Slowly the Rock Garden forms. Continuing to address the hardscape, I’ve come to solid ground. During my last update, Rock garden journal entry 5, I explored the possibility of removing some of the paths around the Rock Garden area. This decision was not easy to make; I’m not sure why. Now that it’s done, it would appear the decision to remove the paths would have been an easy one, but it wasn’t it. It should have been done a long time ago. In fact, once I removed some of the paths around the Rock Garden, I removed others in Helen’s Haven. Learning from the design of one garden, led to the greater good of the others in my half acre wildlife habitat.
With paths gone and after adding an additional 600ish pounds of #78 Chesapeake gravel from Charles Luck Stone, in Wake Forest, NC., the garden has formed.
Finally, I was able get down to the business of plant selection.
Keeping to plants under 12 inches tall and liking a well drained, sunny location, I continued adding plants for the spring and summer; figuring fall finds would await me later in the year.
My first shopping trip took me took me to the JC Raulston Arboretum spring plant sale. Passing by big, bold, and lusty plants, one’s I’m usually drawn too, I honed in on the minute picks. Seeking out Tim Alderton, Research assistant at the JCRA, and one of the ones I hold responsible for getting me to this point of creating a rock garden, I asked for his recommendations from what was available. That trip landed Iris cristata ‘Vein Mountain’ (Dwarf Crested Iris,) Bouteloua gracilis ‘Blue Grama Grass’, Phlox carolina ‘Kim’ (thick-leaf Phlox) in the garden.
The next day, while at Lowes, a Tiarella ‘Spring Symphony’ jumped into my shopping cart. This Tiarella needs shade and the Rock Garden is primarily sun, so it went on the east side of an Osmanthus near the edge of the garden along the old path. Derysimum x ‘Bowles Mauve’ and Armeria pseudarmeria ‘Ballerina Red’ nuzzled next to the Tirarella in the cart and came home with me as well.
My eye keeps turning towards each spring blooming pretty faces. I need to pace myself and choose for summer, fall and winter too, or I will quickly run out of room.
Then I went on a garden tour in South Carolina with friends (other volunteers from the JCRA) with a keen eye on rock garden plants. I scored. I hope not too much so since, I do have other seasons to satisfy. Since I’m primarily filling the Rock Garden with plants from garden centers, the plants available are those in bloom at the time of purchase. As such, I MUST STOP and wait for the arrival of late summer and fall selections.
Still, I pretty tickled with my latest selections:
Prunella grandiflora ‘Bella Blue’
Sedum dasyphyllum ‘Major’ Corsican Stonecrop
Helinthemum ‘Hartswood Ruby’
Sisyrinchium angustifolium ‘Lucerne’ Lucerne Blue Eyed Grass (Thanks Barbara, for pointing this one out.)
Lotus corniculatus ‘Plenus’ Double Bird’s Foot Trefoil. I’m afraid this little guy might too wide for the space. Reported to get only 3 – 4 inches tall, but 12 – 23 inches wide. I’m OK with the tall side, not so much with the wide side. But, we’ll see.
Heucherella ‘Alabama Sunrise’
Juncus tenuis ‘Blue Dart’ Blue Dart Rush
Also, my trial plants arrived from Proven Winners, including the little beauty Echincea purpurea ‘Little Annie’. The Rock Garden is the perfect place to trial this plant. ‘Little Annie’ will not be released until the Spring of 2012.
My new challenge is to wait out the fabo cordoon which is just a tiny bit out of place in the Rock garden, as well as, the yarrow that is taking over. I was going to wait to remove much of the yarrow until it bloomed, but I think I need to work on it when I’m in the garden next.
Feeling feisty, I removed a the giant cardoon just as it was beginning to fruit. Heresy! And, I yanked out the aggressive yarrow before it bloomed. I was on a mission and I’m happy for it. This left a gaping hole. But as that door closed, Montrose had an open garden. With the open garden was a plant sale where I picked up the following:
Cryptomeria japonica ‘Duke Gradens Nana’
Panica granatum ‘Nana’
Tubaghia violacea ‘Silver Lace’
Allium seescens subsp. senescens
The Rock Garden could also be dubbed, The No Regrets Garden. A true labor of love and a place to showcase little lovely plants.