Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Crevice garden manqué: the Sibley Center that was.


It's hard to believe 11 years have passed since I visited the Sibley Center at Calloway resort (once, Calloway gardens). I was struck by the extraordinary resemblance of the rock garden feature to the Czech crevice garden style that is becoming so popular in North America of late...

This rather wretched picture shows the way the tender succulents grew much as alpines do in Czech crevice gardens--festooning the face of the rock.

As you can see from this image, it was a spectacular method to display the diversity of succulents up close...

See how spectacular the Agave was atop the cliff in bloom!

 A closeup: what a terrific way to show off plants up close and personal!

The contrast between delicate, intimate miniatures and the bolder rosettes was delightful!

There was variety as you walked through--not everything was uniform...

 There was even a waterfall: that popular garden feature that causes the greatest maintenance headaches!

The lawn was a tad threadbare when we were there--but with that wonderful structure nearby, and the trees, flower beds--who noticed or cared?

It's a tad ironic that today when there is a tsunami of enthusiasm for succulents among young gardeners, now that Crevice Gardening is becoming a "thing" that may even go mainstream soon, this diadem of gardens, this paragon, this paradigm, this extraordinary little gem of a garden that anticipated both crazes is history.

Read this and weep:


I believe the rockwork and plantings in the greenhouse were the design of Gary Smith, of W. Gary Smith: perhaps some clever botanic garden can hire Gary to re-create this gem now that both succulents and crevice gardens are taking off big time? http://wgarysmith.com/


  1. That is absolutely stunning, and so hard to pull off in such a humid climate! Absolutely gutted that it is no more.

  2. Wow, what an amazing installation, and so sad that it's closed.

  3. Sadly all things pass, some of those pushed out. Sad indeed

  4. hmm. Resort and golf rather than a horticultural destination, what a shame. I remember all those Victory Garden episodes out of Calloway Gardens, hard to believe that's all been phased out.

  5. I can see why you would lament this loss. It was a nice garden.

  6. Too bad they can't incorporate the gardens with a resort and golf course. Would be a real selling feature.


Featured Post

A garden near lake Tekapo

The crevice garden of Michael Midgley Just a few years old, this crevice garden was designed and built by Michael Midgley, a delightful ...

Blog Archive