Love on the rocks … decorating the garden with stones
Ages old, weathered by Father Time …
… as beautiful as Mother Earth herself …
… many of us treasure the decorative nature of rocks, pebbles, even boulders in our gardens …
… we admire the rock walls where our ancestors made their fields …
… rocks have decorated our gardens for a wonderfully long time!
A large rock garden like Kirk Willis’s above can hint of mysterious caves underground (perhaps lived in by hobbits). A collection of low growing, trailing, herbal, and decorative plants adds to the playful quality of this magical corner
The rock garden above is both decorative and functional. The rocks keep deer away from these flowers for the most part, and the pillar of rocks in a cage are the beginning of a deer proof fencing system in a Washington State garden.
A good thing to learn about rocks is how to avoid smashing your fingers as you move them around (gloves help a lot with this) … and how to dig them in so that they look mostly natural in their new homes (try a rock hammer for quick ground shaping). But, you can also arrange them on dry ground so that they look like folk art, as in Marie Niemann’s garden above.
You can define garden features with rocks … or hold back a raised bed … You can even guide your visitors on a journey through a garden space as Sue Langley has done in the garden above. The decorative rock designs seem to flow like small rivers, waterfalls, and streams.
A gravel garden
The affection for alpine areas, above the tree line, with their tiny compact plants so loved by alpine and rock garden plant collectors also may have influenced the desirability of constructing gravel gardens like this one I visited with my sister, Karen. What an inspiration!
To garden in gravel, simply pull back the gravel, dig a planting hole the size of your nursery can or root ball, tamp down the soil and replace the gravel which will now act as a mulch. Only amend the soil if it is pure clay or pure decomposed granite, both of which have many nutrients already.
You can decorate rocks with moss for burst of green color like these photographed by Joan Meyer (buttermilk, beer, or sprinkles of local moss, are said to help this happen).
Rock edgings in the garden
Folk wisdom says that if you build a stone wall in dry weather and cold temperatures, for instance in the month of November, your creation will last for a very long time because it is more resistant to frost heaving in the soil. Also, it is a good idea if your rock work does not hold back rain or melting snow. Leave spaces for drainage near the bottom of walls made of rocks.
For a natural, textured, harmonious walls or edges … why not rock on!