Rocky garden. Creation of a rock garden
How to create a beautiful decorative object on your site
In the November issue of the magazine, there was a short article about the creation of the simplest alpine slide - without unnecessary costs, without great loss of time and special efforts. Today we will talk about creating a rocky garden according to all the laws of landscape design.
So, if you have at your disposal a sufficient number of successful natural stones, as well as a desire to change something at your summer cottage, then you can use boulders to create a small corner of nature, having built a comfortable place in the garden, an amazing natural rocky garden.
Rocky garden Is an original modern garden design technique that imitates a mountainous boulder field after ancient glaciers - a modern interpretation of an alpine slide. The best place for a rocky garden is an area with full sunlight, although it can be created in the shade and in a wet or dry place.
If there are no stones on your site, then this is not a problem - in the Leningrad region, on the sides of many fields and along the roads, you can find a lot of boulders of various shapes and sizes. Farmers, clearing the fields, took them to the side of the road so as not to spoil the expensive equipment. Collected stones can be brought to the site and set up a "natural" mountainous garden. It can also be a rocky hill if there is a natural slope.
To create a rocky garden, you can use inconveniences on the site: slopes, ruins of old structures, foundations, bulk cellars, use retaining walls, terraces. You can artificially build a slide near a residential building or create a separate hill, embankment or rampart from all kinds of solid, strong, drained trash. For the construction of an embankment, a hill, unnecessary pieces of trees, branches, stones, metal cans, etc. can be used. For good drainage, gravel or sand is poured on top. Above is the earth with a layer of at least 25-30 cm.
The stones holding the shaft are arranged so that they have a double function. Located along the embankment (hill, rampart), they keep the soil from shedding from the inclined surface and ensure the drainage of water, which is necessary for the plants. The shaft should be sufficiently damp, but not wet. It is best to use stones of the same size. It is desirable that the embankments be no higher than 60 cm. Their foundations should be reinforced with stones that create a contour and prevent the soil from shattering.
Place small stones between the larger stones. They will help retain water and avoid soil erosion. The slope of the sides of the embankment, hill, rampart should be no more than 2.5 cm for every 30 cm. This slope of the slopes better restrains water from the plants. At the same time, they bask in the sun.
The advantage of a slide, hill, shaft is not height, as is often believed, but naturalness, proportionality and thoughtful composition. At any time of the year, rocky gardens should look spectacular not only due to the plants, but also due to the beautifully laid stones. The garden looks natural if the stones are evenly distributed over the area. Lay the elongated stones first, create a structure from suitable boulders. Place additional smaller stones evenly between them. Do not forget to securely reinforce the stones at the foot of the structure.
Avoid placing stones with sharp angles upward. Hide them in the soil the way you see them in nature. Lay them so that only part of them protrudes from the ground. Tilt stones that protrude from the slope a little back. They will hold back water by accumulating it in the soil.
For the favorable development of future mountain plants, it will be necessary to create special planting places or use already existing holes, crevices, terraces. A well-drained land set between stones and exposed to sunlight is ready to welcome alpine inhabitants. Some of them nestle comfortably in the gloom of the stones, where their roots receive the accumulated moisture.
Here are the plants that are widely used all over the world for rocky gardens: edelweiss, saxifrage, miniature auricular primroses, pulsatilla (dream-grass), aquilegia, arabis, armeria, obrieta, corydalis (corialis), iberis, cinquefoil (potentilla), Carpathian bells , cloves (dianthus), gravilat (geum), gypsophila, soapwort, scabiosa, anaphalis, sedum, creeping willows, cushion-shaped dragons.
Bulbous crops are also appropriate here - crocuses, fritillaria, undersized irises, daffodils, tulips.
The design flaws of the rocky garden are made up for by several coniferous bushes that symbolize the tops of the mountains. These plants are evergreen and complement the structure of the garden throughout the year. Rocky gardens with a background of juniper or pine are good. The secret to the success of a rocky garden lies not only in the successful selection, placement and stability of stones, but also in the correct selection of plants. A rocky garden involves the planting of plants typical of mountainous regions. But other plants were also listed above, resembling mountain plants in appearance. Growing among stones on sparse soil, they imitate a picture of mountains. The plants planted among the stones are adapted to the harsh conditions. They are usually in the form of small bunches, rugs, groups of exquisite flowers and leaves. Their height and individual beauty provide a color change.
Between the boulders, creeping conifers, undersized showy rhododendrons, heathers and eriks, junipers, thuja, plants that can be formed in a spherical, horizontal or weeping form can be placed. Dwarf varieties of barberries, spirits, cotoneaster, magonia, etc. are widely used.
