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Rock Garden Plants

 

 

 

 

 

Rock plants are so numerous that only the best of the different families can be mentioned.

 

Acaena - Dwarf plants for carpeting. Only the New Zealand variety (A.microphylla) should be grown, and that for the sake of its crimson spines.

 

Achillea - The best of the rock garden kinds are Umbellata, with silver foliage and white flowers, and Tomentosa, bright yellow. A fairly dry soil suits them best.

 

Adonis - Pheasant's Eye. A very precious plant. A.vernalis (Ox-Eye), forms dense clumps of fern like foliage, from which rise large yellow flowers. It blooms in spring, and is suited to a good loamy soil. Division or seeds.

 

AEthionema - An Alpine sub-shrub. A.grandiflorum, forms dense spreading masses of foliage, covered with stout racemes of rosy flowers. Owing to its prostrate habit it is useful for mantling the edges of rocks. Well drained loam. Seeds. This is quite one of the loveliest of Alpine plants.

 

Alyssum - Madwort. A charming spring flower. A.saxatile (Gold Dust) with its brilliant corymbs, blooms in autumn as well as spring.

 

Androsace - The best kinds are : A.carnea, Glacialis, and Helvetica.

 

Anemone - Wind-flower. A.apennina, A.blanda, A.pulsatilla.

 

Antennaria - Cat's Ear. Dwarf plants, of which A.tomentosa forms a silver carpet of foliage. A.dioica, with pink flowers, is worth growing. Simple culture.

 

Anthemis - Rock Camomile. A.aizoon forms pretty tufts, with daisy like flowers.

 

Anthericum - St Bruno's Lily. The lily of the Alpine pastures. A deep, sandy soil suits it, and the roots may be divided in autumn. A carpeting of Saxifrages or other dwarf plants look charming as a groundwork for a clump of St Bruno's Lily. A.liliastrum.

 

Arabis - Rock Cress. Well known and invaluable. A.albida (White Rock Cress) and rosea a deep pink form, should be grown. Succeeds in any soil.

 

Arenaria - Sandwort. Beautiful plants, with compact masses of foliage, and myriad blossoms. A.balearica (Creeping Sandwort) and the Mountain kind (A. montana ), should be in every rock garden. Seed or division.

 

Armeria - Thrift. Dense tufts of grass like foliage, with rosy flowers. A.cephalotes (Great Thrift), and A.caespitosa (Tufted Thrift) are suitable for association with tall and dwarf plants respectively. Poor sandy soil. Seed.

 

Aubrietia - Purple Rock Cress. Though common rock plants, they are of the utmost value. A.deltoidea and A.groeca are among the best. Any poor gritty soil will grow Aubrietias, and they are readily increased, either by seeding or division.

 

Bulbocodium - Spring Meadow Saffron. Among the spring flowers in the rock garden, the deep, rosy flowers of B.vernum are very beautiful. Warm, sandy soil. Division of the bulbs.

 

Campanula - Harebell. One of the most beautiful families for the rock garden, The Carpathian Harebell (C.carpatica) bears light blue flowers at midsummer. C.caespitosa (Tufted Harebell) is excellent for rock steps and the edges of stone flags, the American Hare­bell (C.pulla), a lovely kind, does best in slight peat and sand.

 

Other good varieties are Cenisia and Garganica, the latter suited to rock ledges, over which its pale blue flower racemes hang in great profusion. Campanulas are so charming that in their case we cannot have too many species.

 

Cerastium - Mouse-ear Chickweed. Dwarf, silver­leaved Alpines, bearing numerous white flowers from May to July. The variety Biebersteini is easily grown and is one of the best.

 

Cheiranthus - Wallflower. For rock garden grouping, the bright orange variety Marshalli is the finest. The Alpine Wallflower (C.alpinus, syn. Erysimum ochro­leucum) is valuable for the joints of rock walling. The perennial Wallflowers thrive in poor soil and a dry position in winter. Cuttings.

 

Colchicum - Meadow Saffron. Drifts of the rosy flowered C.autumnale look exquisite in the grassy approaches to the rock garden. The leaves die down before the blossoms appear, hence the necessity for a carpeting of grass or dwarf Alpines. They are easily grown, increase freely and brighten the garden at a time when flowers are scarce.

