The Q&A Archives: Rock Garden

Question: We have a "pile" of rocks in which we would like to set up a rock garden. I am unsure how to set up the garden. Do I put moss down first in the areas where I want plant? or can you suggest a better way?

Answer: There are as many types of rock gardens as there are rock gardeners. In a traditional sense, a rock garden would be an imitation of the conditions created by an alpine scree. In a more practical sense, many gardeners have created attractive plantings in areas that are naturally rocky. And in some cases, gardeners are able to use a pile of rocks as the basis for a planting area. Most plants will not grow in a plain pile of rocks, however. You will need to add organic matter and a source of nutrients such as compost, as well as some type of finer material such as gravel or soil, to provide a medium in which the plants may root and grow. You may find that spreading the rocks apart and then partially burying them provides a more "natural" look, or you may find that using them as a retaining wall for a raised bed is in better keeping with the rest of your yard. In either case, you will need to create a good environment for the plants roots, in addition to arranging the rocks.

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