In the vicinity of woody plants, curtains of low-growing ground cover plants look great: gentian, saxifrage, edelweiss, rejuvenated, scyllas, chionodox, crocuses, styloid phlox, thyme, yaskolka, sedum. Mosses, especially evergreens, varying in color and texture, are desirable plants in rocky gardens. They look great near stones and around the edges of compositions.
In shady places among the mosses, you can place shade-tolerant ferns, kupen, and clefthoof. Ground cover plants with dense roots and shoots hold the soil well on steep slopes. All plants in rocky gardens are planted in isolation from each other - in independent groups. But at the same time, they are all part of a single composition. Alpine plants need moderate moisture in the soil, but they are resistant to extreme conditions during drought. The soil should be low to moderately nutritious. In rich and waterlogged soil, plants rot or lose their natural forms - compactness, pubescence, color. Properly prepared soil for most stony garden plants contains one third of sand or fine gravel, one third of peat or leaf compost, and one third of clay soil. Most mountain plants prefer a slightly acidic and slightly alkaline reaction.
Usually, there is no such soil in finished form on the site. It should be corrected or specially prepared to suit the specifics of the garden. Gravel soil usually does not need to be improved. In rocky gardens, the best stones are porous, such as layered limestone, sandstone, especially clayey, calcareous dolomite and tuff. They create comfortable moisture and air permeable conditions for alpine plants, as they absorb moisture, hold plant roots and create an imitation of rocks. They are warm. Plants are comfortable around them. They grow well here. Stones such as marble, basalt and granite look decorative, but they are inconvenient for plants, since the decorativeness of marble disappears over time, and they are all heavy and cold. The soil around them quickly acidifies.
Planting plants in rocky gardens is best with seedlings or young seedlings. It is necessary to carefully spread and spread the roots in the planting place. Make sure there are no air pockets in the soil. It is worth checking if there is enough soil on the slope. Sometimes the roots of plants are wrapped in moss before planting and placed in a gap, and then all the free space is filled with earth. In the upper part of the slide, plants falling down look spectacular. These cascades, falling down the slope, form a beautiful waterfall of flowers and leaves in the foreground. But in any case, avoid too tight landings.
You can sow seeds by mixing them with soil, which fills the crevices. The roots of developing plants will penetrate deep into the crevices. Some flowers in the composition reproduce by self-sowing. Since most plants in rocky gardens are small and slow growing, they are susceptible to weed attack. Regular hand weeding is required. In winter, in the absence of snow, plants can suffer from frost. It is advisable to cover them with any branches to contain the snow, attaching the shelters to the ground. Plants can suffer not only from frost. Dampness during thaws in winter or in rainy weather in summer, if the water does not drain, but stagnates on the surface, poses a great danger to them.
In early spring, you should carefully remove the shelter, remove dry leaves. On the bushes, it is necessary to cut off the broken branches and growing in the center of the bush. At the same time, you can add fresh soil to the bases of the plants. The same must be done if baldness appears in the center of individual curtains or in groups of plants. This will help them recover and regain their original beautiful appearance.
A well-built rocky flower garden can serve as the main decorative object of the site. It is appropriate for a lawn, a well-groomed path, a pond and is an element of a prestigious garden.
Alpine slide (rock garden) is designed for growing alpine plants. The creation of a rock garden is not a simple, but interesting business that requires the skills of creating drainage and laying stones, the ability to pick up and grow capricious plants. A classic alpine slide is made up of stones of different sizes of the same breed, the same color repeats the natural stone laying in the form of rock layers protruding from the ground. A more modern method - the Czech rolling pin - is made up of flat stones of the same breed, set vertically edge to edge and plane to plane to one another.
In the conditions of the middle zone, it is quite difficult to create a real alpine garden. It is not easy to find an inexpensive stone, and the climate does not allow capricious plants to fit into the garden. Of course, not every high flower bed with stones is a rock garden. To form the basis of the future rocky garden, you need to create retaining walls made of natural stone, mount groups of large and small stones, draw and pave paths. But alpine slides are very fond of us. This is such a popular way of planting plants and decorating a garden plot that now almost any structure using stone is called an alpine slide. Many people can create a small raised flower bed, a rocky garden or a terraced rockery in the garden. In order to do everything according to your mind and not remodel the structure, look in advance for the best examples of gardens with alpine plants, choose the type of rock garden that suits your conditions. Initially, those who have a site located on a sunny slope were lucky, but even in the shade, you can arrange a small rock garden. If your plot is small, or the conditions do not allow for constructions with large stones, lay a rocky garden in a thick-walled stone or concrete trough of large capacity with good drainage. Organize in it the inner space in miniature - like in a Czech rolling pin, or a classic rock garden, even a Japanese rock garden. However, the most popular alpine slide, easy to install, arrange and maintain, is made in the form of a raised flower bed - ordinary or teraced. So that it does not begin to resemble a "beloved dog's grave" or a "high-calorie bun" with stone raisins, carefully learn the rules for the selection and laying of stones, drainage, paving and selection of plants.
