Life in the Rocks

Years ago, in the “pre-digital” days of photography, I saw something that caught my eye. I took a photo of what I saw, but right now that image is so carefully stored away somewhere that I can’t find it.

What did I see? At the base of the foundation of the Chapoquoit Grille in West Falmouth, Massachusetts, I saw a single grape hyacinth. What’s so interesting about that? Well, what was interesting was that there was no visible dirt for this plant to grow in. The asphalt paving material of the parking lot came right up to the cement blocks of the building foundation. The crack from which this flower was growing was not even a quarter of an inch wide.

One of these days I’ll find that photo, scan it or take a picture of it, and add it to this post.

In the meantime, here are some images of plants managing to occupy marginal environments.


Sedum. From a retaining wall on School Street, Woods Hole, Massachusetts.


Top of the School Street, Woods Hole, retaining wall. The stone on the left, the pink granite, may be found throughout this part of the Cape. It was left here by the last glaciation. This pink granite is a beautiful stone. The pink granite that surrounds the Eternal Flame at the grave of John F. Kennedy is of this same granite. The stone that made that surround came not too far from where this photograph was taken.


Another retaining wall inhabitant. Many people know this plant as “sour grass”, and nibble on it, for its acid, lemony taste. The leaves, if cut fine and sprinkled on top of potato soup, are a really nice touch.


These bits of clinging life may also be found in Woods Hole, in a stone wall in front of the Episcopal Church meeting hall.

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