The Q&A Archives: Rock Garden

Question: What is needed for a rock garden, soil plants it is in full sun and I had planned on using railroad ties to hold the dirt back,also can mulch be used in it

Answer: Rock gardens can take many forms and may be planted with any plants you wish. Traditionally they are in full sun with rocky, poor soil and are well drained. These conditions dictate a selection of plants that can withstand poor dry soil such as most spring bulbs, dianthus, thymes, sedums, arabis, creeping phlox, and so on. Since you are building your garden, you may be able to improve the soil a bit and expand to a wider range of plants such as daylilies, coneflowers, black-eyed Susan, veronica, salvia, iris and perennial geraniums. Have fun experimenting to see what does best for you. In terms of maintenance, mulch helps control weeds and conserve soil moisture. It can be used around all of the above plants but do not place it over top of the iris rhizomes. An organic mulch such as shredded bark is a good way to feed the soil on an ongoing basis as it rots down. If the terracing is gradual, the mulch will not wash away. Eventually, if you use lots of spreading or creeping plants, the ground will be covered and you will not need to mulch. Have fun with your project!

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