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Margaret's Blog

 

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What People Don't Know about Rock Gardens (in the Natural World)

 rock-garden-plants

Rock garden plants grow on very high altitudes, which means they need to tolerate being exposed to the elements. On these mountainous landscapes, the ground is generally shaley rock, with very little actual soil. From this natural habitat of 'rock garden' plants, we know that stoney, well-drained soil is best.

The conditions typically seen in this habitat can be a far cry from wet and sodden soil of Cork and Kerry. This is why a lot of plants rot and die in our climate! Rock garden plants are very useful for harsh climates and exposed gardens, and once you invest in a few bags of grit, you're on your way to adding an amazing feature in your garden.

Rockery plants must be cut back regularly to give repeat flowering. Most colour rock plants will flower until late summer when this is done.

Contemporary Rock Gardens

The modern contemporary rock garden is based on the use of clean design lines, with the focus on hard landscaping materials – stones, concrete etc. The planting style is bold but simple, with the use of drifts of one or two plants that repeat throughout the design. Grasses are a very popular choice for this style of design and lighting will sometimes play an integral role in the modern garden, especially low voltage LED lights, used to create subtle and atmospheric lighting effects.

Japanese Rock gardens

Japanese rock gardens are probably the best in the world, at least, based on the principles of rock and gravel gardening, with most of the plants consisting of evergreens such as pines, mosses, Japanese Maples and Japanese Azaleas. The attention to detail is always strikingly obvious in Japanese rock gardens and most are actually very small in terms of area.

Margaret's Tips for a 'Wow!' Rockery

1. Strive to achieve year round colour – most rockery gardens look well in spring but fail to impress in late summer and winter.

2. A raised bed would make a great rock garden

3. Most banks or slopes just scream 'turn me into a rockery!'

4. Poor, stoney soil is your main criteria

5. Use rocks that are local to your area as they will look more natural

6. A gravel area where you can sit is worthwhile in every rock garden

7. Rock gardens can be serene or full of life and vibrant colour, depending on your own taste.

Some great rockery plants:

Arabis

A foolproof choice of plant for any beginner gardener. Beauty as well as simplicity!

Alpine Phlox

Alpine Phlox is an amazing plant, quite happy to sit in gravelly paths and crevices. Phlox absolutely hate damp, sodden soil.

Campanula

Most people will recognise this plant for it's ability to hug rocks and ditches to produce an abundance of flowers all summer.

campalula

Aubretia

The mainstay of any spring garden. By cutting back when flowers get tired, this plant will give wonderful colour until late summer.

Arabis

A foolproof choice of plant for any beginner gardener. Beauty as well as simplicity!

arabis

Lithodora

there are few plants that have such a contrast between bright blue flowers and deep green foliage,

making an unforgetable Display.

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Tel: +353(0)21 7334286

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