Plants for rock garden are usually purchased from collectors or grown from seeds. In garden centers, adult specimens are very rare.Therefore, when choosing plants for an alpine slide, you can go along a simpler path: choose those that would look similar to the Alpine plants, so that the plantings only imitate the mountain landscape.
Maintaining a rocky garden is different from caring for a regular flower bed. In particular, planting / replanting, weeding of plants can be quite laborious. Therefore, during the initial planting of the slide, one should strive to minimize the number of transplants in the future. Avoid planting the plants you hurriedly purchased from the garden center on your way to the garden. Choose for rock garden and rockery resistant and non-capricious plant species that remain decorative for a long time, retain their shape, do not weed, do not oppress neighbors. The classics of the genre are undersized species that grow very slowly. Of the woody ones, these are low creeping shrubs, miniature conifers, and Potentilla. Until they grow, the space is filled with stunted and creeping herbaceous perennials: herbaceous carnation, arabis, armeria, Carpathian bell, hellebore, dicentra, gentian, gravilatus, sugarwort, lumbago, apical pachisandra, primrose, low-flowered phlox and shilovypus. Typical for large rocky gardens and deciduous unpretentious trees and shrubs (birch, mountain ash, dwarf willows, maple), conifers (undersized forms of spruce, junipers, dwarf pine), rhododendrons, and, of course, ground cover perennials. They all prefer well-drained soil and tolerate irregular watering.
When planting a hill, remember that the crowns of the grown plants should not close up, and the laid stones should be visible in the spaces between the plants. After all, if, after a couple of years, your beautiful, hard-to-find and laid stones disappear under the leaves and shoots, all your efforts will turn into an ordinary flower bed! To avoid common mistakes and get the most beautiful place in the garden as a result, look at the proposed plants for a rock garden with minimal care in our mini-guide to rock gardens, and you will succeed!
Creating an alpine slide in the shade
It is generally accepted that the slide and the rock garden should be located in an open, bright place in the garden. But the mountains are not only alpine meadows and rocky outcrops, there is a zone of mountain forests below. An alpine slide in the shade imitates it. What plants are suitable for creating a shade flower garden using stones?
The good thing about a rocky shady garden is that its creator can afford more liberties than in a sunny one. It uses not only alpine plants, but also traditionally grown in flower beds - they will only benefit from the neighborhood with a stone. Shade-tolerant plants are looser, larger than sun-loving plants, they are most often deciduous or ephemeroids, do not form evergreen pillows. But do not get carried away with planting in the shade among the stones of ordinary flower bed perennials: why then build a slide at all? Another catch usually lies in the size: traditional cultures are too large for a rock garden, they actively grow and cover stones, depriving the venture of beauty and meaning.
Alpine slide design
The most important in the shade rock garden, of course, is the stone - it should prevail or be on par with plants, creating a background and shading the color of foliage and flowers. For this, the stones must rise above at least part of the plants. And not due to the difference in height, but due to the size of perennials: the lower they are, the more impressive the overall ensemble will be. It is important to choose the direction of the rock layers and adhere to it, and fill the space between the stones with loose moisture-absorbing permeable soil. It is better to make the slide shallow - it is more natural for the shade, because rocky steep ledges in nature are usually naked and open to the sun.
The choice of perennials for a shady rock garden
In any garden, we first of all pay attention to bright flowers. But flowering occurs in spring and early summer, then the colors fade, giving way to greenery. In the shade, it is especially important to play with the texture of the foliage and its color, because in summer and autumn there are much fewer brightly flowering plants for the shade than for the sun.
Here, hosts will certainly come to the rescue of the creator of the shadow slide. Miniature and variegated varieties seem to highlight the shadow. To contrast the shape of the foliage, you can use other decorative-leaved perennials: dwarf ferns, undersized astilbe, dicentra.
The choice of trees and shrubs for the rock garden
To create a shady rock garden, the selection of conifers is especially important, because most of them are photophilous. In strong shading, only Canadian hemlock, Canadian yew and pointed yew can flaunt.
In partial shade, western thuja, common spruce, some fir and juniper, cross-pair microbiota will be good. It is worth using dwarf varieties, rather than species that are too large and are very limited in the background.
Yellow coniferous varieties in the shade will lose their brightness, will have a light green color. If the alpine slide is shaded by tall deciduous trees, it is important to remove fallen leaves from conifers in time so as not to provoke their podoprevanie and fungal diseases.
