with others. Our speaker expressed her preference for dry stacked stone walls for the way nooks and crannies result from this type of construction, providing a living habitat for creatures and small plants. Here at home, she incorporates this philosophy and style into her gardens.
The slides Ms. Hurd presented showed us, in varying stages, the thought and care one must undertake to build a strong wall. Borne out of necessity, Mallorcans over centuries have built these incredible walls, some over 20 feet high, to terrace into the hilly, rocky land to eke out a living as farmers. Andrea mentioned that walls of good quality last 200-300 years; those of poorer quality about 50. Eventually, though, all must be rebuilt – not a small undertaking.
Our speaker delved further into some building techniques the Mallorcans use. The native rock is a type of limestone, carefully selected, shaped and fitted in a “honeycomb” pattern, a technique she feels is stronger than the “one over two” method employed in New England. Andrea felt the five-sided shaped stones fit more snugly and resist the natural shifting (including that caused by earthquakes) that regularly occur over time. Whether we decide to undertake building a wall ourselves or hire someone to do it, I felt this excellent lecture gave our audience a greater appreciation for the philosophy and art of constructing this ever-more popular element of garden design. ~Mark McCabe

Western Horticultural Society
P.O. Box 60507,   Palo Alto, CA 94306