Just beginning

The newly planted rock garden is not quite my ideal, but it’ll do just fine. I imagined an outcropping of boulders spilling down a mountainside. The result is a random collection of much smaller granite boulders on the slope below the greenhouse, but still with some stones that could barely be managed by hand. All were set as best as I could to imitate nature, and as I was slightly disappointed I excused that plants would fill to soften the gaps and all would be right. I think it will, and from my perspective perhaps the larger gaps will allow greater appreciation of the brightly flowering plants.

A smaller rock garden was constructed in late summer a year ago in the lower, rear garden, with the new one shoehorned on the slope between the greenhouse and summerhouse. My wife tells me that her path between the two is now bowed rather than a straight line. I’m not overly concerned by the few extra steps, though I might have to address the worn lawn from when I was working in the area. But, if it grows back as clover or anything besides mud I’ll be happy and leave it.

Rocks and the gravel fill were set in place in early winter, with planting delayed until the first weeks of spring. Plants are the result of research and online ordering from specialty nurseries, but as always, with some impulse purchases tossed into the mix. I look forward to seeing better examples to guide the garden’s progress, but two months in, I’m happy. Colors clash, a few plants already bump into one another, and I think the entire mess is splendid chaos. For now.

I expect larger gaps will fill quickly, with smaller spaces filling slowly with more dwarf varieties.

Already, I see that the backfill of gravel drains quickly. With regular spring rainfall most plants are thriving, but the challenge will be when summer heat comes in. All plants were selected as well suited to the quick draining gravel, but I’m curious to watch when our first extended stretch of ninety degree days comes.

It is likely the ice plant will overwhelm the sempervivum if it’s not clipped back regularly. I hoped it would only grow downhill.

I don’t have experience with many of the rock garden plants, and of course the ones I’ve grown in the past have been planted in soil, not gravel. Several that I’ve grown have failed in the past due to inadequate drainage, so if nothing else is accomplished I’ll be pleased if ice plants and lewisias survive.

A few geraniums and heucheras edge the low border where there is a mix of gravel and native soil.
A flat stone is the perfect place to set the young Japanese maple forest container.
Dianthus thrives in the older, smaller rock garden created a few months before the larger one.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Chuck says:

    I’m a big fan of boulders and stone…never have to water or prune and the deer dont eat them…at least not yet

    1. Dave says:

      I now have enough boulders to build a small mountain, so yes, I’ve gone a little overboard. There are plenty of treats for deer and rabbits in the garden, but they have yet to acquire a taste for granite.

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