A completely special topic related to the relief of the site is no less than its floral design - rock garden (rockery). We assign a relatively large place to its description, since rockeries - “rock gardens”, decorative “slides” - are becoming more and more popular among amateur gardeners. They are compositions of plants with stones, a kind of artificially created miniature fragment of a mountain landscape.
Spectacular rocky garden can be arranged and reinforcing the slope of the ravine with stones, and such compositions from plants and stone are especially successful in areas that have a characteristic relief: there they look natural.
The tradition and fashion for the device of rockeries comes from the East.
Rock Gardens in Japan have a deep meaning, sanctified by millennia-old traditions and national symbols. They evoke complex associations, either with the sea washing the rocky shores, or with the white foam of clouds above which the peaks of the mountains rise, or, quite unexpectedly, with the family of tigers crossing the river. The Japanese sees each stone as an independent sculpture, the philosophical content of the garden as a whole depends on the size and shape of which.
A tiny garden at a Japanese house (sometimes its area is only 100-150 m2) is designed not so much for movement on it, but for contemplation at the eye level of a person sitting on the veranda. That is why, admiring the centuries-old culture of the Japanese garden, we can not afford to copy verbatim, literally, techniques for placing and arranging stones. Such imitation can lead to the education of not the best taste, although to follow the basic compositional principles is certainly useful. For example, the technique of creating a “dry riverbed” of a stream in a lowered section of the garden or in a place where flood waters are usually collected is interesting and can be applied in a small garden. Studying Japanese gardens, we can learn to choose stones of beautiful shape, arrange them into groups, successfully combining with sand and plants.
The roller coaster begins with determining the location for it. It is advisable to have a pond next to it. Good lighting is also important, so you should not place the slide in the shade of a tall tree, where, moreover, the composition will lose its scale and become “toy”. The most natural, as already mentioned, is a composition with stones in the case when the site has a relief, however, more often the foundation for the slide is made bulk.
© Haxxah and KraZug
It is best to use large boulders, but their delivery to the site and rearrangement is not for everyone. Try turning medium-sized stones into a large block, picking up and putting together suitable fragments. In this case, the gaps between them can be filled with earth and planted with plants. Imitation of solid stone can also be obtained with the help of small fragments recessed into concrete. The best rocks for rockeries are hard rocks: granite, limestone, sandstone. They should be different in size, but large enough. Small, and especially identical, stones in groups are not expressive enough. However, they can be used to pave the path leading to the slide, for drainage. If you still could not find the stones relatively uniform in shape, you can group the slides flat on one slope, rounded (like boulders) on the other. To care for plants, you must provide a convenient approach to them - best in the form of steps made of limestone.
Having marked the outline of the future composition, remove the upper fertile soil layer and fold it aside. Remove weeds carefully. If necessary, lay out the retaining wall using previously hoisted stones. After this, drain. To do this, dig a hole in the ground and fill it with gravel, construction debris, rubble, coarse sand to a depth of 20 cm. The artificial relief of the slide is made from soil left over from building a house or a reservoir, adding sand and gravel to it. Every 20-25 cm, bulk soil is compacted with a tamper.
Stones should be placed so that no more than 1/3 of the volume of the stone and in groups remains on the surface, avoiding symmetry. At the same time, care must be taken to keep small “pockets” between the stones for planting. Plant soil is poured into them with a layer of at least 20 cm.
Better when the size of the stones decreases from the base to the top of the bulk hill. Below you need to place the largest stones. Remember, the slide should look beautiful before planting, during the construction process, so be critical of your work, if necessary, change the combination of stones, looking at the hill from different points.
One of the slopes of the hill is sometimes made in the form of a “rock,” a sheer section convenient for placing ampelous plants. As a basis for it, you can take an asbestos-cement pipe or a metal tank, decorating its walls with chipped stone. You can combine these chips with each other and with the base with a mixture of clay and mullein. The pipe is filled with earth and some ampel plant is planted in it, which quickly grows, forming long, falling down lashes (for example, Indian strawberries).
After completing the construction of the slide, carefully tamp the plant soil and spill the ground with water. If it turns out that the soil between the stones is washed with water, the stones should be shifted. The bulk soil should settle, so it is better to plant the plants a few days after the slide, and very well after the rain has passed. Remember that in rokarya stones should lie firmly, not too protruding above the ground, as if growing out of it. It is unpleasant when they are placed with the sharp side up. Larger and heavier stones should be below. A few large stones are better than many small ones.
Do not forget about the orientation of the slide. The main slope is preferable to orient to the east or northeast, although the corresponding plants can be selected for a different orientation.. For planting, do not use land with a high content of organic substances - humus, compost. Plants will start to grow too intensely and lose their attractiveness. The earth needs to be renewed in two to three years, sprinkling a garden mixture in between plants.
Before planting, draw up a detailed plan - a diagram of their location on the hill, and mark the places of planting with labels with the names of crops. Initially, shrubs and large perennials are planted: juniper, yew, mountain pine, peonies. These fairly tall plants should be few. Placed on top of a hill, they visually reduce its size. The distances between plants are determined depending on their size. Low plants are planted at a distance of 5-15 cm from each other, higher ones are placed after 15-25 cm.
The best time for planting plants blooming in spring, late August - early September. Around planted plants, the earth is compacted and watered. The first time after planting, the main thing in leaving is watering. In hot weather, plants shade. After heavy rains, the soil is loosened.
Your little rockery does not have to be a collection of plants - the main thing is that it remains beautiful and blooming from early spring to late autumn. From the neighborhood with a gray solid stone, plants with bright flowers - poppies, tulips, benefit. If painted stone is used, then next to it is better to plant sod of creeping plants and white flowers. Bulbous plants (crocuses, tulips, scylls) are best placed in containers and dug up after flowering until autumn, replacing them with summers. The same should be done with perennials that give abundant rhizome shoots (rotted variegated, physostegia, gingerbread, etc.). Many pilots are good on the hill: alissum, lobelia, marigolds, asters, verbena, purslane, although most lovers prefer perennials.
Hygrophilous plants can grow well in a rocky garden - in the recesses between the stones, the soil retains moisture better than on the open surface and on the “shores” of miniature water.
All plants used in rock compositions are thermophilic, some require special conditions for growing. For example, a snowdrop grows under a canopy of a bush and loves loose humus soil; onions require rich calcareous land and an open sunny place, etc.
If there is a lot of shade in the garden and it is difficult to choose a place for the slide, you need to focus on shade-tolerant perennials. They can also be planted on the northern slopes of the hills.
When planting plants on a hill, alternate perennials with flat inflorescences (chamomiles, doronicum, asters), with flowers having vertical and pyramidal inflorescences. Higher plants are planted at the base of the hill in small groups (3-5 copies); low, creeping need to be planted higher and large coats.
© Simon & Chloe
A few tips for caring for the slide. Regularly feed the plants with a slightly moist mixture of rotted compost with peat. Weep thoroughly. It’s better to water the hill not with a hose, but with a watering can. To exclude self-seeding, you need to remove the fruits on time.
- N.P. Titova. Your garden. The advice of a landscape architect.