For gardening purists, a rock garden is the Alps (or other mountain range) in miniature to be planted sympathetically with plants that naturally grow there. Others are less by-the-book and there are many rock gardens up and down the country planted with, for example, heathers. Finally, there are rock gardens created purely for their landscaping qualities, free of any horticultural prescription or proscription and it is to these liberated gardens and gardeners this short post is addressed.
Providing there is sufficient soil and water for its needs, any plant can grow and thrive in a rock garden. In addition, container growing plants can used – either choose aesthetically pleasing containers or simply hide the container beneath pebbles and gravel. This method also allows plants to be easily moved within the rock garden or, when their size or your mood dictates, to a different part of the garden.
Of course, plants in a rock garden tend to be on the smaller size and the following list contains a selection of plants that work when they are in their infancy – the first choice may be counter-intuitive, but kept in a container, it will neither disappoint nor get out of hand:
• Leylandii (Cupressocyparis Leylandii)
• Common Box (Buxus Sempervirens)
• Rosemary Miss Jessopp’s Upright AGM (Rosmarinus officinalis ‘Miss Jessopp’s Upright’) Pic Bottom
• Privet (Ligustrum ovalifolium) Pic Top
• Lavender Alba (Lavandula x intermedia ‘Alba’)
• Lavender Dwarf Blue (Lavendula angustifolia)
• Lavender Hidcote (Lavandula angustifolia ‘Hidcote’)
• Lavender Imperial Gem AGM (Lavandula angustifolia ‘Imperial Gem’)
• Lavender Richard Gray (Lavandula × Chaytoriae ‘Richard Gray’)
• Lavender Twickle Purple (Lavandula angustifolia ‘Twickle Purple’)