Tag Archives | rockery

Making A Rock Garden or Rockery

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.
  • Mulch new plants with pea gravel

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Tips on Growing Thrift – Armeria Maritima

Armeria juniperfolia x maritima

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.

Cultivation Tips

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

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Good Value Rockery Tips

Rawdon Alpine Rockery

Save Money on Your Rockery

  • Less is more so have fewer, quality plants that you maintain to high standards.
  • Scavenge rocks from tips and waste land. Don’t take them from walls or important natural habitats. Each rock will be like treasure trove with many memories attached.
  • Make your rockery small, very small or minute. you can get a rockery in a 12″ plant pot with small rocks squeezed in on their edges.
  • House leeks, Sedums and other succulents throw off new plantlets very easily and they bulk up quickly so you don’t need too many plants.
  • Pinch bits from around your own garden.
  • Beg cuttings or ‘off-sets’ from your family, friends or foes.

See also Rock Gardens in Miniature


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