New life for a neglected 'rockery'.

triciakatetriciakate DerbyshirePosts: 13
A fairly small bank in the garden we took over 18 months ago consists of random rock placed on the surface of soil that seems close to neat clay. I can enroll my adult children as rock movers but I need advice on what we should add to the soil to achieve something in which alpines (nothing too delicate) will be happy to grow.
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  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 55,118
    Alpines don't need rich soil, they tend to grow best in free draining pretty impoverished gritty soil 

    This may be helpful

    https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?pid=837 


    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh







  • DampGardenManDampGardenMan Posts: 1,057
    As @Dovefromabove says alpines ain't going to work in a clay soil. I don't think you could "add to it" - you'd have to excavate most of it and replace it with a very gritty compost, which, presumably, even with a small bank could be rather expensive.

    I'd lose the rocks and just plant things that like clay (e.g. gernaniums, hellebores, possibly hostas, foxgloves, sedums) and have a nice flowery bank that way.


  • raisingirlraisingirl East Devon, on the Edge of Exmoor.Posts: 3,529
    I have euphorbias, erigernon, helianthemum and agapanthus all growing in a clay bank using stones to form pockets and having dug in quite a lot of grit. Sedums seems to grow perfectly well even in the clay as long is they don't sit in water (which the bank helps). But all of these want it to be very sunny - you don't say if that's the case.

    I also have a shady bank with primulas, pulmonaria, foxgloves, honesty, hardy fuschia, ferns and a couple of hostas.
    It's hard to love, there's so much to hate
    Hanging on to hope when there is no hope to speak of
  • UpNorthUpNorth South Leeds, West Yorkshire, UK Posts: 318

    I also have a shady bank with primulas, pulmonaria, foxgloves, honesty, hardy fuschia, ferns and a couple of hostas.
    That sounds fab.  May I steal this idea and claim it as my own? 
  • plant pauperplant pauper Posts: 6,236
    UpNorth said:

    I also have a shady bank with primulas, pulmonaria, foxgloves, honesty, hardy fuschia, ferns and a couple of hostas.
    That sounds fab.  May I steal this idea and claim it as my own? 
     :| That's what I was thinking...
  • raisingirlraisingirl East Devon, on the Edge of Exmoor.Posts: 3,529
     :) I think it should properly be attributed to Carol Klein from an episode of GW a few years ago. I won't tell anyone if you don't
    It's hard to love, there's so much to hate
    Hanging on to hope when there is no hope to speak of
  • plant pauperplant pauper Posts: 6,236
    I'm "making it mine" by adding bluebells and sweet woodruff if they ever germinate. :smile:
  • triciakatetriciakate DerbyshirePosts: 13
     Raisingirl, you have pointed out the most important question, - my bank is fairly shady. It is quite small - about 2 metres long. I have several of your suggestions on the sunny side of my garden, and thanks to you and the others I have ideas for my bank now.

  • hogweedhogweed Central ScotlandPosts: 3,933
    Foxgloves and honesty might look a bit out of place in a 'rockery'. The lower growing plants would be fine. Depends if you are going to remove the rocks and just turn it into a shady bank or if you want to keep the rockery vibe going. If you want to keep the rockery vibe going, then grow low growing perennials like vinca minor, some saxifrage will do well in part shade, smaller hostas, smaller ferns, cyclamen, heucheras which come in many colours etc. but keep away from true alpines that need to grow in direct  sun. 
    'Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement' - Helen Keller
  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 3,171
    If it's a shady bank, consider evergreen ground-cover plants with many sizes in leaves to mix the interest. Bergenias offer lovely varieties of deep pink to white flowers, the leaves are large rounded and often turning red. Beesia Calthfolia has round yet toothed edge highly glossy marbled evergreen leaves and delicate white late spring flowers. The leaves often changes to red tones too. Low growing Sweet Violets, Viola Odorata will colonise spaces where it is damp and shady.
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