Aug 12, 2010

Plant Of The Week

Rock gardens present the gardener with a challenging growing environment more options than just an ugly spot in their landscape. It is a solution to
use on an awkward slope where mowing or other forms of maintenance are difficult to perform. A rock garden is composed of rocks and good-draining soil built to appear as a natural rocky outcrop. Use very large stones to create the backbone of your garden, along with a collection of smaller rocks to form planting areas. In a rock garden, plants are arranged to look natural among the rocks.

Rocks native to your  region will look natural and will be the cheapest and easiest to obtain. Large rocks with irregular shapes look interesting in the rock garden, but keep in mind that you'll need smaller rocks, too. Limestone is a good selection because it is is soft and porous, allowing moisture to seep through, and some determined roots will be able to make their way through the rock. Limestone usually has depressions in it that can be filled with dirt for planting mosses and lichens.

Set the rocks in the lowest, front part of the garden first and work upward. Shovel enough soil around each rock to anchor it firmly. You may need to bury half or more of each rock. After the rocks are in place, let the soil settle around them for a few days, then take a look from a distance to be sure you like the layout before adding plants.

Plants suited for rock gardens

Blue Eyed Grass
Desert Bluebell
Summer Savory
Sweet Alyssum

Balloon Flower
Dwarf Lavender
English Daisy

Rock gardens conserve water but that doesn’t mean that the plants need to be all cactus and succulents. You can create and maintain a landscape using more traditional flowers. The key is careful choice of plants and caring for them more efficiently, especially as it relates to water use.

Miniature roses are becoming popular for use in the rock garden where there is plenty of sun. The miniatures are preferred to dwarfs because every part of the plant is tiny. There is a wide range of color in the blooms available, depending on the variety. The stonecrops or sedums are nearly all sun-lovers. There are many kinds available at most nurseries. They do best in rather poor soil that drains well. Many of them have interesting blooms. Sempervivums make interesting plants because of the coloring in their leaves. They do well in the crevices between the rocks and stand drought well.

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