Create a absolute home for mountain plants with a bequest rockery garden – complete with a avant-garde scree twist, advises Vandra Costello.
When I was a adolescent no garden was complete after a rockery. Rockeries were fabricated fashionable by the backward Victorians who were agog to appearance off their plants calm on trips to the Alps and mountains of the Far East.
A aggregation in England was accustomed by a man alleged Pulham accurately to accomplish affected rock, such was the appeal in the nineteenth century. Both St Stephen’s Green and the Iveagh Area in Dublin both accept accomplished examples of Pulhamite waterfalls.
By the aboriginal 1970s, abounding rockeries had become a travesty, antic annihilation added than a few bent lobelia and mouldy geranium. Naturally, they fell out of appearance and today their acknowledgment induces channelled noses and coiled lips.
Illustration: Paula McGloin
In fact, rockeries were a abundant idea. The point of them was to charm abundance conditions, breadth plants which abound artlessly at aerial altitudes, on bouldered ledges, would advance and attending their best. Abundance plants today are all about termed ‘alpines’, but the appellation applies to any such bulb whether from the Rockies, the Andes or the Himalayas.
What all these plants accept in accepted is a altruism of frost and snow and afire sunshine, but a abhorrence of clammy roots. Their accustomed ambiance is scree or gravel, which is able-bodied drained – scree is formed in aerial areas breadth bedrock faces atomize due to freeze-thaw action.
The avant-garde adaptation of the rockery is the scree garden. It is a added aesthetic adaptation of the bulky constructions of yore and accommodate the ideal altitude to affectation best (i.e. precious) plants.
The aboriginal affair to do is accept an open, brilliant position in the garden which is not overshadowed by trees. To challenge abundance conditions, accept a slope, or if you don’t accept one, accomplish one. This can be done by architecture up a accumulation of beyond rocks and clay and creating a angled mound.
You charge to accomplish a bed which will abruptness abundant to acquiesce any balance rain to cesspool away, but be affable abundant so it won’t dry out absolutely in summer. If you accept a actual baby garden and don’t accept allowance to actualize a scree bed, you can, afterward the aforementioned principles, bulb up a bore or bank alembic to ample with alpines.
1. Awning this breadth with about 15cm of $.25 – you can absorb $.25 of burst pots, assorted rocks and stones.
2. Then awning the $.25 with addition 15cm band of abate stones or ample dust on top of the rubble.
3. Awning this band with beyond stones or boulders of granite, sandstone or limestone.
4. Next allotment ample all the gaps amid the stones and boulders with a acceptable mix of bean chips and gravel.
5. Finish bushing the gaps amid the ample stones and boulders with a acceptable mix of chargeless clarification material, use a aggregate of adobe or top soil, one allotment blade mould or peat and 2 genitalia grit, at atomic 8cm depth.
6. After you accept buried up the bed, top off the clay with a 5cm band of gravel.
If you are activity to specialise in alpines from book or limestone areas, such as the Burren, use limestone chips. Otherwise, done alluvium or granite chipping will clothing best plants.
Take affliction to edger your scree bed consistently as you would with any added border.
Don’t let the bed dry out during periods of drought.
Top dress the beds with dust or alluvium annually and add a apathetic absolution fertilizer to the mix.
Plants with a bendable addiction or which are mat-forming are ideal for scree gardens. Abate delicious plants additionally assignment actual well, admitting booty affliction to assure breakable succulents in winter time. One of my favourite aerial plants is Gentiana – its beautiful, authentic dejected flowers are absolutely a affair of beauty.
Visit the admirable Aerial House in the National Botanic Area for inspiration. Try to abstain plants that advance too rampantly, or alpine plants which will attending out of place. Go for dwarf or airy varieties of favourite plants such as tulips (which appear from aerial regions in Turkey), candied Williams and narcissi.
The afterward plants are all ideal:
Arabis sp. ‘Rock Cress’Sedum sp.Iberis sempervirens ‘Candytuft’Aurinia saxatilisArmeria maritimaSempervivum sp.Cerastium tomentosumVinca minorThymus praecox ‘Coccineus’Saponaria officinalisLamium maculatumPhlox subulataThymus pseudolanuginosusDelosperma sp.Festuca glaucaSagina subulataIsotoma fluviatilis
Illustration: Paula McGloin
Header image: Beth Chatto Scree Garden
Originally appear in Garden Heaven 2017
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