Ask a Question forum: Please can you help me with this rockery from the 1960s?!

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Name: L plate gardener
Surrey, England
Completenovice
Apr 16, 2018 5:59 AM CST
I would love some help with my garden. I have a very uphill garden with two retaining walls. One of which is connected to an enormous rockery. It is very deep and about 20 metres long. The rockery is really all you see when you look out of the living room window due to the incline of the garden so I want it to look good.

I have removed some very old plants from the 1960s which were overgrown and woody. There are gaps all over and I have spent over £500 on plants in the last few days with the idea of filling them. Sadly now I have placed the pots and planted some of them in, I feel completely defeated!!!! There are still gaps everywhere. I cannot see how I will ever fill this space unless I spend a further £2000 or so on plants! I have thought about extending the landing strip of lawn which is between it and the second retaining wall but of course there will be some cost to this as lots of top soil will need to be added. I am not sure if I am better investing in more plants instead! A real dilemma!

I love alpine plants but of course they tend to be small. I also would like everygreen plants if pos so it doesn't look bare in winter.

I have next to no gardening knowledge but have been trying to get inspiration from watching every gardening programme I can but this is overwhelming in terms of size to fill!

Thank you for reading my first ever post Smiling and any help would be so welcome.

PS I have added pics of the rockery
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[Last edited by Completenovice - Apr 16, 2018 7:29 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1685144 (1)
Name: Christine
Saugerties, NY zone 5a
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Christine
Apr 16, 2018 7:00 AM CST
I think your "rockery" looks wonderful Thumbs up Other members will have more advice for you..

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Name: Janett
Gamleby, SWEDEN
Janett_D
Apr 16, 2018 7:17 AM CST
I totally agree that it looks GREAT and over time those plants will get bigger. Better to have space for them to grow then overplant and I totally love to see the stones in between.
Name: Rick R.
near Minneapolis, MN, USA zon
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Leftwood
Apr 16, 2018 7:21 AM CST
Remember it is only spring, and the plants will still grow larger this season, and will need room to grow. Ditto for the new arrivals that you will be installing.

It's clear that the previous owner was a knowledgeable gardener. I think it is a good bet that everywhere that you did not remove anything, no knew plants need to be added.

I am assuming you are a new homeowner and as is the usual case, you likely want to let the garden pretty much do its thing this season, to see how it grows. Then you will be able to make educated decisions about how to change it. This is not a maintenance free garden, especially now that the large plants have been removed. Their large root systems helped to quell the invasion of weeds. Especially in those areas, you will find a lot more weeding will be needed. Not to worry. As new plants become settled and grow for a year or two, the problem will get better.
Name: L plate gardener
Surrey, England
Completenovice
Apr 16, 2018 7:35 AM CST
Thank you so much for your replies Christine, Janet and Leftwood! I didn't realise when I posted that you were over the 'pond' in the US, How lovely to hear a US perspective...my brother and family live in NY State.

Leftwood funnily enough I have been here 3 years and the previous owners were in their 80s and by their own admission, not green fingered at all. There were a few overgrown shrubs conifer style, not really anything of beauty as they were very woody and also so tall they obscured the sides. A gardener advised me to remove them but sadly she hasn't really offered me much advice design wise!

There were lots of gaps then and lots of singular plants which make it look bitty. In the winter it looked particularly gloomy!

I am heartened by your advice anyway and have also attached some views from the upstairs so you can see it in proportion

Again thank you :-)
[Last edited by Completenovice - Apr 16, 2018 7:37 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1685224 (5)
Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
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plantmanager
Apr 16, 2018 7:49 AM CST
Welcome! I love your rockery! I'm betting more things will be popping up as the summer comes.

You could also put in some Sempervivums (Hen and Chicks). They should do well there, and spread nicely. They used to be green and boring, but new species have lovely colors like gold, orange, pink, purple, black. They change color with the seasons so they are really fun to see year round.

Our land is hilly and we have a lot of natural rock. I'd love to construct something similar.
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Name: Rj
Just S of the twin cities of M (Zone 4b)
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crawgarden
Apr 16, 2018 8:04 AM CST
It looks incredible, a few more vertical plants would add interest.
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Name: Charlie
Aurora, Ontario (Zone 5b)
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SunnyBorders
Apr 16, 2018 9:29 AM CST
Very informative pictures, CN; great garden, including stone work.

I can really identify with Rick's comments above concerning the maintenance of the garden in the near future.

At least based on experience with installing and maintaining mixed herbaceous perennial beds, I'd say that prompt elimination of running weeds that appear is especially important. At least in our type of flower bed, the seeding-weed problem is eventually largely handled by the weed seedlings being shaded out by the perennial plants.

Have found getting rid of runners, like bindweed, once established can be quite a challenge.



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