Unlikely combos...combining plants in the rock garden...

14 posts / 0 new
Last post
Kelaidis
Kelaidis's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2010-02-03
Unlikely combos...combining plants in the rock garden...

We see lots of stunning closeups and vignettes of single alpine plants: but rock gardens are as full of interesting combinations as any perennial border. Maybe we can explore a few...Although my first posting isn't plants you would ever be likely to see combined anywhere except Denver I suspect. It's like a mini United Nations: Bergeranthus jamesii from Tarkastad, East Cape next to Asperula daphneola from Turkey and Eriogonum ovalifolium from Western America: wouldn't it be nice if humans could learn to live together like that?

Sellars
Sellars's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-29

I wish I could grow Eriogonum ovalifolium with flowers just like in the mountains.  Great picture!

Here's an unlikely combo combining southern and northern hemispheres.  Helichrysum sessiloides and Androsace studiosorum grow quite happily together in our garden but South Africa and Nepal are half a world apart.

David Sellars
From the Wet Coast of British Columbia, Canada

Feature your favourite hikes at:
www.mountainflora.ca
MountainFlora videos:
http://www.youtube.com/user/MountainFlora

Kelaidis
Kelaidis's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2010-02-03

I love these bi-polar...or should I say bi-hemisphaeric pairings! Thanks, David, for rising to the challenge! Here are a few more combos to peruse: I've really been enjoying organizing this year's images. We forget in the August doldrums how magnificent it was back in April, May and June!

The first is on the shady, north side ofr my house: Uvularia grandiflora with that horrendous pest, Corydalis linstowiana ("Du Fu Temple") which I've given up trying to control.  Here at least it looks winsome.

The next two show a bevy of phloxes, Daphne retusa, and a closeup of Matthiola montana and Phlox 'Scarlet Flame' (I think) with a tuft of Oxalis adenophylla leaves that fit right in!

The last is the south face of my main rock garden at height of glory with lots of tufted Mesembs, bright pink Asperula hirtella, Thymus "neicefiii" (Likely not) and Coluteocarpus vesicarius in full seed below the soft pink Aethionema capitatum, one of the many essential Persian candytufts. The irridescent lilac clumps are Iberis taurica (supposedly) in a very compact, perennial race that looks an awful lot like a Thlaspi. Annoying how many of these superb new rock plants from Western Asia are questionably named....

For every minion of the peaks there are a dozen steppe children growing in the dry Continental heart of all hemispheres still unknown to horticulture.

Sellars
Sellars's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-29

I think colour combinations in the rock garden are often a result of serendipity rather than real planning.  Getting plants to grow is the first challenge; flowering is a bonus but somehow, plant combinations always seem to work with alpines.  Here are a few more.

David Sellars
From the Wet Coast of British Columbia, Canada

Feature your favourite hikes at:
www.mountainflora.ca
MountainFlora videos:
http://www.youtube.com/user/MountainFlora

Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27

Wow, stunning combinations!  It's quite mind-boggling to consider the distances that can be spanned in a rock garden bed!
Panayoti and David, your photos are truly inspiring. 
What an absolutely amazing garden you have, David!  :o

Lori
Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Zone 3
-30 C to +30 C (rarely!); elevation ~1130m; annual precipitation ~40 cm

Boland
Boland's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-09-25

I echo Lori...spectacular garden David! (not to slight Panayoti who also has a wonderful garden, albeit, a different slant being xeric  ;))

Todd Boland
St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada
Zone 5b
1800 mm precipitation per year

Anne Spiegel
Title: Member
Joined: 2010-01-26

I'm loving this thread.  Such different gardens with such wonderful combinations.  I plant with color and bloom time in mind but there are so many variables during the growing season my plans often don't turn out as expected.  The best combinations seem to occur accidentally, such as an Epimedium grandiflorum seeding itself next to Dicentra cucullaria.  As the dicentra fades, the new reddish foliage of the epimedium takes over, hiding the yellowing foliage.  This has become a very permanent feature and a charming one for which I take absolutely no credit. 

Another combination is Aquilegia discolor with Lewisia tweedyi, and yet another is Genista depressa with Veronica thymoides ssp pseudocinerea.  Both these were planned and worked but there are far more plans that never worked.

Sellars
Sellars's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-29

Here's a few more combos.  The colour of the blue Meconopsis set against the lurid pink of a famous rhododendron hybrid, Lem's Cameo, is actually quite pleasing.  Nepal meets Seattle, where Halfdan Lem did most of his hybridizing.

David Sellars
From the Wet Coast of British Columbia, Canada

Feature your favourite hikes at:
www.mountainflora.ca
MountainFlora videos:
http://www.youtube.com/user/MountainFlora

Anne Spiegel
Title: Member
Joined: 2010-01-26

David, I look at the pictures of your beautiful garden with rhododendrons forming that gorgeous background and just sigh.  They're impossible in this dry and windy garden.  Do you grow the very dwarf forms too?

Sellars
Sellars's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-29

Anne:

We started our garden from scratch and rhododendrons were our first interest because we needed to fill up space! When we got into rock gardening we found the rhododendrons made a great backdrop.  More serendipity.

We have a few dwarf rhododendrons in the rock garden; R. keleticum, R. forrestii repens for example.  Our favourite is R. campylogynum with its delicate little bells.  It amuses me to grow R. ferrugineum in the rock garden but it does not look as good as it does in the Alps.

David Sellars
From the Wet Coast of British Columbia, Canada

Feature your favourite hikes at:
www.mountainflora.ca
MountainFlora videos:
http://www.youtube.com/user/MountainFlora

Hoy
Hoy's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-15

David, I am jealously looking at your pictures: How can you grow real rock garden gems in a climate as wet as you say? Here plants tend to rot even with excellent drainage.

Trond
Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers  (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!

Pages

Log in or register to post comments