|Thursday Tips & Techniques: Rock Gardens|
|Written by Heleigh Bostwick Thursday, 05 August 2010|
While rock gardens can be created on any terrain, it's easier to create one on an existing slope where rock outcroppings are already present. Use rocks that are geologically similar in order to create a uniform look to the garden. Don't mix sandstone with schist for example, use one or the other, preferably whichever is "native' to your geologic region. Include several large stones in the one-ton (approximately 3x3x3 feet in size) range, as well as lots of smaller ones. To make it more realistic, at least one-third of the rock should be buried into the ground.
Low growing perennials that form clumps or colonies are the best plants to use in a rock garden. As always don't plant one of each, instead plant several of the same species together. Don't over plant either. Part of the beauty and charm of a rock garden is being able to see the rocks in and around the flowers and foliage. Most of these plants prefer well-drained fertile soil with plenty of organic matter, so you may need to create planting pockets if your existing soil does not have these characteristics.
Think about the maintenance aspects of caring for a rock garden as well. Weeding for example. Because rock gardens contain a lot of stones and few footholds it's best to start off small in size and not build a garden that is bigger than you can easily reach in all directions.
Recommended reading: Rock Gardening: A Guide to Growing Alpines and Other Wildflowers in the American Garden
Garden Stone: Creative Landscaping with Plants and Stone
Rock Garden Plants: A Color Encyclopedia
Photo source: www.wildgingerfarm.com