General Discussion:

Building a Rock Garden

Messages posted to thread:

barbara12-Aug-03 10:18 AM EST 2a   
dm12-Aug-03 02:19 PM EST 3   
Em12-Aug-03 08:38 PM EST 1b   
13-Aug-03 08:53 PM EST   
Ed15-Aug-03 06:34 AM EST 5a   
17-Aug-03 07:39 AM EST 7a   

Subject: Building a Rock Garden
From: barbara
Zone: 2a
Date: 12-Aug-03 10:18 AM EST

I would like to put in a rock garden. The area I am looking at is very shady - poor soil (although I keep adding compost, etc., the Manitoba gumbo seems to eat it up). I just saw a beautiful rock garden at the English Country Gardens in Assiniboine Park. It was in the sahde, so I know it can be done. However, I'm really not sure where to start. Any suggestions?

Subject: RE: Building a Rock Garden
From: dm
Zone: 3
Date: 12-Aug-03 02:19 PM EST

Donna Balzer has a very informative book called "The Prairie Rock Garden". Lots of good stuff in there, including lists of suitable plants and conditions they need to grow. There are sections on design and construction so that the results look natural. I have another useful book called "A Rock Garden Handbook for Beginners". It's published by the North American Rock Garden Society (NARGS). I got mine through the Calgary Rock and Alpine Garden Society (CRAGS), so I'm not sure where you would find it in Manitoba. You might be able to order it through NARGS ( Also, do an internet search on "rock gardens", "rock gardening", "alpine gardens", etc. There's tons of stuff on the web. A good place to start is Good luck!

Subject: RE: Building a Rock Garden
From: Em
Zone: 1b
Date: 12-Aug-03 08:38 PM EST

I also just saw the beautiful rock garden at the Assiniboine Park. One tends to think of rock gardens as full sun creations, so I was very interested in their shade one. My concern was how would one keep it watered, since many shade plants like moist soil. If anyone is in the Winnipeg area and hasn't visited the English Gardens recently, I recommend it. They have done a lot of work there and it looks great.

Subject: RE: Building a Rock Garden
Date: 13-Aug-03 08:53 PM EST

Thanks for the information. I tried the net, and was inundated with sites - most of them quite useless. I'll try the one you suggest and then, I can always try the old-fashioned way and go to the library. I'm glad you enjoyed the English Gardens - they really were quite spectacular this year. Gave me all kinds of ideas. Just wish I had endles supply of money, time and space.

Thanks again.

Subject: RE: Building a Rock Garden
From: Ed
Zone: 5a
Date: 15-Aug-03 06:34 AM EST

Em, Keeping a rock garden watered starts with selection of appropriate rocks. These should be as large as can be handled proportunate to the size of the planned rockery and as close to a flat, more or less rectangular shape that are available. These should ideally be placed so that up to 75% of the flattish surface is submerged in the soil at a slight angle sloping inward so that water is trained to flow inward rather than down the slope. The completed project ideally shows more rock than soil, with the latter in sufficiently deep pockets to accommodate the root systems of the proposed plants. Obviously south exposures present the greatest challenge; part shade, in many instances, could be an asset. Many favourite rock plants, eg., arabus, phlox subulata, thyme, ibiris, etc. are shallow rooted,low creepers, form their own shade and soon find their way over the edges of adjacent rocks in a wide range of foliage and flower shades, colours, textures and habits. Probably most home-grown rockeries are less than the real thing but still very presentable and a source of great satisfaction. To each his own ! Have fun !

Subject: RE: Building a Rock Garden
Zone: 7a
Date: 17-Aug-03 07:39 AM EST

I just recently dug up a corner of my lawn to put in a rock garden.... even though I live on Vancouver Island, our summers are extremely dry, so to help retain moisture, I put some peat moss in between the rocks and then put the soil around the plants as they were planted. This sure has helped the plants get started. Hope this bit of info is useful

In order to post the forum, you must register to the site.
To register, click here.

If you have already registered, you must log in.
  • New Eden
  • Kids Garden
  • Plant a Row Grow a Row