Visit to APEX crevice garden, Arvada, Colorado

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penstemon
Title: Member
Joined: 2010-06-24

A few pictures of the crevice garden.

Bob

extreme western edge of Denver, Colorado; elevation 1705.6 meters, average annual precipitation 30cm; refuses to look at thermometer if it threatens to go below -17C

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

Wow, looks completely fabulous!

 

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

penstemon
Title: Member
Joined: 2010-06-24

It is. When I talked to Kenton, about needing more plants, and what kind, he suggested oncocyclus irises. (He would, naturally.) 

I believe this garden does not have a regular maintenance person, so I think the thing to do would be to plant the irises, which are small, and then pin them into the soil. This prevents the little plants from being washed away by rain, or the irrigation system. A paper clip reshaped in the form of a hook, pushed down in the soil, and pinning the plant that way, keeps them in place for at least the first season. 

Another idea was to sow some seed in situ, and mix in some binder to keep the soil and seeds from being washed away. 

Bob

extreme western edge of Denver, Colorado; elevation 1705.6 meters, average annual precipitation 30cm; refuses to look at thermometer if it threatens to go below -17C

RickR
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-09-21

A binder.....  what would you have in mind for examples?

 

Really nice base work on that garden.  Lots of interest compared to what many think of as a standard crevice garden, where all the rocks are similar widths and set in a rigid pattern.  It does look bare, but it's hard to know if I just can see all the plants because they are so small still.

 

 

Rick Rodich    zone 4a.    Annual precipitation ~24 inches
near Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

I agree with Rick and Lori, the garden and rock work looks fabulous. I have to be honest, I'm not a fan of many up-facing crevice gardens; unnaturally spiky looking affairs that look dangerous if one were to slip and fall and become impaled. Here, the more rounded and weathered rocks and boulders are of different size, some quite wide and bold, adding some true substance and foundation to the design. Even with the different sizes, there is still a cohesive strata direction, very well done. 

I wouldn't worry about the initial bare look, the real trick is not to over-plant, and to not select exuberant spreaders that'll quickly conceal the beautiful rock work.  I've seen photos of some of those spiky up-turned sliver-rock designs, before and after planting, and after a few years most of the rock is concealed, so one wonders what's the point, or in the case of ugly spiky designs, maybe it's a blessing that the rock gets concealed.
surprise

Would love to see what this garden looks like in a couple years from now.

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

Cockcroft
Title: Member
Joined: 2010-01-27

Hi, Rick,

No, it isn't snow.  It is wooly material between the leaves.  The areas where I saw maihuenias were typically hot, dry, and sandy.

Claire Cockcroft
Bellevue, Washington Zone 7-8

Whyer
Title: Guest
Joined: 2009-10-20

Mark McD wrote:

I agree with Rick and Lori, the garden and rock work looks fabulous. I have to be honest, I'm not a fan of many up-facing crevice gardens; unnaturally spiky looking affairs that look dangerous if one were to slip and fall and become impaled. Here, the more rounded and weathered rocks and boulders are of different size, some quite wide and bold, adding some true substance and foundation to the design. Even with the different sizes, there is still a cohesive strata direction, very well done. 

I wouldn't worry about the initial bare look, the real trick is not to over-plant, and to not select exuberant spreaders that'll quickly conceal the beautiful rock work.  I've seen photos of some of those spiky up-turned sliver-rock designs, before and after planting, and after a few years most of the rock is concealed, so one wonders what's the point, or in the case of ugly spiky designs, maybe it's a blessing that the rock gets concealed.

I agree it looks more natural than many/most Crevice Gardens, but I would call it a "Boulder scree" because of this. But what's in a name it will look great in time, plants and labour being available.

Brian

Fermi
Fermi's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2010-03-03

I think this garden looks great - it's not a "traditional" crevice garden but as Brian says it has elements of a boulder field as well.

Having seen the work of the masters of Crevice garden-making in the Czech Republic, I'm a bit dismayed at what some people call Crevice gardens. The crevices should be just that - crevices, narrow spaces between flat rocks with the plant roots forced to travel downwards rather than outwards. The crevice parts of this garden appear to be what I consider to be crevices. Anything more than an inch (2.5cm) wide is, to my mind, not a crevice but simply a very narrow planting bed!

cheers

fermi

Fermi de Sousa,
Central Victoria, Australia
Min: -7C, Max: +40C

penstemon
Title: Member
Joined: 2010-06-24

I felt compelled to lecture the garden's creator on the use of the word "drainage" to describe the natural watering process here. That word always makes me crazy. Rainfall percolates down to the roots; it doesn't "drain away" from the roots. That would kill the plants. 

Seeing this as a gigantic "rain garden" rather than something that "shed excess water" will grow better plants in the long run. I'm pretty sure that all the soil-less mix is removed from container-grown plants before they're planted, to give the roots a chance to grow down. 

A few more pictures. How on earth do you get plants to grow in those tiny crevices? Since I volunteered to help with this, I think seedlings of plants like astragalus, pinned into place with a little binder added (so they're, like, glued there), will work. 

Bob

extreme western edge of Denver, Colorado; elevation 1705.6 meters, average annual precipitation 30cm; refuses to look at thermometer if it threatens to go below -17C

Lee Recca
Lee Recca's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2016-02-03

Hi friends,

I visited the crevice garden again today, and here are a few photos. Have a great weekend! Lee

 

    

 

      

Lee Recca

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