  

Coronilla - Scorpion Senna. Though little grown, this is a desirable plant, C.iberica forms dense tufts of trailing foliage, which in June become studded with vivid yellow blossoms. C.varia, with pink and white flowers, is also good. A fair depth of soil is essential.

 

Dianthus - Pink. This large family includes several species of value. The Cheddar Pink (D.caesius) thrives in gritty crevices between adjacent rocks. On rich soil it soon dies. D.deltoides (Maiden Pink), a charming pink spotted variety, is of particularly easy culture. The Glacier Pink (D.neglectus) thrives in sandy loam, its dwarf tufts of foliage and myriad rosy flowers producing a charming effect on the higher ledges.

 

Dodecatheon - American Cowslip. These plants should be grown in similar positions to the Alpine Primulas, the roots being divided from time to time and replanted in sandy loam. D.integrifolium blooms in March, the flowers a purplish crimson. D.meadia, with drooping umbels of purple flowers, is another good kind.

Draba - Whitlow Grass. Among small mosses and in rock crevices a few plants of D.aizoides, with their brilliant cushions of yellow flowers, are interesting Alpines.

Dracocephalum - Dragon's-head. Easily grown plants of the Sage family. D.grandiflorum is covered in July with dense clusters of rich blue flowers. Division or seed.

 

Erigeron - Fleabane. Though most of the family are border plants, E.alpinum grandiflorum should be grown in the rock garden. The mauve, daisy like flowers are produced very abundantly in late summer. Well drained loam.

 

Erinus - Wall Erinus. On bare rocky places the racemes of lilac flowers and tufted foliage of E.alpinus are most welcome.

 

Geranium - Cranesbill. The two rock garden kinds are G.argenteum and G.cinereum. Among the smallest Alpines, the clusters of red flowers are charming. Seed.

 

Helianthemum - Sun Rose. There are few more beautiful rock plants than these dwarf trailing shrubs. For mantling sunny ledges they are unequalled. They are quite hardy and succeed in any sandy loam. From a long list of varieties, we may choose H.pilosum, white, H.grandiflorum, yellow, and H. roseum multiplex, double pink. When in full bloom these flowers are of exquisite beauty.

 

Houstonia - Bluets. A grassy little plant, with numerous dainty blue flowers on slender stems. A sheltered corner with sandy soil should be afforded.

 

Hutchinsia H.alpina, a good white flowered Alpine for association with the dwarfest plants. Sandy soil.

 

Leontopodium - Edelweiss. The well known hoary­ leaved plant, with yellow flowers. It is of the easiest culture and will always be of interest.

 

Linaria - Toadflax. For rock crevices and the joints in rough steps L.alpina is useful. L.antirrhinifolia forms dense tufts covered with purple flowers, and is a bright note of color among the stones. Moist, sandy soil.

 

Linum - Flax. The yellow L.flavum and the exquisite Narbonne Flax (L.narbonnense) with sky blue flowers, are both good. The latter should be planted in somewhat rich soil, if it is to bloom freely

 

Lychnis - Campion. The best of these is L.lagascae with bright rosy flowers. Rock fissures with gritty soil. Seed.

 

Mertensia - Little known but very graceful plants. M.dahurica and M.alpina, both with drooping clusters of bright blue flowers, may be grown in sandy soil. Owing to their slender habit, the Mertensias should be given sheltered positions.

  

Myosotis - Forget-me-not. M.alpestris is a gem for rocky places. Its light blue flower masses harmonise perfectly with those of its relative M. dissitiflora, which are of a deeper shade. Moist loam.

 

Omphalodes - Navelwort. Well drained sandy loam suits these charming rock plants. O.Luciliae, with glaucous foliage and lilac flowers, is hardy, and O.verna (Creeping Forget-me-not) of trailing habit, bears a profusion of bright blue and white blossoms. Seed or division.

 

Onosma - Golden Drop. Dense tufts of evergreen foliage, with drooping clusters of bright yellow flowers. O.tauricum does well in a sunny aspect with deep loam and broken grit.

  

Papaver - Poppy. The Alpine Poppy (P.alpinum) is worthy of a place in the rock garden. The common form has yellow flowers, with white centers. Seed.

 

Petrocallis - Rock Beauty. On small sunny ledges in good soil this is a gem. P.pyrenaica bears a pro­fusion of sweetly scented, lilac flowers on dense tufts of foliage. Seed.

