Plains, Plateaux and Peaks

We are fortunate in the Rockies to have a rich palette of rock garden plants to utilize in our gardens: however, the nature of the steppe climate where most cities are cited in this region presents challenges for rock gardeners. Drought—or more simply put—dry spells can occur most any month, and they can extend for weeks and months on end. The classic high alpine plants of Europe or our Pacific Northwest cannot tolerate the heat and prolonged drought. They are best sited in shady microclimates, and most must not be allowed to dry out. I find watering several times a week is necessary to maintain primroses or androsaces in Denver during the summer months. Gardeners at higher elevations will have to do even more. (First figure is height by width at maturity.)