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Between mineral and vegetable, rockery combines alpine plants and local rocks. This plant decoration dresses the slopes by making them aesthetic.
Find out how to make a rock garden step by step!
A mountain landscape
While hiking in the mountains, you may have been amazed by these steep sets of rocks and flowers. The rockery is directly inspired by this high altitude landscape.
In order for the rendering to meet your expectations, you can't just place a few pebbles between flowering plants! It's about choosing suitable plants associated with beautiful rocks and placing them wisely.
Where to place the rockery in the garden?
The ideal is to take advantage of an embankment to look larger than life! The roughness of the slope will help you place your rocks and plants for a natural effect. The advantage of the embankment is that it provides good drainage, which is necessary for most alpine plants.
So favor a sunny exposure to allow you to set up charming little mountain flowers. However, shade is not entirely excluded, the rockery will instead have a refreshing undergrowth look. If your land is flat, you can always install an artificial mound. A rock garden on a flat ground is also possible but it will be necessary add volume with rocks and herbaceous tufts.
Level the ground
If you are making a mound yourself, then mix garden soil with gravel and sand. To ensure that the landscaping is well drained, do not hesitate to pile up tiles or rocks on the first layer of the mound. You then cover it with the substrate. If you already have a slope or embankment in your garden, you just need to mold it. Using a spade and rake, level the ground to create several slightly sloping levels. These floors will be delimited by stone lines.
What stones for the rock garden?
To provide you with stones, turn to a local quarry. It will cost you less than in store and you will buy local rocks. You can also take a walk around the construction sites and maybe glean some stones for free. Do not choose smooth rocks but rather irregular and angular, like in the mountains! Choose frost-resistant stones and avoid limestone rocks that are crumbly under the effect of the cold.
The rockery has a low stratum capable of withstanding high winds. We then find ground cover plants, small perennials and shrubs with a creeping habit.
We are always inspired by mountain landscapes and we rely on conifers. Indeed, from a certain altitude, when the mountain pastures give way to rocky landscapes, deciduous trees are less present in favor of conifers. For your rock garden, think of junipers. The common crawling juniper forms a green carpet 30cm high and 2m wide. You can pair it with varieties of dwarf pine like Pinus mugo ‘Liliput’ and Pinus mugo Ophir ’. These two cultivars form beautiful needle cushions, the first dark green and the second golden green.
In a rock garden, perennials are planted with well-drained, dry or even poor soil. This is the case with aubriète or bellflower. These two varieties with purple flowers easily colonize low walls and sparse stony substrates. They pair well with sedum, thyme, phlox and gentian. For a little more volume, add lavender, euphorbia and bergenias.
Your stones are already in place, you just have to place plants randomly between the rocks, or to make them emerge from them. Then cover it all with mineral mulch to improve water flow and limit weed growth.