 

Phlox - Of these the Moss Pink (P.subulata), errone­ously known as P.setacea, is a dainty little evergreen with rosy flowers, rambling freely over stones and garlanding ledges. P.setacea is equally delightful, with soft pink flowers, it may be massed with its sub-variety P.s.violacea, whose deeper crimson flowers afford a pretty combination.

 

Polygonum - Knotweed. The Himalayan variety P.affine is a good plant for moist places, its spikes of rosy red flowers producing a delightful effect. The foliage is brilliantly colored in autumn. P.vaccinifolium is best in rough, rocky places where it can ramble at will among stones and boulders.

 

Potentilla - Cinquefoil. Plants of easy culture, thriving in exposed places in loamy soil. The best of the dwarf Alpines are P.nitida (Shiny Cinquefoil), with silvery leaves and rosy flowers: P.alpestris (Alpine Cinquefoil), much larger, with bright yellow blossoms, and P.alba (White Cinquefoil), a dwarf, variety, bearing white and orange flowers.

 

Primula - Primrose. One of the largest and best of all the rock plant families. For rock gardens the follow­ing should be grown: P.denticulata, P. farinose, P.rosea, and P.sieboldi.

 

Pyrola - Winter-green. Beautiful plants for half shade. P.rotundifolia, with tall stems and drooping racemes of numerous white flowers, should be grown together with its sub-variety P.r.arenaria. The flowers are sweetly scented. Light sandy soil.

 

Ranunculus - Crowfoot Buttercup. Of simple culture, the Buttercups thrive in any fairly moist sandy soil. R.alpestris, with deep glossy foliage, and large pure white flowers and clustered yellow stamens, is one of the best. R.glacialis, in the coolest positions, and R.amplexicaulis (White Buttercup) are good for rock gardens.

 

Sanguinaria - Bloodroot. A very desirable plant. S.canadensis forms dense clusters of large glaucous leaves, on which numerous white flowers with yellow stamens rest like miniature Water Lilies. Division.

 

Saponaria - Soapwort. The rosy flowered S.ocymoides is a beautiful plant for mantling the edges of rocks. Poor, dry soil.

 

Saxifraga - Rockfoil. Perhaps the best known of all rock plants. S.cotyledon (Pyramidal saxifrage), S.longifolia, S.oppositifolia, S.umbrosa (London Pride).

 

Sedum - Stonecrop. Hardy dwarf plants for rock crevices and the higher ledges. S.acre (Wall Pepper) grows freely on walling, and is bright by reason of its vivid yellow flowers. S.stoloniferum (Purple Stone­crop), with large leaves, and S.sieboldi, useful for draping the edges of stones, are among the best.

 

Sempervivum - Houseleek. Dwarf succulents, thriving in the poorest soil. The Cobweb Houseleek (S.arach­noideum) is very quaint, with its myriad silver leaf rosettes covering the ground like a web. S.triste, with red leaves, is distinct. Offsets.

 

Silene - Catchfly. Invaluable for rock gardens. The Alpine Catchfly (S.alpestris) is a hardy white flowered kind. S.virginica (Fire Pink), though impatient of too much moisture, is very beautiful. It has vivid scarlet flowers. Seed.

 

Soldanella - In a moist, deep soil between the higher rocks, Soldanellas are delightful. S.alpine has bell­shaped flowers of a pale blue color, the carpet of feathery foliage in this variety giving an added charm. They must not be grown near large plants. Division.

 

Thymus - Thyme. On the outskirts of the rock garden where there are no small plants, masses of creeping Thyme are very beautiful. The poorest and driest soil will suffice. Two beautiful kinds are the wild white Thyme (T.serpyllum albus) and the woolly­-leaved Mountain Thyme (T.lanuginosus), with purple flowers. Full exposure to sun.

 

Tiarella - Foam Flower. An exquisite plant of the hardiest description. The trailing foliage is tinged with red and bronze, and the graceful spikes of creamy pink flowers, when massed, give the rocks and stones an almost foam flecked appearance. Frequent division.

 

Veronica - Speedwell. The trailing kinds should be found in all rock gardens. V.rupestris and V.prostrata are good. V.spicata, a native plant, soon covers the ground with neat patches of foliage. Sandy loam.

 

  

 

 

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