1885. Kent’s gabions

Kendall suggested to Kent that what his (Kent’s) back garden area needed was gabions. Kent’s back garden area was susceptible to flooding. By putting up gabions along the stretch of creek that ran along the bottom of the section, when it rained heavily the creek wouldn’t drown the garden he had so lovingly tended.

Gabions – in case you don’t know the word, as the writer at first didn’t – are basically a pile of rocks stuck inside a wire cage. They can look quite pretty. Artistic even.

Kent went even further. If he slightly dammed up the creek he might be able to use the water in the heat of summer to irrigate his plants. The dam wouldn’t be big of course. And he would be able to open it so that during a storm the water could flow naturally.

It was a lot of hard work, but Kent, with the help of his friend Kendall, created a flood-proof backyard complete with a little irrigation dam. It not only was practical, it also looked good.

One weekend, when Kent was away attending a gardening convention, it rained heavily. Kendall was on the ball. He went over to Kent’s house and opened the floodgates, just in case things flooded.

By evening the creek was a raging torrent. The gabions held the water at bay. There was no flooding in the garden! But my word! The streamlining of the water flow meant the water shot past at a terrific rate. It couldn’t spread out, so it sped up.

The neighbour’s back garden was completely flooded. The raging waters had simply washed all soil away to the sea or somewhere. There was nothing left but stones and rocks.

Rather quickly, Kent (with the aid of his friend Kendall) removed the gabions and dam and no one was the wiser.

35 thoughts on “1885. Kent’s gabions

  1. badfinger20 (Max)

    It’s an old saying about the neighbor… “you snooze you lose” …good for Kent and Kendall.

    “Gabions”…I’ll have to use that word.

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  2. Yvonne

    Gabions first entered my vocabulary when my Palatial Granny Flat was being planned. My son, whose name coincidentally begins with ‘K’, has spent hours on his knees, ensuring the precise placement of every rock inside the cages. He is downhill from my place, so he can only blame himself when his front lawn floats away.

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    1. Bruce Post author

      I am extremely impressed that you have gabions in your garden, that you have reduced your son onto his knees, and that he has gone downhill.
      Some of these gabions on google are rather picturesque.

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  3. João-Maria

    In Portuguese, we say “gabião”, which isn’t too different, but we have tons of them in Portugal, since all of the country is littoral and the lithology is rather recent, we are hilly and they are used commonly. During big trips south, for the beachings, I used to count the gabions, but at the time I didn’t know what they were called, so, to me, they were rocknets “redes de pedra” like “redes de peixe”, or fishnets. I’m not quite sure if, at some point, I thought people were catching the aggregates like fishermen. It’s possible, since I’m as mad as a box of frogs.

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    1. Bruce Post author

      I didn’t know the word at all until Andrea (Harvesting Hecate) used the word in one of her postings and I had to look it up! Rocknets and fishnets is a far more vivid and imaginative interpretation for them – and there’s probably a very good story hidden there somewhere. Many creative people are as mad as a box of frogs, so I wouldn’t worry about it! I didn’t a quick tour on Google Maps of your sort of area (in as much as I could guess the general area) and I kept getting lost Ha ha!

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        1. Bruce Post author

          Portugal is a country I knew little about till I met you – and I should google-drive around it a bit more as it’s mainly a mystery to me. In New Zealand there are very few “footsteps” of past generations – so I find it hard to find its soul or to dream there.

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  4. chrisnelson61

    Every Spring we (not me personally, but parts of the UK) suffer flooding – much of which is due to us (again not me personally) building on floodplains and contriving to hold back water and thus force its eruption further down stream. Your tale reflects this perfectly: nothing like a bit of selfishness!

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I delight in having my dull life coloured by your intelligent perceptions, your wit, and your vivacity.

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