The Rockery 2023.

When I redid the rockery planting two years ago I had a picture in my head of how I wanted it to look. I think any rockery has to be a mass of colour in the spring but then has to still have structure, texture, colour and interest for the rest of the year.

I think I have almost got the planting sorted for springtime, there is certainly plenty of colour there now and I am already making notes of where I can put more bulbs when planting time comes in the autumn. The springtime perennials are mostly primroses in their various varieties and colours, saxifrage, hellebores and creeping phlox.

Soon the dwarf shrubs will take over from all the bulbs, no shrub is supposed to be taller than 4ft, so I hope they all behave and stop growing at the right time! There are dwarf japanese azaleas, rhododendrons, deutzia, mahonias, forsythia, spirea, pittosporum, prunus and weigela. These also provide texture and colour in their foliage.

There are a few shrubs for summer, although the dwarf hydrangeas that I planted weren’t too happy in the heat that we had last summer, in spite of me flinging buckets of water on them. Maybe I will have to move them to somewhere with more shade.

More summer bulbs are needed I think, I then already have colchicums to brighten up a couple of areas in the autumn, along with some tritonia. I’m thinking I could add some autumn flowering crocus on the scree, after all it is part of the rockery, but has its own specially made free draining compost, the only area in the garden that does!

There are dwarf tulips and iris which flower earlier and a few small perennials for throughout the summer. there is also a very small, tiny even, red rose which a friend gave me many years ago and it is still going strong. I planted it on the scree as I didn’t think it would survive in the hurly burly of the garden and I think it has enjoyed where it is.

Redoing a bed is like trying to do a 3 dimentional jigsaw puzzle that keeps changing shape, almost impossible, but then a border is never finished is it, there is always room for improvement.  I can see that I will be fiddling with it for a good few years yet.Up till now it has been the woodland that I go to every morning for my wander and to examine every new flower minutely but from now on I will be paying the same attention to all the small flowers on the rockery, my wander is going to take me twice as long!

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8 Responses to The Rockery 2023.

  1. Denise says:

    What a good job you have done with the rockery Pauline, it is really quite beautiful. And the combination and variety of dwarf shrubs to follow will give a lovely display and will, I am sure, stop growing at the appropriate height lol. Spring is on hold here under a thick layer of snow so in the meantime, I enjoy the wander around your garden whilst waiting.

    • Pauline says:

      Thanks Denise, I enjoyed the planning of it too, keeps me happy in the winter months! If any shrub dares to grow over 4ft, the secateurs will come out, they have been warned! I hope your snow soon goes and that you can get back to spring once more.

  2. snowbird says:

    The rockery is looking marvelous, so much going on. Good idea re taking notes, I always mean to do that and always forget then struggle to plant more

    • Pauline says:

      I think the best thing to do Dina, is to plant my bulbs in pots in the autumn, have a display like Monty Don’s of all the little bulbs in pots on a table and then to plant them in the rockery when they have finished flowering and I can see where all the other bulbs are. I have made notes, but will I be able to find them in the autumn?x

  3. I also love the comment about hoping plants stop growing at the right height! I am looking for low growing plants to fill in the dirt next to the house, hoping for more than a ground cover but less than a shrub, must be able to tolerate full sun, dry conditions, and ideally be native or at least valuable for pollinators and other critters. Your woodland area looks so peaceful and calming! I love it!

    • Pauline says:

      Hi there, the shrubs were all sold as being dwarf varieties so I’m hoping they were telling the truth!I too like most of my plants to be of benefit to the wildlife that is around me, in fact the garden is my own little nature reserve, where all are welcome. It does try my patience though when deer come and prune my roses, rabbits prune my acers and moles leaves their molehills on the lawn! The woodland is a very peaceful place to be, it is my favourite part of the garden.

  4. Cathy says:

    I hadn’t realised your rockery was quite as extensive, Pauline! You have worked hard to get a balance, both seasonally and between bulbs and shrubs. A three-dimensional jigsaw puzzle is a good way to describe it – albeit one without a picture of the finished article!

    • Pauline says:

      Ah, but Cathy, the picture is in my head, I can see it all in glorious technicolour! Just a bit more planting for later in the year and then I think I’ll be happy with it.

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