Digging and Burying

Kim at A Study in Contrast posted a few days ago about what she found buried in her garden while digging post holes. I've also posted in the past about what an adventure it can be to dig a really big hole and find something you didn't expect. What treasures are down there just waiting to be dug up?

Here in my garden, I haven't found too much buried around the place... some interesting rocks, one fossil, one oddly shaped rock that looks sorta, kinda like a bird. At least, I think it looks like a bird. I don't even know for sure if it is a rock or a lump of concrete. It's pictured above for you to decide.

I found it where there was once a huge old sycamore tree. I know there was an old sycamore there because it was there when I bought the lot to build on. However, after studying the tree a bit and consulting an arborist on the general health of it, I made the decision that the tree should be cut down before the house was built. Otherwise, it would have been right by the corner of the house, ready to fall at any moment.

It took a tree cutting crew three days to cut down that old sycamore and haul off the wood. Day 1 they cut down the tree. Day 2 they cut up all the wood from the tree. Day 3 they hauled off the wood, which they said would not be good for anything but rotting. Once it was on the ground, I determined that the old sycamore tree had a diameter of about six feet and was nearly 90 feet tall and completely hollow inside, as most are. It must have been old, perhaps old enough to offer shade to Indians or early pioneers? Who knows?

Sometimes I think about that sycamore tree and wonder if it was the right thing to do to have it removed. It was a big old tree and if it had fallen down on its own, it would have take out most of the house. Anyway, that's quite a digression to tell you that about where it was that I dug up the "bird rock" as I call it.

And though digging in the garden and finding interesting rocks or old artifacts is fun, do you know what can be even more fun?

Deliberately burying something in the garden for someone else to find later, years later, once you are long gone.

When I dug post holes for my grape arbor, I decided to bury in one of the holes a little plastic box that contained a few trinkets and a brief note. I don't remember what was on the note, probably "Carol buried this on March 23, 2003". (Keep a garden journal so you don't have to try to remember when you did something in the garden. I just looked that up so I know that is when I set that post and buried that box.)

Someday, someone is going to decide to get rid of the grape arbor, pull out that post, see that box, and be all excited and wonder about the gardener who first owned the house. I wish I could be there when they open that box up!

Has anyone else ever buried something in their garden for future gardeners to someday find? Or is that the absolute ultimate in gardening geekiness?


  1. Now that's a cool idea, burying something for a future gardener to find! As much as I love finding things, I can't believe I haven't thought of it. Although when we do projects around the house that exposes wood normally hidden, I usually write a little note with the date and my name or something.

  2. What a FABULOUS idea, Carol! I can't believe I hadn't thought of that! I am going to do it and when I do, you can be sure I'll post about it.

    You plant seeds in my mind all the time. I like that in a person. ;-)

  3. We've been so annoyed by all the things left behind in our garden by previous generations that it has never crossed our minds to bury anything! (Check out my current post.) However, if we ever move from here, I'll definitely give the new occupants a detailed garden orientation before we leave.

  4. This is a famous story in our family. My dad was out back (in their home in Las Vegas), digging post holes or some such. He came in with what looked like a plastic bag and said with disgust, "Looks like the people that lived here before buried a bunch of garbage out back."

    My Mom jumped up in alarm. "Be careful with that!"

    Turns out my mom had buried bottles and put in little souvenirs like shiny pennies, newspaper clippings, and such. Then, because she was worried that someone digging might break the bottles, she had wrapped them in layers of plastic bread bags. My dad had dug up her treasure trove about 100 years too soon.

    People out west (at least in the desert states) often collect old glass bottles and insulators. My mother just wanted to make some future collector happy.

  5. Oh!! That is a great idea!! I will have to do that sometime.

    Here are two things for your garden geekiness list.

    1.) You might be a garden geek if you saves every eggshell and crushes it to put around tomatoes as a preventive for blossom end rot and to deter slugs. Bonus points if the realization that you don't have enough eggshells causes you to look for recipes using lots of eggs.

    2.) You might be a garden geek if you take walks in the rain to collect worms to put in your garden. Bonus points if your children talk obsessively about worms and know that Mom only accepts living, healthy worms.

  6. Looks like a bunny carcass to me ;)

  7. Burying a time capsule is a fabulous idea! I'll have to think about what to put in mine. Thanks!

  8. You always come up with the best ideas! I am going to have to think about where to bury something and to make it something worth finding! Perhaps I will bury something will all those bulbs that I now have to plant! They arrived yesterday.

  9. Not geeky at all. I like that idea. I'd spend a lot of time thinking about what I'd bury...

    Your artifact looks like a bird. Did you keep it?

    Back in Maryland we needed a footer dug for a patio. Our house was built on a dairy farm and we found about 10 glass milk bottles from the 1930s. Very cool! We still have them.

  10. I'm afraid the only things that will be found in our gardens are the bones of many deceased pets. I wonder what they'll think when they dig up the bones of the iguana Phoebe, who died of old age.

  11. David in Greensboro... I also write on the studs of walls before the drywall is put on. It's fun to think that after I'm gone, someone might find it and wonder.

    Kylee... Happy to plant the seed, I look forward to seeing your post about your time capsule.

    Heather... I looked at your post. That is a lot of junk that you've found.

    M Sinclair Stevens (Texas)... I like your mom's way of thinking. How funny!

    Me... those are two good ones to add to the gardening geek list. Where do we all come up with these? Oh, wait, I remember... because WE are all doing these things!

    Matthew... I wish, but unfortunately it isn't.

    OldRoses... Thanks, and let us know what you think of to put in a gardener's time capsule. I'm going to post about it more tonight.

    Layanee... Bulbs are arriving here, too, so I'll soon be planting (and drilling) several holes that might be good for another time capsule.

    Mary... Thanks, I thought it looked like a bird, too. Yes, I kept it. The picture on the post was taken right before I posted.

    Eleanor... Go check with Sister with the Homestead and you'll find she's dug up a few other artifacts, like some marbles. I wondered where my marbles went!

    Thanks all for the nice comments and for not telling me I am nuts to bury things in the garden for future gardeners.

    Carol at May Dreams Gardens

  12. I think that's a fabulous idea, Carol, to bury some sort of 'treasure' to be found who knows when. In one part of my garden, now covered in spreading rugosa roses and hostas, there's a not-so-happy burial ground, of some of the cat children we've loved and lost. By putting spreading rugosas over them I figured they'd be left undisturbed for a long time, and each grave also has a large rock on top of it. I expect to be added to the garden--in ash form--one day, but hopefully long, long time from now. How geeky is that? Or is it just macabre?

  13. Carol, I was going to sort of say what Matthew said... not necessarily in carcass form, but it definitely looks more "rabbit" than "bird" to me! (But I like that he thinks it's a carcass, given your rabbit thing. lol.)

    This is way cool. Can you share with us a few of the trinkets you included? I promise, none of us will spill the beans to whomever might live in your house in 100 years and dig it up! *grin*

  14. Jodi... A bit macabre, perhaps. I think most gardeners with pets do end up with a part of the garden set aside as a cemetery for them.

    Blackswamp_Girl... You really think my rock looks like a rabbit? I thought that little beak part made it more like a bird. As for the trinkets? Well, I didn't write down what I included so I think it was probably a few pennies and maybe one of those plastic religious medals that sometimes come in the mail with appeals to give to some charity or another. I'm holding you to your promise not to tell future gardeners who might live here!

    Carol at May Dreams Gardens

  15. Wow! I don't know what I'd do. As much as I'd want to open this up to research having people on the farm daily for years would drive me nuts. But still, how interesting would this be... Very cool! This is so much more interesting than a vole.


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