A rock garden is a grand place to display your alpine plants. You can shade them with rocks, provide deep root runs and provide rain cover with perspex roofs
In Alpine conditions plants can shelter behind rocks that give them protection from wind and rain and help with drainage. Try to give your plants similar conditions to there original habitat and they will repay you for your attention to detail.
Tips for Making a Rock Garden
A rock garden should be open and unshaded by over hanging trees
There should be a slope either natural or built up. This allows plants on the North facing slope to receive 25% of the sun (and heat) of those on the South slope so those delicate plants don’t fry.
Study the prevailing wind so you know where most rain will fall and plant the rain shadow area with plants that need to stay dry.
If in doubt about drainage improve it by adding grit. If the soil is clay, a pile of brick rubble 15 inches below the surface will aid drainage no-end.
The soil can be average soil but will not need extra nutrients or fertilizer except for special situations. Pack all crevices tightly with soil to prevent unwanted pests like mice.
Plan your rock positions and lay the grain or style of rock all in the same direction. Do not mix rock types or the harmonious effect can be lost.
Do not plant higgledy piggeldy but select plants that fit into a simple plan. Keep slow growing plants needing similar conditions together. Consider haveing zones in the rockery for different plant requirements.
Armeria maritima has many local names and is also known as Sea Pink, Cliff Clover, Ladies’ Cushions, Heugh (or cliff) daisy, Armeria juniperifolia or Marsh daisy and Sea thrift.
The colour of the 1″ ball shaped flowers varies from white Alba through pink and mauve to dark red.
The clumps of dark green foliage form good mounds useful for contrast of shape in a rock garden. The densely packed grass like leaves are up to 5 inches long.
Thrift is a perennial but if it browns in the center split the plant.
Thrift grows well in dry, sandy soil or low fertility soil.
It is very salt tolerant hence its appearance as a wild flower along the coast.
Take basal cuttings in summer or divide large clumps in Autumn.
They need full sun all day but can tolerate dry, windy conditions.
Thrift flowers in spring through summer. Remove spent flowers to encourage more blooms.
Varieties to consider and Other Names
Thrift is also known as Sea Pink, Armeria Maritima, Sea Pink,
Armeria maritima alba is a white variety
Splendens is the best Pink variety.
Bloodstone is dark red.
Vindictive is light pink and has an AGM from RHS
Laucheana has dark green foliage with bright pink flowers
Rubrifolia ihas dark bronze grass-like foliage turning deep red in winter and a cluster of pink globe shaped flowers