The undisputed favorites of the shadow slide are rhododendrons, their undersized species and varieties. In the background, you can plant tall deciduous bushes from the Knap Hill Hybrid group (for example, 'Nabukko' or 'Parkfeuer'), and closer, for the middle line of the dense rhododendron variety or golden rhododendron. They can be used on slides made of any rock except limestone.
What perennials are suitable for a shady rocky garden
• Hosta 'Blue Mouse Ears'
• Dicentra 'Burning Hearts', 'King of Hearts'
• Astilbe simplicifolia 'Sprite'
• Varieties of noble liverwort (Hepatica nobilis)
• Transylvanian liverwort (Hepatica transilvanica)
• Woodsia polystichoides
• North Woods (Woodsia ilvensis)
• Soldanella mountain (Soldanella montana)
• Varieties of Mountain Goat Weed Young (Epimedium x youngianum) 'Roseum', 'Niveum'
• Large-flowered slipper (Cypripedium macranthum)
• Swollen slipper (Cypripedium ventricosum)
• Varieties of venereal shoes (Cypripedium calceolus), for example, 'Sabine'
• Decorated Chinese gentian (Gentiana sino-ornata)
• Mountain sedge (Carex montana)
• Trillium grandiflorum and its terry form (Trillium grandiflorum f. Flore pleno)
• Trillium yellow (Trillium luteum)
• Trillium nivale
• Jeffersonia dubious (Jeffersonia dubia)
• Anemone nemorosa 'Vestal'
• Canadian Terry Sanguinaria (Sanguinaria canadensis f. Flore pleno)
• Wulfenia carinthiaca
• Kamchatka grouse (Fritillaria camschatcensis) and other low forest hazel grouses
• Rhodope Gaberlea (Haberlea rhodopensis)
Veronica creeping, Siberian scrub, sister violet, small periwinkle should not get on your slide! Otherwise, they will fill it all. Special care should be taken when planting ground cover creeping aggressive plants and those that give abundant self-seeding on a hill. Such "residents" at first will be limited to stones, but they quickly find loopholes and begin to slaughter more delicate neighbors.
Recommended species and varieties of woody plants for the shade rock garden
Norway spruce (Picea abies) 'Formanek' is a weeping variety that "flows" over the stones. 'Vermont Gold' is a yellow-coniferous variety that retains yellowness in shading.
Canadian hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) 'Minuta', 'Jeddeloh', 'Nana' - dwarf varieties for the foreground.
Yew (Taxus baccata) 'Amersfoort' - the plant will become quite large over time, but grows slowly. You can cut it.
Thuja western (Thuja occidentalis) 'Maloniana Holub' - a plant of amazing graphics of branches.
Thuja western (Thuja occidentalis) 'Danica' - green regular "ball" with a rather slow growth.
Small-flowered pine (Pinus parviflora) 'Fukai' - this variety has delightfully beautiful striped needles, besides, five-coniferous pines are more shade-tolerant.
Microbiota cross-pair (Microbiota decussata) 'Variegata' - the size and growth pattern of this variety is the same as that of the species plant, but it is decorated with variegated strands. Can be kept within the limits of what is permitted by rigid trimming
Rhododendron dense (Rhododendron impeditum) 'Ramapo' - will decorate an alpine hill with an evergreen undersized bush and lilac-blue flowers.
Rhododendron russatum 'Compactum' - similar to the previous variety. The flowers are perhaps the bluest of all the rhododendron varieties.
Rhododendron golden (Rhododendron aureum)
Caring for a shady rock garden seems to be easier than for a sunny one. Mulch plays an important role in it. Only in the shade can you use both mineral and organic components for mulching plants. Of course, the crushed stone from which the slide is built will be ideal. But deciduous litter and plants withering for the winter will clog such mulch and require constant, a couple of times a season, bedding. Of course, bark or wood chip mulch is also added, but organic residues on it look more natural. Mulching is necessary to retain moisture in the soil, it reduces the need for weeding by an order of magnitude, makes the hill neat, and sets off the greenery. Self-seeding of weeds is much less because of the shade, and mulch will completely reduce it to nothing. All that remains is watering, feeding and timely harvesting - cutting off the stems for the winter.
Natural stone in garden design - from alpine slides to garden sculptures
There are many possibilities of using natural stone in its natural form or processed by human hands in landscape design. It is not surprising: the artificially created landscape is still a part of nature or an imitation of it. Therefore, natural materials are great for paths, and for flower beds, and in the construction of other types of structures in the garden.
The use of natural stone in garden design can be divided into three channels:
- processed stone
It is used as a material for creating architectural elements: for arranging terraces, gazebos, rotundas, stairs, balustrades, garden sculptures, decorative stone vases and other details. This option is most often used for gardens of classic design, as well as areas in modern styles, with polished stone surfaces, glass, chrome.
