A well constructed rockery is an asset to any
It introduces height and shape in a natural
way providing the ideal site for growing a whole
range of miniature plants in the proper setting.
Positioning a rock area can be difficult. If
it can lean against a wall it will appear natural
with the soil and rocks sloping to ground level.
A free standing, conical mound of rock encrusted
soil will appear contrived and artificial.
Avoid the walls of buildings as dampness will
penetrate through to the inside. A stone built
retaining or boundary wall is ideal. Choose
your materials with care. The soil has to be
weed free .If it is contaminated with perennial
weed roots they will always end up under the
largest rock, safe from attack. The rocks should
be as large as possible. Decide on a local stone.
Cotswold stone will look out of place where
the local stone is basalt.
If alpine plants are to survive, the rockery
must be free draining. Where soil is being mounded
a layer of rubble below the soil will help.
Mix sharp sand into the soil and cover the surface
with coarse grit.
Form a well drained scree bed by spreading crushed
gravel on a slope of soil with rocks growing
out of the surface.
A well constructed rockery should resemble a
mountain scene in miniature. Most of the surface
needs to be rock with the occasional pocket
of soil for planting. Rocks with lines of strata,
such as sandstone should be placed with the
lines lying in the same direction. Tilt each
rock so that its upper surface slopes back allowing
water to run to the rear, off the rock to water
the soil pocket it butts onto.
Set each rock on a well compacted soil base
to prevent it shifting if children clamber about
If the pockets of soil are spaced there will
be room for each plant to grow without crowding
its neighbour. Cracks between rocks may be filled
with soil and planted with small rooted cuttings
of plants such as dianthus (pinks), helianthemum
(rock rose) and thymus (thyme) which require
little by way of moisture or nutrients.
When it comes to buying plants take care not
to buy any which are rampant growing. There
are many which appear to be dwarf but in the
fullness of time prove you wrong by overpowering
everything in their vicinity.
Clumps of dwarf bulbs including tulips,iris,and
crocus provide colour in the winter months.
Beware unsolicited gifts of unnamed plants from
friends. They will almost certainly
be quick spreading, ground cover plants which
have smothered everything in their parh and
are ready to perform in the same uncaring way
for you. Who knows you may even get snow to
cap it all. This line is simply to allow the
ether to gobble up the last few words without