Made up of plants and minerals, the rock garden is a real shelter for plants such as bellflowers, wild thyme, houseleeks, daffodils… With a size ranging from 4 to 20 inches, most ground cover plants multiply each year and provide gardens with a nice decorative setting. While the creation of a garden on rocky soil is difficult and exhausting, the results are more than satisfactory.

If you are interested by creating a rock garden, you must start on a 48yd² area that can be expanded as you progress.

How to create a rock garden?

To create a rock garden, choose or create a slope that you will perfectly clear in order to make it fertile. Then select rocks with texture and brightness that suit your setting. Bury each rock in the ground, to 3/4 of their size; following descending order of their shape. Space them out enough for a mixture of sand and gravel to be placed in between the rocks. These empty spaces will be used for your plants. These are usually planted in clusters. You can start by laying them on the ground before planting. It is a strategy to ensure the setting’s harmony. Then, water your garden carefully. Once your plants start to strengthen with solid roots, consider integrating small-sized shrubs in your garden, such as Japanese maples, dwarf pines, chamaecyparis… The period between March and June is ideal for a rock garden and, if you wish, you may expand it in the month of October.

Maintenance and advice

Once created, a rock garden should be cleaned and watered regularly. To avoid a setting from becoming too dense, you must keep the plants at minimal height. Once they go beyond 20 to 23 inches, pruning them becomes fundamental. Use anti slug pellets to protect your plants from dangerous molluscs (slugs). To minimize water runoff, install sturdy drains at the slope’s bottom or set up the rocks in staggered rows. If your rockery declines, you can redo it by bringing it new plants. Bulbs such as hyacinths, Grecian windflower and Crocus can be helpful at this time. Successfully creating a rock garden requires the acquisition of a number of stones belonging to the same species and native to the same region as the one where you are located. Similar to a hill, the selected plot must be cleared two weeks prior to planting. In addition to eryngo, gentian, Alpine aster or even phlox, all of which are almost mandatory in a rock garden, some other plants are recommended as well. This is the case of soapwort, a plant with small leaves and thick flowers that brightens the rockery by its vivid pink colour. Grown on any type of soil, Aubrieta may be planted in the fall to produce beautiful spring flowers that will give fragrance to your garden. By sowing Dianthus alpinus, your rockery will have a scent of pink flowering plants. With low water requirements, potentilla produces a wonderful pink-coloured flowering to brighten up your rock garden. Samples of its various species can be acquired in large garden stores, either in transparent bags or in boxes on which are indicated the plant’s specificities and a set of instructions.

Creating rockery in a container

Rockery in a container provides a beautiful decor for decks, stairs and sometimes around balconies. Its accomplishment requires the use of a large and sturdy container (pots, troughs, etc..). For freshness, put clay in your container, then add a mixture that has equal parts of gravel, earth and potting soil. Then, set up the plants and spray them with water. In winter, preserve your plants by covering them with a drape (lightweight or transparent fabric) and in summer, if the heat is threatening, water your rockery regularly.

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Published in Specific by Alexander on 06 Jul 2011