Sunday, December 11, 2016

Why a rock garden? THIS is why!

Last May I got a call from Anne Smith, telling me that I might enjoy seeing her garden. I take calls like this very seriously, so on the 20 of this past May (which feels like seven years ago rather than just little less than seven months--life in the FAST lane!) I hopped in my car and drove the 25 miles or so to Boulder--only to be thoroughly chagrined by her garden. It was perfect as you can see....why chagrined? I've been at this game for well over half a century, and this clever woman has surpassed my fondest dreams, in my own home town as well...fortunately, Anne is a lovely lady: otherwise I'd hate her! Just LOOK at that garden! It's SCRUMPTIOUS....

THIS is the view from where I took the LAST picture--beautiful from any angle!

Gentiana acaulis

Where but in a rock garden can you grow the Trumpet Gentian so artistically and well?
Lewisia tweedyi (or one of another half dozen generic names--just ask my buddy Mark McDonough and he'll tell you which one is current).

I have struggled with Lewisia tweedyi--growing it for two or three years: it will produce thee stems perhaps with two or three flowers at the very best and then die. She's had this sucker for years--and LOOK at the could see steam emanating from my ears if you were near me...

And daphnes throughout--this monster is probably Daphne x medfordensis 'Lawrence Crocker' if I'm not mistaken...

But of course, what makes rock gardens so compelling are the views: like you would find on high mountains meadows--colors melding and combining differently every few feet, like a kaleidoscope (no relation to my last name, incidentally)....

These big cushions of Arenaria 'Wallowa Mt.s" remind us that green too is a color in a combo like this....

Paeonia tenuifolia
The peony is grand enough--but so wonderful with the phloxes behind, the Iris 'Sprite' in front and the variegated  I. pallida to the right...this is the magic of rock gardening in spades!

Another glimpse, with a shrubby peony behind (not sure which one) and a perfect dwarf blue spruce sashaying up front!

Anne's garden would have easily fit in Joseph Tychonievich's brand spanking new book on rock gardening (hot off the presses!)...and if you order PROMPTLY from Timber Press, you can get a hefty discount (just click on this sentence and I'll waft you there)

BETTER YET, Click on THIS URL, and you can sign up for the North American Rock Garden Society just in time to get the new seedlist put out by that group (with several hundred kinds of seed I sent them from my garden and collections included!)...NARGS is America's premier headquarters for plant nuts like you and me--and frankly if you've read this far you probably better belong if you're not a member already. I've been a member for over 40 years and lovin' it! You too will not regret it!


  1. Of course my first question is what's the soil mix below that handsome and nicely angular gravel mulch. I don't know why people get so upset when I get out my folding trowel and start digging in their gardens! (Actually I did do this each time we had to house hunt since I'm not buying houses but a place to garden).

    1. A man after my heart! I believe Ann has used a gritty "rock garden" mix--but the crevice gardeners who are going crazy around Colorado mostly using pure sand--to my horror! And they seem to be succeeding spectacularly: I'll be doing a blog about these "Sand/Crevice Gardens" soon--soil is the ultimate mystery. That and Trump's appeal to po' folk.. I'll leave it at that.

    2. Thanks for posting these beautiful pictures of my garden. Here is a bit about the soil and aspect. Obviously I did not follow the accepted rock garden guidelines for soil, much less the new sand craze. The native soil in this corner of SW Boulder is so rocky that it cannot be dug with a shovel. It is difficult even with a pick axe. I piled store-bought planting mix (top soil amended with compost and manure) on top; in some places it is several feet deep. There is a little bit of sand mixed in and the whole thing has been aging for 20 years. The rock garden is close to houses to the SE and SW. It gets no direct winter sun and some years will be under snow for months. In summer it gets half-day sun or more.

    3. Thank you so much, Anne, for adding that! Your post here may have hit an all time record for me--way over 1000 hits in little more than a day. Thanks for letting me "show" it--virtually!

  2. مع اقوى فريق دعم فنى فى مركز خدمة صيانة يونيفرسال احصل على فحص دورى على كافة انواع الاجهزة الكهربائية من مختلف التوكيلات العالبمة فقط تواصل مع توكيل يونيفرسال فى جميع فروعنا وتمتع باقل اسعار خدمات الصيانة

  3. Super Fantastic!! I liked this post so much. you just made my day with this beautiful rock garden pics. Look at the colors of the flowers. and i really like the ideas of rock placements that you share here.


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