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  Section: Landscape Gardening
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Rock Garden

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Rock garden is an interesting feature in the garden. The common plan of heaping together stones, minerals, and little soil into grotto-like structures is not a rock-garden. Laying of rock garden is to bring nature in home. In nature rock serves as flower pots. So any attempt to imitate this natural condition should have naturalistic approach.

Selection of Site:
The site should be as far removed from a formal environment as possible. It is better to keep it away from trees, green houses, hedges and other artificial surroundings. It should be in full light and sunshine for most of the day. Avoid water-logged areas, position between two houses etc.

Types of rocks:
Rocks of different shapes and sizes are required in rock garden. The best material is fairly soft stone that will absorb moisture encouraging plants to grow. Local stones, if available, are the cheapest. Several kinds of artificial stone are also available. They can be painted with iron sulphate. Whatever type of rock but it should be 2-3 feet long (and nearly as broad) having good side pockets in between.

Preparation or laying rock garden:
The actual outline and dimensions of rock garden depen<4$ on the site chosen. Start at the bottom of the rock garden bedding some of the largest pieces fairly deep in the ground. All rocks should be tilted slightly backward so that rain water runs down to the roots of the plant. The pockets for the plants should be 12-18 inches deep and filled with good soil and good drainage material like coarse sand, rock chippings etc. Keep some chippings, granites to dress the soil after planting. The rock garden may take shape of a mountain or a rock crest or a stony slope of a hill.
Whatever the plan but it should have a definite scheme. Rocks of different shapes are combined to give a definite shape which should not end abruptly. It should gradually merge into general surface of the ground, with a few of rocks on the level.

Depending on the plants composition of soil pockets will vary. Lime tolerate species should have:
a) 2 parts by bulk of good fibrous loam;
b) 1 part by bulk of peat or leaf soil;
c) 1 part by bulk coarse sand;
d) 1/2 part by bulk rotted manure;
e) 1/2 part by bulk lime-stone chippings or rubbles;
f) Dusting of bonemeal.

Acid loving calcifuged soil is made up of:
a) 1 part by bulk good loam;
b) 1 part by bulk coarse sand;
c) 1 part by bulk rotted leaf soil.
A pool or water fall or fountain may be built in. There are pumps in the market which enable the same water to be used again and again.
For planting: Take out the plants from pots, pack the roots with compost, force into the crevices and push next stone above it.

Some important plants for rock-garden:
1. Campanula arvatica and other species.
2. Dranthus deltoides, D. alpinus etc.
3. Gentiana acaulis
4. Potentilla fruticosa
5. Sedum spathulifolium
6. Semipervirum schepanii
7. Viola cornuta
8. Phlox subulata etc.

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