Rock Garden Rules
At the point when things have turned out badly in my planting projects it’s typically on the grounds that I
hurried in without legitimate idea. So prior to beginning my stone nursery, I took to the books.
First port of call was the fantastic Alpine Gardening for Beginners by John Good. John has his own
nursery journal, which you can peruse here. His book sets out the purported “rules” of snow capped
Pick an open site away from overhanging trees and structures
Pick a site with alluring regular foundation
Ensure the dirt is liberated from enduring weeds and tree roots
Give good seepage
You’re attempting to reproduce the states of being up a mountain, over the timberline, where wind
currents openly and high light levels win.
Rule 1: Open Site
The best stone nursery destinations are in the open, unshaded by trees or structures. My nursery is
huge, yet there is no undeniable spot for a stone nursery in a completely open site.
I picked as open a site as could be expected. Around here, the beds get daylight until essentially 3pm,
some much later.
Rule 2: Natural Background
Making the stone nursery fit flawlessly into its environmental factors by giving it a characteristic
foundation is likewise significant.
As should be obvious, my site has a few “unnatural” foundation. The 1920s stone advances are an
appealing element when seen from the deck and house. The block holding divider with railing is less
appealing, yet too costly to even consider supplanting.
My expectation was to plan the region to attract the eye to plant and shake, not the clearly man-made
setting of steps and divider.
Regardless of several downsides, I picked this region for my stone nursery. I’ve generally been
bewildered regarding how best to establish the beds either side of the means for an all year show and
have found the incline hazardous. A stone nursery, I thought, would utilize this site.
Rule 3: without weed
Carrying out rule three required an entire year. I perseveringly eliminated the ground senior that had
crawled into this bed, moved every current plant and took out the stump of a since a long time ago
Then, at that point, with a ton of exertion and cautious burrowing I eliminated the weeds.
Rule 4: Good Drainage
Rock garden plants need great seepage.
My dirt is mud with enormous lumps of rock. The dirt has been very much developed longer than a
century however burrow down 3 or 4 feet and you’ll hit mud. Rationale would contend against building a
rockery here, where dirt could block waste.
Confidence dominated, notwithstanding. Thinking that the slant of my site would help waste, as would
cautious soil readiness, I wanted to burrow overflowing measures of coarseness and sand into the dirt.
Sourcing the Rocks
General exhortation is to source rocks neighborhood to you that will coordinate with your environmental
elements. My region has no undeniable rough outcrops, however I needed to find stones that would tone
well with the current stone dividers and steps. These are grayish limestone.
I visited a stone shipper and talked through the choices. They sold sacks of little quarry stones for rock
garden development yet additionally enormous bits of Purbeck limestone.
This limestone is marginally nectar shaded contrasted with my means, however the vendor guaranteed
me that this would dim with time. I purchased 10 enormous stones and a sack of more modest stones.
The enormous rocks were picked for their size and assortment, yet considering no conspicuous plan.
I felt certain that I could orchestrate them guilefully once on location as long as I had help to move them
around… and as long as my aides were able to move things around over and over until they looked right!
Building the Rock Garden
I organized conveyance from the stone dealer. My scene worker for hire consented to be nearby for the
conveyance with a little fork lift. The forklift moved the stones to my picked site in the back garden.
Setting the Keystones
Utilizing the ties on the fork lift, the workers for hire assisted me with lifting the huge stones into place.
I’d read that setting the huge stones first as “cornerstones” was a decent methodology and this very
sounded good to me.
We began at the lower part of the incline with two huge stones either side of the means to ground the
rockery and give it weight at the base.
Then, I picked which stones went at the top, to draw your eye up the incline. Then, at that point, I utilized
the leftover stones to fill in the plan.
While the stone divider needed to remain set up, I trusted that eliminating a portion of the adapting
stones and covering rockery stones onto the highest point of the divider would incorporate them into the
We hung every one of the bigger stones set up from the forklift. This implied I could without much of a
stretch imagine what they would resemble in situ.
Before they were put, we uncovered soil so they could be to some degree lowered. This aided ground
the general plan and make it look more regular.
We slammed soil into little hiding spots to ensure stones were strong and would not shake.
I was fortunate that the cornerstone configuration looked directly on the first go.
I remained back, checked out the stone nursery from the beginning of the house, from higher up, from
the lower part of the means and from the top. It recently worked.
Setting the Smaller Rocks
I then, at that point, had the pack of more modest stones to play with. I utilized them to attempt to
interface the bigger stones outwardly and to give intriguing little hiding spots to planting.
Having put a large number I remained back and chose I’d gone excessively far and took a couple out
I was content with the equilibrium of stone in my last plan.
The awesome thing about rock gardens is that by putting a stone you can make a north-bound obscure
niche for a shade cherishing plant, make an establishing opening for a following example or make a cleft
for an appealing presentation.
Rock Garden Crevice
This ended up being the hardest piece of the stone nursery to get right.
I wanted a decent completion to the highest point of the rockery so it didn’t shake when moving toward
the highest point of the means from the finish of the nursery.
To accomplish this, I put some old clearing pieces on their finishes to frame a kind of casual divider and
afterward sandwich more on their closures among this and the principal huge stone nursery stone to
shape a hole garden. Then, at that point, I smashed stones and rock in to keep the chunks upstanding.
Setting up the Rock Garden Soil
Now winter hit, an extremely wet one without a doubt. My dirt soil got heavier and heavier and I knew soil
readiness was unimaginable, not to mention planting. I stood by calmly until spring.
Toward the beginning of March a break in the climate imply that the dirt was gradually drying out. I
burrowed over the entire region, including 20 packs of sharp coarseness and 15 of sharp sand as I went.
The dirt was still claggy at the point however over the long run began drying out and could be raked to a
Establishing the Rock Garden
I’ve been gathering mountains for two or three years for this rockery. I additionally developed some from
the 2018 Alpine Garden Society Seed Exchange.
These, along with bantam conifers from my nearby nursery community and mail-request buys from high
nurseries during the Covid-19 lockdown have been planted in my new rockery.
In the wake of planting, I covered the entire region with coarseness that conditioned well with the shade
of the stones.
My next journal will highlight a portion of the plants and establishing pockets for the plan, however the
following are a couple of photos of my young plants.
Beginning to end, it required right around two years to construct my stone nursery.
As Reginald Farrer, who was the lord of high planting toward the beginning of the twentieth Century,
says in his extensive book The English Rock Garden:
“No more exhortation can be given on plan. Each site directs its own, and every proprietor’s taste should
My new stone nursery is an element of me, my nursery, and my own stylish taste.