Anxiously Planning The Rock Garden

Managing the Rock Garden? Me? OK!

We’ve had our Master Gardener’s meeting this past fall and made decisions and budget plans for this coming year and worked out the assignments for garden managers. Of course, when the decision came up for who would manage the Rock Garden at our community center, I volunteered for that one. I think it was a perfect match!
I helped our MG team design and plant the rock garden originally last year. See post here.
Remember, I am a lover of succulents and sedums, and all kinds of tiny plants that I also plant in my hypertufa container gardens, and after all, isn’t the Rock Garden just one big container garden? Perfect!  Now I get to decide what to add to it this year, and I have a small budget for new plants. So exciting!
I can save some money by donating plants from my garden and from the hypertufa pots and planters which have done so well.Many of the ladies and gentlemen of our Greene County group will donate also. It is a joint effort so we all try and contribute as much as we can for the beautification of our small town.
I definitely want to use the Erodium which was so successful for me this past year. And there should be many more that are suitable for our zone 6 requirements. My erodium was a new plant for me this past spring and was labeled as hardy for this zone 6 area.
However, one of the helpful gardeners here who reads the blog has advised that he knows of Erodium as one of the plants he must bring inside and that it won’t be hardy for me in this zone.

This is upsetting to me for several reasons.

First:  Lessons learned should be that you cannot always believe the plant sticker which gives you the zone and planting information. But if it is sold in my area, and is labeled as hardy to zone 3-9, then I should be willing to pay the cost of that plant if I am in zone 6, right?
Second: If I put out the money for a perennial, and I take good care of it, I should get to have a plant more than one year since I paid for a PERENNIAL! Otherwise, just buy an annual…frustrating!

columnshapedevergreenNow back to the Rock Garden

I know some pre-cast cement planters would be nice as a focal point sitting in the middle of the rock garden, but the cost of a cement planter would probably use up a large portion of my budget for the year. So that is where one of my own hypertufa planters will come in handy. I can make it a special size to fit exactly where I would like to place it.
I am also interested in a Juniperus communis “Pencil Point” – Columnar Dwarf Juniper. It is an evergreen which grows to about five feet tall when mature and only about 10-12 inches wide. I think it would be perfect as an accent. The next problem would be whether I can find it here locally. I would want to see it before I purchased. ( Quite a bit smaller than this photo.)
 The particular sedums, succulents, and alpines I would like ( and I am so thrilled that it will be my decision ) would need to be:
  • “Bun” forming
  • Mat forming
  • Flowering
  • Spreading- but not invasive

 I know we planted the Rock Garden in May last year, so I will plan to have a design ready prior to that. I would like to add more large rocks and also more gravel mulch. I think that would make an improvement. I hope that all of our plants survived and multiplied. I know from observing during my maintenance, we are really doing well with our dianthus. Nice!

Do you have any advice or suggestions for me? Have you done a rock garden, and if so, what plants did you like the most?  What about which ones did you like the least?
Join me on Facebook or make your comments here on the page. I would love to have your input. Thanks!

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