In this case, architectural elements made of stone are used - all the same columns, capitals, vases, but only old, artificially or naturally damaged, chipped, lost, overgrown with moss, eroded. This decor is typical for gardens in the style of romanticism and neo-romanticism.
- stone in its natural form
Picturesque debris, boulders, boulders, placed on the site in a beautiful, harmonious composition with plants - rocky gardens. Thus, alpine-style gardens, a Japanese garden, a country-style garden are designed.
In this article, I want to touch on the issue of the types and methods of decorating rocky gardens in more detail.
Alpine slide (rock garden)
Alpine slide - an element of decor in landscape design. When creating a rock garden, large stones and special plants are used, which create the appearance of a mountain landscape.
Plants for composition:
- Perennial plants (Alissum rocky, Badan, Cornflower mountain, Lupine, Molodilo, Garden purslane, etc.).
- Trees (Juniper, Thuja, Cypress, Pine, etc.).
- Creeping plants (Alpine strawberry, Arabis, Aubrieta, Veronica, Eastern St. John's wort, etc.).
Types of rock gardens:
- "Cliffs" and "rocks" - for an independent rock garden.
- "Valley in the Mountains" is a garden with a lot of stones, similar to a high-mountain valley.
- Bolotse is a rocky garden in a waterlogged area.
- "Japanese Garden".
- "Mixborder" is a ridge located on the lawn above the retaining wall.
Instructions for creating an alpine slide
1. Sketch of a rock garden
Form a sketch in the form of a diagram, on which indicate the approximate location and size of plants and stones. Choose the types of plants and trees.
2. Choice of location
Choose a sunny location for location. The rock garden slope should be oriented to the east and south. Place the composition so that it can be viewed from several sides at once. Do not use a site near buildings for a rock garden. Otherwise, in the spring during the melting of the snow, the flower garden may be damaged. If the site has uneven terrain, this is ideal for a rock garden.
- Parterre area.
- Garden plot.
- Rest area.
3. Removal of sod and designation on the site of the location of the rock garden
To mark the location, drive in the sticks and pull the thread through them. Then remove the sod (approximately 30 cm deep) and leave it aside. You can later make a soil substrate out of it.
4. Preparation of the base
The resulting recess must be filled with soil and drainage. It is better to cover the first drainage layer with pebbles or medium-sized gravel. The layer thickness is 11-16 cm, depending on the size of the stones. Then add sand (layer 5 to 11 cm thick), tamp and fill with water to obtain a good density.
IMPORTANT! To prevent such a nuisance as the destruction of the composition by rodents and moles, put a fine metal mesh at the bottom of the pit.
5. Preparing the soil
To prepare the soil, we need:
- excavated turf
IMPORTANT! Sod must be cleaned of weeds and rhizomes.
6. Raising the slide
First, lay out the large stones of your choice around the perimeter of the rock garden.
IMPORTANT! The stones must be placed firmly. How to do it? Lay the stone on the ground with its wide side. To support the boulders, you can put small pebbles or soil. The bottom row of stones can also be partially buried in the ground, it looks natural and gives good stability.
After laying one row of stones, pour the prepared earth in the center, and place the next stones, forming another row. Place small cobblestones at the top and along the slopes of the slide. When building a rock garden, look at your preliminary outline, leaving room for planting. After the construction of the alpine slide, it must be well watered and left alone for 2 weeks while shrinkage occurs.
7. Planting plants
First, put the potted flora on the hillsides, starting with large ones and ending with small ones. Start landing from the top, then go down the slopes. Planting depth depends on the size of the rhizomes. When you are finished planting, water the rock garden abundantly and wash off the earth from the cobblestones.
8. Addition of decor
To complement the alpine slide, use pebbles, gravel, rubble, or install decor (lanterns, garden figures, etc.).
Alpine slide care
- Remove shelters.
- Remove dead plants.
- Touch up or replace stones.
- Mulch the soil.
- In May, after the threat of severe frosts, plant new plants to replace the dead.
- Watering (do not water with too cold water and under the scorching sun).
- Top dressing (as needed).
- Remove weeds, spray plants from diseases and pests.
- Remove diseased plants, cut off dried leaves.
- Dig up plants that are especially sensitive to cold weather and remove them to a warm place.
- Cover the slide with spruce branches.
Plants for alpine slides and rockeries
Speaking about the selection of plants for an alpine slide, we note that the combination of plants of different sizes and properties usually allows you to achieve the desired decorative effect. At the same time, an overly variegated "company" can look sloppy and inharmonious. In addition, when choosing flowering and other plant species, it is advisable to pay attention to the conditions in which they will be most comfortable.
Alpine slide presents alpine poppy
Since it is impractical to place cacti next to rhododendrons, which do not like the open sun and dry air. The arrangement of flowers inside the space of the slide itself is also important: the plants should not shade or block each other, but at the same time, their placement should be quite compact, without large voids and bare earth.
