How to make a Rock Garden
In Rock garden or rockery, the rocks and soil are arranged in a specific way to create ideal conditions for the growth of different plants. A rock garden is technically artificial in the sense that is human-made, but a well prepared and well-managed rock garden should become one of the most natural, attractive and exciting features of a garden.
Location of a rock garden
The rock garden should be situated in an open, sunny part of garden & should be away from large trees and nearby hedges. If an undulated land is available, the rock garden should be situated there, if possible. However, a miniature Rock garden should be located near a shade of a wall or a house. On a hilly area, rock garden should be made on south facing slope where it will get maximum sunlight.
Selection of Rocks for rockery
Rocks should be of local origin, porous & have a weathered look. Limestone and hard sandstone is the best choice for rockeries & other garden stonework. Be sure to get stones of varying sizes. Don’t use too many large rocks in a rockery design for a small garden. It is imperative though to use only one type of stone for the single garden.
Placing & bedding the rocks
The rockery is a permanent feature of the backyard, and a rock garden layout should be made after careful planning. Place the stones in slightly slanting position, leaning backwards, so that the rainwater trickles towards the plant’s roots. Bed all the stones firmly, and do not leave any air pockets or loose soil around the rocks. You may like to read about how you can create a peaceful heaven in your garden.
Rock plants do not grow exclusively on rocks, and hence fertile soil is needed for every rock garden. Irregularly shaped pockets created between stones varying in size should be 15-60 cm across. Fill these pockets with soil and compost for optimum plant growth.
Rock garden plants
Cacti & Succulents are the most suitable plants for the rock garden. Some hardy cactus species of Opuntia, Cereus, and Mammillaria can be used. Many xerophytic species of Euphorbia are best rock garden plants. Among succulents, many species of Agave, Aloe, Furcraea, Gasteria, Haworthia, Kalanchoe, Sansevieria, Sedum, Jade, Yucca can be planted in a Rock Garden.
Apart from cacti & succulents, many hardy species of ferns, perennial flowering shrubs like Cuphea, Foliage shrubs like Thuja, herbaceous and bulbous plants like spider lily, and flowering annuals like Salvia can also be planted according to the size of the garden.
Some important rockery tips
- Plant the rockery in the supervision of a grown up and well-established plants
- Avoid dense planting
- Water the Rockery by sprinkling water over the rocks
- Rock plants need replanting every 4 or 5 years as the soil becomes stale or sour
- Ornamental mulchingof coloured sand, pebbles, gravel or woodchips can be done on the ground to prevent the growth of weeds