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

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Sellars
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Joined: 2009-12-29

Trond:

I struggled for several years with lots of failures before hitting on the solution.  I now don't bother at all with the natural soil in the garden.  It's heavy clay anyway.  The rock garden is built on top of the clay using mostly sand with a wide gradation, from fine particles to coarse angular pieces up to about 6 mm. Sometimes I mix in a bit of peat-based growing medium (not more than about 10-20 % of the total) but for high alpines,  sand works just fine. The sand I use now is made of leftovers from crushed rock and natural sand.  I believe the key is the wide gradation which gives good drainage but also firmness around the roots plus the crushed rock fines provide mineral nutrients.  I think washed "builders" sand is just too loose.  

I wrote an article on this in the AGC BC Bulletin, page 9.

http://www.agc-bc.ca/bulletin/AGCofBC-winter2008.pdf

I also use removable rain shelters for some areas in the winter.  They help but generally they are not essential.

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

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

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?

Anne:

I was just admiring the pictures of your garden on the SRGC forum taken by Cliff Booker.  What an amazing garden.  I love the spare, elegant look you have achieved.  You don't need rhodos when you have natural rock outcrops, exquisite light and perfect wind conditions for dryland alpines and cushion plants.

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 wrote:

Trond:

I struggled for several years with lots of failures before hitting on the solution.  I now don't bother at all with the natural soil in the garden.  It's heavy clay anyway.  The rock garden is built on top of the clay using mostly sand with a wide gradation, from fine particles to coarse angular pieces up to about 6 mm. Sometimes I mix in a bit of peat-based growing medium (not more than about 10-20 % of the total) but for high alpines,  sand works just fine. The sand I use now is made of leftovers from crushed rock and natural sand.  I believe the key is the wide gradation which gives good drainage but also firmness around the roots plus the crushed rock fines provide mineral nutrients.  I think washed "builders" sand is just too loose.  

I wrote an article on this in the AGC BC Bulletin, page 9.

http://www.agc-bc.ca/bulletin/AGCofBC-winter2008.pdf

I also use removable rain shelters for some areas in the winter.  They help but generally they are not essential.

Thanks, David. I use lots of sand and gravel too. The natural soil at my place is black and brown acidic humusy soil in a thin layer on bedrock. Wish I had more space to build a new rock garden!

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

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