Low-growing plants - antennae, aubrieta, subulate phlox, crumbs, as a rule, are placed on the top of an alpine hill. For ground cover plants (tenacious, chickweed, carnation, ground cover phlox), sedums and stonecrops, the slopes of the hills are more suitable, where they get along well and prevent their erosion. At the base of the alpine hill, it is worth planting muscari, chionodox, crocuses and scillas, and undersized shrubs and woody ones - Japanese quince, cotoneaster cotoneaster, junipers and dwarf pine varieties will serve as the background.
On this stony crust are planted tulips, primrose, gentian, saxifrage, alissum, sedum, rejuvenated, armeria, yaskolka, periwinkle, dwarf forms of conifers.
The center of the composition can be a large boulder, along which a waterfall can be launched, or a stream bed, picturesquely inscribed in the banks decorated with plants. Some designers prefer to add aesthetics to natural design, introducing artificial small architectural forms into it: figurines of gnomes, animals, lanterns, etc.
Rock garden or rocky garden
Today there is an increased interest in the use of stone in the landscape and in the creation of rocky gardens in particular. Rocky gardens can be of various sizes, retain their decorative effect for many years, have educational value, preserve and popularize the most valuable ornamental plants.
In addition, ground cover plants in the construction of rocky gardens significantly help in the fight against soil erosion on slopes and slopes.
The best material for arranging rocky gardens in urban and park landscapes are large natural stones of solid rocks of magmatic origin - granite, basalt, sedimentary origin - sandstones, limestones, dolomites and metamorphic origin - gneisses, quartzites, shales.
Look good in the composition of tuff, shell rock where they are a local stone. The size and number of stones should be appropriate for the nature and size of the area surrounding the vegetation.
Each group of stones should be individual - there are many possible solutions: laying overhanging stones, piling up a large block on small ones, processing natural stone under a seat, a combination of stone and tree blocks, etc.
It is important to place the stones as they occur in nature. The slab is laid in layers, the boulders are placed freely, deepening the heavier side into the ground. The most successful compositions are obtained from two, three, five stones, but in all cases these compositions cannot be accidental, they must emphasize the main idea of the landscape, both in functional and decorative terms.
According to L.I. Rubtsov classifies garden and park landscapes, mountain and alpine landscapes are allocated to an independent group. Natural mountain landscapes of inimitable beauty and majesty serve as the prototype of the park mountain landscape. It is enough to walk the Valley of Ghosts near Demerdzhi among the natural stone chaos of the main ridge of the Crimean Mountains, admire the split rocks the size of a city nine-story building and amazing beauty miraculous rock gardens at the base of these natural masterpieces, in order to understand where you need to draw creative inspiration to create stone gardens in the city and park.
Research of the Department of Park Science of the National Library of Science of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine suggests five main ways of artistic expression of natural mountain landscapes in garden and park art:
symbolic, natural, fragmented, decorative and original. The symbolic way has long been used by Japanese gardeners, translating the shape of the stone into the language of symbols. In the Japanese rock garden, natural forms express the philosophical and aesthetic attitude towards nature, nurtured by the Zen Buddhist sect. The famous Rean-ji Monastery Rock Garden and the hilly Daisen-in Monastery Garden in Kyoto are created in the language of symbols.
The natural path allows you to imitate the most complete picture of the natural mountain landscape, taking into account the vertical zoning, the diversity of the flora, the similarity of the general outlines of the relief. In this way, you can create mountain gardens and rock gardens. Excellent examples of such gardens are the mountain garden of the National Library of Science of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine in Kiev and the rock garden of the Estonian Botanical Garden in Tallinn.
The fragmented path uses natural rock outcrops, rock outcrops - in their crevices, after adding plant soil, decorative and unpretentious plant species can be planted and rock gardens created. There are such gardens in the Korsun-Shevchenko park of the Cherkasy region of Ukraine.
The decorative way of creating stone gardens has collected the largest number of techniques and methods for decorating park and city landscapes. With the help of such technologies, rockeries, retaining walls, rocky mixborders, ridges, decorative slides, etc. are created. The original way of creating rocky gardens and landscapes is characterized by the search for individual, modern forms that often appear at exhibitions and festivals. In all the above techniques for landscape design, there are basic elements (relief, stone, vegetation) and additional (water, small architectural forms). The most common type of landscape design is rocky gardens. Many years ago they were known in China, and later in Japan, since stone there was considered the highest creation of nature, and any garden was a garden of stones. Theoretically, 138 main types of stones were identified, which were actively used in compositions: lake and river stones, stones dividing a stream, stones-paths, recumbent, standing, etc. In small compositions, one could limit themselves to five stones.. An increased interest in rocky gardens, due primarily to compactness, decorativeness and unpretentiousness, is observed in England, the USA and Europe. Alpinetums and rockeries are most often found there. They differ significantly from each other.
