Native Plant Garden: Rock garden expansion

Harebells and hairy beardtongue in rock garden
Harebells and hairy beardtongue in rock garden

This natural rock outcrop in front of the barn had long been planted with chives (many, many self-seeded chives), dragon’s blood sedum and a small patch of gold acre sedum. Last year I started its transformation into a native plant garden by taking out some of the chives and adding field pussytoes, early saxifrage, hairy penstemon, harebells, blue-eyed grass and pale corydalis. I also added a clump of the non-native Sedum sieboldiana for some autumn bloom.

I know gold acre sedum is an invasive but it seems to be a problem on limey soils. I have never seen it move onto granite outcrops. It is not something I would choose to plant but it doesn’t seem necessary to remove the patch we have.

The new plantings grew so well, and the pussytoes and early saxifrge looked so great this spring. that I was inspired to extend the garden so that I could add more native species. Removing the sod between the two outcrops was heavy work. Planting the little wild flowers was the fun part. I have not yet filled up all the space, which is exciting. Room for some new things as I find sources for them!

The expanded rock garden
The expanded rock garden

The baby plants in the picture include wild lupines, nodding prairie onion, pale penstemon, goat’s rue and the lovely non-native flower called gas plant, Dictamnus. I have some bluets, some bird’s foot violets, and some cardinal flower to add as soon as they get large enough to plant out. I was hoping to have some ziggy, or white camas, but my attempt to grow it from seed went askew. It seems when ziggy seedlings go wrong they turn into timothy grass. Who knew?

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Published by

Trish Murphy

Artist: botanical, still life, and natural history illustration. Garden designer: native plants and naturalistic gardens