Friday, May 11, 2007

Planting Rocks in my Rock Garden

I decided to do some rearranging of the rock garden this week based on design principles I've been reading about. Besides that, I'd always been dodgy about calling the sloped flower bed a "rock garden", mostly for the lack of rocks. Actually, my real dream would probably require large mechanical equipment and aim for some small recreation of the rock gardens at Kew, so I'll stick to what I can do with my hands and a spade for now.

Principles in rearranging my rock garden:

  • less "currant bun" effect, with rocks looking like they're just sitting ontop the dirt
    rocks should look like icebergs, meaning that nine-tenths of the rock is buried out of sight

  • blasted rock looks more like natural stony outcroppings than rounded fieldstone (which can be better used for Japanese styles)

  • align the rocks so any striations match directions

  • use local rocks (resident-lawnmower-man hauled blasted rock in from a construction site)

  • use similar-type stones, rather than a collection of novelty or multicolored stones
  • plantwise, I removed dead or raggy-looking plants then moved some narcissus into the bed from elsewhere in the yard

Okay, so the picture shows that the little rock garden probably violates half those design rules, but settling of the dirt and planting a few more rock garden plants should help it out. Another gardener gave me some alpine Arabis, Gentiana verna and Gentian septemfida today! Within 2 weeks, the phlox and muscari should be in full bloom and should make the bed look beautiful. Or maybe I'll be out there tomorrow adding more rocks...

Flowers blooming now: Scilla siberica, a hardy bulb that produces these deep blue flowers: Muscari armeniacum "Dark Eyes" (Grape Hyacinth) , which is different from the regular bulk-purchased grape hyacinths in that there are little white rims on the bottoms of each "grape". The planting of this new variety really wasn't worth it in my opinion:
This is how far my single-flowered peony has come this spring. Yeah, I know those of you in warmer climates are probably staking their peonies to prevent their blooms from flopping over...and I don't really want to hear about it! But if you're growing peonies north of my latitude, please do tell.


Gardenista said...

Okay, after checking out another gardener's shipment of delicate alpine plants from Wrightman Alpines Nursery, I had to have the Pulsatilla vulgaris "Dissecta". Check it out:
So much for "we're saving so much money by growing things from seed...".

Kandace Groenewegen said...

Can't wait to see everything in full bloom! Maybe R.L.M. should get you a small backhoe for christmas. Ha!

Cherie said...

I love spring when my Scilla siberica are in bloom. They have taken over the flowerbeds and half the lawn. I want them to spread down the street too. I love the rich blue colour.

Ziggywigs said...

Great blog, really enjoyed reading it...was interested in your thoughts on rock gardens as i've always avoided doing these for fear they end up a currant bun effect. Love your Peony - think i'm on a par with your latitude in Scotland so was at same stage...although boy do they soon take off with a bit of sun and rain! They now have heads on them and it's only taken them 3 weeks to get to that stage.