Alpine garden, rock garden, alpinetum - an artificial structure made of stones, designed to display alpine alpine plants. Representatives of the alpine flora of various regions of the world are planted in the rock garden with colorful, bright and abundant, but short flowering, which causes seasonal decorativeness in spring and in the first half of summer. In such gardens, conditions are created close to the conditions of the natural habitat of alpine plants, and forms of the alpine landscape are used in miniature, therefore field, meadow and forest plants are unacceptable in them. The specificity of the rock garden lies in the lively and imaginative demonstration of the beauty and diversity of alpine alpine plants.
Successful cultivation of alpine plants requires good drainage, constant soil moisture, high air humidity and a loose, humus-rich soil. Alpine gardens are arranged on natural rocky areas or give them the appearance of stone terraces. Individual stones, groups of stones or stone complexes, talus and moraines in a garden and park landscape should be located so that the position of each stone seems natural in this landscape. The relative position of individual stones in the composition must correspond to the properties of the rock to which they belong. Grouping stone in an alpine landscape should be as much an art as the processing and use of stone in sculpture and architecture.
However, in all cases in the garden and park landscape, according to the European tradition, the main element should be plants that are grouped according to their natural habitats.
On the tops of the cliffs and on the southern sunny slopes, plants are planted in sunny places, on the eastern and northern slopes - plants in shady and humid places. The lower terraces of stone massifs and minor stone complexes, valleys and hollows are planted with tall perennials and shrubs.
Alpine gardens, due to their main purpose - collecting and demonstrating alpine flora - are arranged in botanical gardens, and rocky gardens or rockeries are arranged in parks, gardens and other objects of landscape architecture.
Rocky garden, rockery - landscape gardening composition on an artificial relief of stones and plants. Regardless of the size and location, the rocky garden leaves a lot of freedom in choosing building and plant materials with a view to long-term decorative effect of the exposition. Unlike an alpine garden, rockery provides for the construction of terraces, paths, walls, reservoirs, cascades and streams. Rockeries are created on the folds of the terrain, on relief drops and always in an open sunny place.The most successful rocky gardens are obtained on an area that has natural rock outcrops or individual large boulders. The eastern and western slopes are best used.
An important element in the successful creation of a rocky garden is site planning and soil preparation. Most often, the rocky garden has a free layout. They outline future valleys and hills, paths and viewing platforms, determine the places of terraces, a small reservoir, a stream or a cascade.
When preparing the soil, special requirements are imposed on its mechanical composition: water permeability, water capacity and water retention capacity. A versatile soil for a mixed assortment of plants is a mixture of sod land with a lot of sand. When compiling a soil mixture, black soil, gravel or sand should be used, as well as plant compost and leaf humus (in approximately equal amounts). Fresh manure is completely unsuitable, since the plants fatten, lodge, bloom poorly, lose their stature and compactness.
In European gardens, stone plays a subordinate role in comparison with plants, while in Japanese gardens, stones bear the main compositional and semantic load.
To create rocky gardens, the best material is solid rocks: granite, dolomite, sandstone, limestone. Sedimentary rocks, as already mentioned, must lie in layers, granite stones are arranged in irregular large groups. Before laying stones, the soil is compacted, the stones are carefully dug in so that they do not move and are immersed in the soil by at least one third. The size and number of stones should be related to the size of the rocky garden and the number of plant species and forms used. The largest stones are used to create the main group, which is decorative from all points of approach to it. The rest of the groups play an additional role. And all together they form the basis of the garden.
Small stones only complement the drawing, which should be artistic even before planting the plants. Stones must be at least 30-40 cm across. The stones should be laid out parallel to the surface of the site. We must not forget about the role of crushed stone for drainage, mulching and stone debris. Today, stone backfills are actively exploited, which, in addition to the mulching function, also perform a decorative function, often serve as a background for small plants.
Terraces in rocky gardens are reinforced with retaining walls made of dry masonry stones or gabion nets. In the most visited places of the rocky garden and for leaving, paths made of limestone, decorative artificial slabs, tree cuts and other materials are made wide; paths are laid in little-visited areas.
In areas where there is a significant amount of precipitation, a drainage device is needed to exclude the possibility of stagnant moisture. Planting should begin with shrubs and dwarf trees, followed by perennials. It is necessary to plant well-developed, healthy plants. When planting, it should be remembered that most mountain species grow significantly over time and therefore it is necessary to leave free space between them - at least 30 cm. Before planting plants in a permanent place, a plan is drawn up for their location, taking into account biological characteristics and requirements for environmental conditions. A very crucial moment that determines the good development of plants is the selection of a place for planting, since some prefer a sunny position, others, on the contrary, require shaded areas with damp earth, in the shade of large stones.
