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"Every child should have mud pies, grasshoppers, waterbugs, tadpoles, frogs & turtles, elderberries, wild strawberries, acorns, hickory nuts, trees to climb, animals to pet, hayfields, pine cones, rocks to roll, sand, snakes, huckleberries and hornets – and any child who has been deprived of these has been deprived of the best part of his education." -Luther Burbank 1849 - 1926
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Rock Gardens for Beauty and Low Maintenance

A rock garden adds infinite interest to the landscape. With the help of your local nursery team, you can set in large rocks and boulders to create just the right background for your area. Rock gardens can be the main focal point of a yard or they can lend beauty to a tiny side yard off the master bedroom and bath.

Rock garden features require little garden space. For instance, place a low, protruding rock and tuck in a few mounds of alyssum in the foreground, with a compact, feathery Heavenly Bamboo planted behind the rock as you view it. Complete the scene with Potentilla, a bright green carpet like ground cover with yellow blossoms. Wahlah! A nugget of natural beauty.

To capture the effect of a natural scene as you would expect to find it in a meadow or the foothills, choose interestingly shaped rocks. For any one grouping of stones, stick to one type of stone so that its appearance in the garden will not seem out of place. To make the rock appear as a natural outcropping, you might try burying a third to half of the rock. This will give a permanent look.

When you pile some rocks loosely together, you also create tiny habitat spaces for small wildlife such as ground squirrels, chipmonks, toads, and even some birds who need ground shelter.

Plants with unique characteristics and focal interst include Japanese Maple, Lily of the Valley, Azaleas and Bergonia.

To bring your rock garden to life, add some annual color. Lobelia is an excellent choice in shades of blue, white and nauve. Portulaca or Moss Rose, makes an outstanding rock garden flower with its south of the border brilliant shades of rose, pink, yellow, white and orange.

  • Various succulents, including the varieties of sedums, are also popular.
  • For spectacular color, add some native honeysuckle and tubular vines that will attract hummingbirds and butterflies.
  • Plant shaded rock gardens with Impatiens, dwarf Fiberous Begonias or Periwinkle.
  • In cold regions, rely on the dwarf forms of Holly, Veronica, and Mugho or Japanese Black pines for the basic planting.
  • In warmer climates New Zealand Flax, yuccas and Agaves are a natural companion with rock motifs.

    Rock gardens have a special mystique about them. The combination of the rugged, hard surfaces with the tender blossoms that seek shelter in the proximity of their big neighbors have long given rest to the natural spirit of gardeners. Some people even build rock gardens in flat containers, complete with miniature mosses, succulents and wildflowers. Whatever space you have for a rock garden, you will enjoy the impact tenfold!

    For more articles about NATURE & KIDS

    Young Birders Get Serious About Birding Fun
    The Squirrel Family 0 Backyard Nature Safari
    Hamsters are rodents and cuddly pets
    Kids Learning Links
    Buddy's Diner (for the birds)
    Bird Profiles for Young Naturalists