Coming up with Rock Garden Design Ideas:
If you are looking for rock garden ideas that you can use and incorporate into your own designs, you’ve found the right place! Rock gardening is a unique form of gardening that uses a variety of plants from various regions, to create a very naturalistic style using rocks of different shapes and sizes. The number of options you can choose from are near limitless.
Many of the plants best suited for rock gardens originated at high elevations in the mountains, but have long since been naturalized to lower elevations. Some plants will actually require that they are grown around rocks if you want them to thrive and do well, while others simply are aesthetically pleasing when grown around rocks as an accent. While you can certainly find plenty of large scale rock garden ideas, many rock garden design ideas are small, making them ideally suited for growers with limited space available to them.
The Ecology of Rock Garden Design Ideas:
One of the most exciting things about learning and creating new rock garden ideas is getting to know the ecology of the plants that you will ultimately be growing. The more you understand about rock garden plants, the better gardener you will ultimately become. Rock garden plants come from regions all over the world, and their native habitats will vary dramatically depending on their climate, elevation, and from which part of the world they originated in.
Understanding your plants will help you better choose the location and conditions to grow them in. Before you invest the time creating one of your rock garden design ideas, you should always first take the time to research the rock garden plants you would like to put in it. A well planned garden will go a long way and save you a lot of work down the road.
Drainage in Rock Gardens: One of the most important things you can do for your rock garden plants is to give them proper drainage. This is one of the keys to a successful rock garden. If you think about it, most of the plants that you would plant in a garden such as this are used to growing on mountain slopes, or coarse rocky soil that has low fertility and tends to stay very dry. So it shouldn’t come as any surprise that you would need to recreate this ecosystem in your own rock garden ideas.
Many companies will start off with a sandy cactus mix, or other similar potting soil, and then mix it with rock chips, river sand, or poultry grit (sold at most feed stores). You can also add 10% to 30% compost to build a strong structure, and help the plants retain moisture and nutrients. The right soil mix is crucial to the survival of most rock garden plants so this is one of those areas you need to get right. You will often see rock gardens mulched with small rock chips as this type of mulch will help drain water away quickly from the crown of the plants, helping to prevent diseases from setting in.
Soil Fertility in Rock Garden Design Ideas:
When you are researching different rock garden design ideas, make sure you take soil fertility into account. As we said in the section above, most of the rock garden plants you are likely to be growing have probably originated on mountain slopes that have very infertile soil. If you try to plant them in soil that is typically used for annuals and perennials, they are not going to produce the same results. There are numerous ways you can resolve this issue and give your rock garden plants a healthy start.
Any time you add different inorganic materials to the soil, it reduces the soil’s fertility. Such additions are things like pumice, sand, grit, and rock chips. Most rock garden plants require about 1/4 to 1/2 of the normal fertilizers and organic materials as most other plants, so be sure to take that into consideration in your rock garden ideas. You don’t want to place rock garden plants next to annuals or perennials that require a lot of organics to survive.
Watering Your Rock Garden Design Ideas:
Watering Requirements: This is a key factor in any garden environment, and generally speaking it is one of those areas that the individual gardener needs to have a little intuition. There are no specific rules on how often to water your rock garden plants, so you will need to pay close attention to the plants themselves, and learn the signs they give you when they need more or less water. One of the best things you can do is plan your rock garden ideas carefully and group plants together with similar water requirement.
Using Rocks as Accents: Rocks serve a much greater role in a garden than just a visual accent. Incorporating them into your rock garden design ideas is actually critical to the survival of many rock garden plants. Rocks serve a number of uses in a garden including sheltering seeds and allowing them to germinate. The runoff from rocks will help provide additional water and nutrients to the areas around it, allowing plants in those areas to thrive. Rocks also will keep the soil shaded and cool, which in turn keep the rock garden plants cool as well. Rocks also serve as a natural boundary in a garden that helps prevent overcrowding.
Carefully Plan Your Rock Garden Design Ideas:
As we said in the opening paragraph, there are so many rock garden design ideas that you can choose from, it can sometimes be a little overwhelming. Hopefully after reading this article, and some of our other related articles on rock gardens, you will have a better idea of what you want, and what you are in store for. Rock gardens require a different approach than most traditional gardens for sure, but the rewards are no less great. If you take a look around your home, I’ll bet you already have an idea of where you might put your first rock garden!
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