Perennials are suitable for sunny places: rocky beetroot, Italian ankhuza, alpine rezuha, seaside armeria, deltoid Aubrieta, Carpathian bell, felt lily, yellow corydalis, alpine carnation, or grass, hybrid gaillardia, creeping ewe, St. John's wort , Minartia cereal-leaved, Fassen's catnip, alpine poppy, wide-spread phlox, subulate, adorable, bryophyte saxifrage, stonecrop, caustic wool, prostrate veronica, or gray-haired, drooping resin, rejuvenated and others.
The shade is well tolerated by creeping tenacious, carnation herbaceous, lobularia sea, creeping saxifrage, periwinkle, various ferns and others.
Light-loving annuals are also good on the slopes: large-flowered purslane, hybrid verbena, low varieties of large antirrinum, long-stemmed varieties of large nasturtium.
Joint planting of shade-tolerant and light-loving plants, dry-loving and moisture-loving, is unacceptable. Spectacular stony gardens, which combine undersized species - armeria, beetroot, Iberis, rezuha, ceratostigma, etc. with tall ornamental plants and decorative grasses - acanthus, artichokes, cnifofia, cortaderia, or Pampas grass.
A variety of herbaceous plants, tastefully selected for the color of the leaves, the compactness of the bush, the color of the flowers and the duration of flowering, give decorativeness to rocky gardens.
The greatest effect is achieved by using low, compact plants to create a pillow or carpet. Blooming carpets form: seaside armeria, alpine aster, silvery and rocky beetroot, herbal carnation, highlander related, St. John's wort, terry noble umbilical, subulate phlox and its forms, Caucasian rezuha, deltoid aubrieta, common veronica, alpine and eastern Iberis evergreen, Bieberstein's shrub, Apennine and Caucasian sunflowers, creeping tenacious, blue and Christophe onions, stonecrop prominent, false, Eversa white, Kamchatka, etc., gray sage, creeping thyme, beautiful mice hyacinthus, barbier whorled coreonsis, blood-red heuhera, thick-leaved and cordial bergamot, white cinquefoil and other plants.
When selecting an assortment for rocky gardens, phenorhythm and other features of biology should be taken into account. Thoughtful selection makes it possible for a rocky garden to remain decorative for a long time. At the same time, maintenance costs (watering, fertilizing, pest and disease control), replacement of fallen plants are reduced.
All compositions of a rocky garden should be created taking into account their perception both from a distance, from the path that surrounds it, and near. The central paintings that are distant from the viewer should be large compared to those adjacent to the paths.
It is advisable to build compositions using monochromatic or contrasting color combinations. Examples of some of them: crested beetroot and evergreen Iberis Aubrieta Croatian and Iberis evergreen bell spoon-leaved, yellow corydalis and thyme creeping bell stemless and carnation feathery corydalis noble and brunner large-leaved sheep-leaved bellflower rezuha alpine prolisca Rosen and stonecrop thin veronica Schmidt and alpine poppy lilac and white alpine aster, lush pink carnation, silvery gray wormwood cold white and orange spots of holosteel and false grayish poppies against a background of silvery-gray wormwood cold bright pink curtains blue brunner Siberian, orange swimsuit Asiatic and silver-blue foliage of mertensia lilac alpine aster and hawk orange-red blue and white broad-flowered bellflower, white gypsophila paniculata and red lychnischalcedony yellow daziphora Kuril and blue delphinium large-flowered violet violet and iberis evergreen phlox subulate red and sedum pungent yellow cleaver, pushkinia and scrub tulip, cleaver and viper onion.
Often, stunted trees and shrubs are included in the composition of a rocky garden: mountain pine, yew, common juniper, Cossack juniper and its forms - tamarix-leaved, variegated, prostrate, cypress-leaved and other conifers.
In combination with the stone, cotoneaster (horizontal, willow, pressed, Siemens, round-leaved), Thunberg barberry, gorse, Albert's forsythia, creeping meadowsweet and Japanese, prostrate cherry, Ladebour's rhododendron, holly mahonia, etc. are very effective.
In small areas, miniature rocky gardens are arranged in garden concrete or stone vases and the so-called stone flower beds - flower beds with a stone curb.
The rocky gardens are easy to maintain. It is necessary to monitor the condition of plants during the drought period, destroy weeds, and control rapidly growing plants. During the growing season, before the plants close, 3-6 loosening is carried out with simultaneous weeding. Watering is done once a week or every 10-15 days. Strongly growing plants should be restrained by pruning or transplanting, and decaying and dying stems of plants should be cut off in a timely manner.