Rock Garden – Background
The classic rock garden is a creation that rocketed to popularity during the Victorian era. Also known as a rockery or an alpine garden, the basic principle behind a rock garden is to recreate the appearance of a naturally-occurring mountainous or hilly environment. This is used by skillfully combining rocks with small shrubs and flowers native to this type of area.
There are several different tactics that one can use when constructing a rock garden, which will be elaborated upon throughout this guide. The most common varieties include forming a pile of large to medium rocks that have soil packed in the cracks and crevices, in which the intended plants will be grown, and creating what resembles a natural outcropping of bedrock much like you’d find in the wilderness.
Rock Garden – Benefits
Aside from the unique and attractive appearance of growing a rock garden, there are several key benefits that can bake this extremely appealing to a prospective gardener. The first major benefit is that rock gardens work well in dry or drought-stricken environments. If you are finding that a lack of rain or moisture prohibits the growth of a traditional flower garden, you may find a rock garden to be a viable alternative.
The vast majority of plants used in one are naturally hardy and drought-resistant, which is an evolutionary reaction to growing in hostile environments. This means that they will thrive in your rock garden under these conditions where other plants would struggle or die.
Another major benefit is the convenience factor. Most of these plants require very little maintenance, including watering, pruning and fertilizing. This makes a rock garden a sort of fire-and-forget landscaping technique and is perfect for a busy gardener.
Rock Garden – Traditional Styles
As mentioned above, there are two primary (and many alternative) styles for use when constructing a rock garden. Each style has its own techniques and appeal, but each are beautiful once finished and capable of lending themselves to a yard in such a way that you will be proud of having produced something so easy to love.
· The Pile. Constructing the pile requires that you arrange rocks in such a way as to form a small hill filled with cracks and crevices. These cracks are filled with soil into which you plant whichever flowers and shrubs you have planned to include. These plants will send their roots deep into the garden, helping to hold it together.
When building the garden, you may wish to use shrubs and flowers small enough that they allow the rocks to be prominently visible to an onlooker. This also helps prevent root crowding in an already-tight area. You can build the pile using either large or small rocks, depending upon size and taste.
· The outcropping. This second popular style involves arranging stones so that they resemble the side of a rocky slope or hill. The rocks are aligned to form a bedding plane, into which the plants are then placed. This was the most commonly-used design in the Victorian Era, and is still in wide use today on campus grounds and in business landscaping.
The strategy to use here is to place conveniently-located shrubs and flowers that conceal the gaps between the rocks, making it appear to be a continuous geological feature.
· Alternatives. A popular rock garden alternative for use in less-dry areas, or as an inclusion to a traditional flower garden to enhance its appearance is to simply acquire small stones or rocks to line the soil in creative and random patterns. Colorful and interesting rocks are most often used for this, so that they can effectively enhance the colors of the plants in your garden.
You can find many rock garden supplies at your local garden center, including the correct varieties of flower and shrub, gravel and other stone-based ground cover, and the rocks themselves. It may be necessary to arrange for delivery for larger and bulkier items, as some large rocks can weigh in excess of several thousand pounds!
If you are looking for a special or unique type of rock that you can’t find locally, you may wish to check with online landscaping stores. You can often shop on their websites as though you were at their yard, making it an easy and convenient tool for constructing a rock garden.
As you can see, this is a fresh and entertaining gardening alternative that can prove invaluable in dry or naturally-rocky areas. If you’re pressed for ideas due to geographical or geological conditions, this might just be the answer you are seeking. By creating such a rock garden, you are effectively producing scenery that you and your family will be able to enjoy spending time in, which is an inarguable appeal.
Copyright (c) 2008 Brant Florist
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