Favorite Things: Stone Herb Markers, and the stones of Harbor Springs

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I don’t think there is a road you can take in Harbor Springs that doesn’t offer some formation or another of stones: retaining walls, yes, but also chimneys and lamp posts, pillar bases and home foundations and water fountains. They are so present that they become, as such presence often does, unseen. They are with us, like an arm or a leg, and we assume their necessary position without a thought.

My sense has always been that the rocks were excavated from the lake and land here, not unlike the creamy stone bedrock of Lebanon that lends uniformity and beauty to most every home and structure in the villages scattered from north to south there.

When I planted a little herb garden in the backyard recently, Dan wondered about the herbs when he saw me getting rid of the plastic markers that came with them from the nursery. How will we know what they are? he asked. I know exactly what they are, that was my first thought, no markers necessary.

Then the about-to-be-married thought, of the sort that I really appreciate these days, rose to the surface. We’re sharing this garden, and he imagines pinching off an herb or two for me while I’m chopping away in the kitchen. A marker would be nice so we end up with basil and not sage for the (ever so wonderful) spring soup we’re making this week that calls for basil, and not sage. Besides, he thought the markers would look nice. And they do.

I started the search for lovely herb markers that wouldn’t be too obtrusive, and wouldn’t take away from the natural beauty of the garden. The stone markers I found got me all excited, for the garden and then for the unfurling of creative thought that they inspired.

The stones made me think about all of the stones around Harbor Springs, and sent me out on a little mission to document some of them. My curiosity about the stones is peaked, and I want to know more about them, really know where they came from and how far back into history their stories reach.

Dan drove me around and around town for the scouting, entering into my whim without a thought, without a question as to why or how long it would take.

It’s a solid foundation those stones make for, he said. He’s showing me a lot about that these days, and I couldn’t agree more.

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  1. What wonderful markers for the herbs. So lasting. I have an herb garden too, but we won’t talk about my markers. Beautiful examples of stones too. Many people have an affinity for rocks—-hence the glory of jewels and picking up stones on the beach in addition to decorating our homes and gardens.

  2. Thank you for sharing your view of the world with us–always a joy!

  3. Maureen, I LOVE those stone markers! I just planted my herbs this past weekend up here in our cottage as well. These would look perfect in our garden. Beautiful photos on your post today – love all that stonework.

  4. Michigan land is full of rocks. Almost every farmer has a pile of rocks somewhere on their property, so naturally they use them in house, chimney and wall construction.

  5. Hello,
    I’m a friend of Julie Crowell. She is the wonderful woman who directed me to your fabulous website! One day we just happen to be talking about how we both love foods from different parts of the world. I explained how I was Italian and my husband was Lebanese and how I absolutely love, love, loved lebanese food! I told her we used to live in Dubai and had the opportunity to eat some of the best Lebanese food anywhere and how I desperately missed it. Her eyes widened and she told me about you!

    Unfortunately, good lebanese food is difficult to find here in Geneva, IL. I do make it occasionally, but like all good things, it’s very time consuming!

    I am writing to inquire about the engraved stone herb garden markers, they are so lovely! Would you happen to know where I may find these?

    Love all of your stories and recipes! Hope to meet you some day here in Geneva, IL.

    warm regards,
    Maria Cherif

    1. Hello Maria! What a great message and how special to be connected to the fabulous Julie Crowell! We go waaaaaaaaaay back! Your Dubai experience sounds wonderful, and good for you for making Lebanese food at home! For the stones, the link is with the line above that says “I found these…”: but also, click here. Thank you for taking time to write, and I please stay in touch! Give my love to Julie!