Garden Hero: ROCK series

I love to garden and even though I live in the city, and compared to most garden delights have a small space, I have striven to get as much diversity into my gardening experience. Last year I focused on turning our front area that was grass and a small tree into a more easy to maintain and less cookie cutter image type garden. I did a perennial based garden focused on midwestern flowering plants. Seeing how we do get snow and below zero temps, I am to lazy and to broke to replant yearly. it came out well and this year really shined as most of the plants returned and I added more.

I will do a later post into my perennial and my vegetable gardens Ive dont the last 2 yrs. This year was the year of ROCK….guitar solo inserted here. We have a triangular-shaped space in between the vegetable beds that had a very anemic looking hydrangea tree, a monster Russian sage and was a jungle of vinca, wild onions, lilys and what weed that could claim hold.  I decided to clear it out this spring and at first was going to do a brick patio for the grill and a table.

But as I have stated many times, I am lazy and while always busy doing something never want to actually work to hard. So I scrapped the patio idea, of course after I ripped everything out and spread it across state lines. Half the russian sage, most of the vinca, the hydrangea tree, some mullien and other plants moved to Indiana. Lilys and perennials went to the front garden and the wild onions went to my v head friends who ate em up.

Now I was stuck with this giant bald spot and nothing in it and no plan…….lucky me a few weeks earlier had become enamored with some lewisia and sedum I saw at home depot. I had bought them and planted them in a small corner of the front.They had flourished and were looking great. I started researching indigenous rock and arid plants and found there was plenty that could survive in theory at least our winter.

This lead to the Garden of ROCK. I just want to add, rocks are heavy, it takes more than you can imagine and some places want lots of money…for rocks…yes rocks… I found on Craigslist especially in spring early summer you can cruise the free section for rocks of all sizes. I also posted on begging for rocks. I had people bringing me anywhere from 2-3 rocks to bucketfuls for over a month. And I it never seemed enough. I resorted to broken bricks from some of my covered layers. It really depends on the aesthetic you want. I am planning on doing another one in the front of the building next year and am feeling more of a salvaged urban vibe, but that will be another post.


Step 1


I laid out a rough shape around an indentation I had dug and ringed it with larger rocks.


Added a cinderblock wall for some elevation


filled them with layers of dirt, crushed limestone and pea gravel.


I used crushed limestone, sand and pea gravel to create a more drained and aerated planting medium.


I would sprinkle the added items and then a layer of dirt fill.

I wanted some different levels and texture.I choose to use some broken concrete chunks and old bricks to build 2 shelves for height in front of the cinder blocks. I wanted a plant “waterfall” look and more natural transition between the two spaces.

The start of a 2 level planting shelf


Its coming along here.





My collection of plants waiting to be planted




Once I had my rockfall designed and my main depression filled with layers of dirt and other materials. I planted what I had on hand. Unfortunately my camera broke down and I don’t have the in between photos.  Once I planted what I wanted I then picked up a few bags of pond rocks, they had a nice natural look and I used them to cover up any dirt spaces. I also used some pea gravel as well. I have some pictures of the completed project and how it looked in September.








How the rockfall turned out

blooming sedum



I also did a little rock path/garden in a high traffic area. I had been gifted with a few buckets of red lava rock and that worked well for this space. I had moved the Russian sage to this space along with some sedum, an evening primrose and hostas.


The russian sage makes a nice comeback

the little plants were not so happy in the start








About queenofone

I was in the food biz for over 20 years and still love food more than ever. I knit, create, write, mother, date, live and get angry. All I share here and hopefully with some kick ass pics to boot.
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