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Rockery alternative?

I have an oak tree in the top corner of my garden with a little sloping land around it and really wanted to use that space for a rockery but after looking into it it's just not something I can realistically afford ☹ I do have some rubble though and about 6 rockery stones I can get from my mum's. Do you think it would be viable to use the rubble and make one that way or will it just look naff and therefore pointless doing it? 


  • wild edgeswild edges Posts: 10,180
    If you get plants that spread well then you'll barely see the rocks after a couple of seasons. If you're after something to display choice alpines though then getting the setting right is more important.
    Tradition is just peer pressure from dead people
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 86,980
    I'm concerned that in the autumn, the leaf fall will be difficult to clear from a rockery, and you certainly don't want a layer of wet leaves over alpines. 

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • LoxleyLoxley Posts: 5,565
    A fern collection with a few tough woodland perennials might look more in keeping (and your rockery stones will look good with that too, along with any fallen logs you might be able to get hold of). 
    See the source image
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 86,980
    edited March 2021
    I like that idea @Loxley 😃 

    it’s similar to what we call the Wilderness under our big ash tree. 

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 34,740
    avoid the " currant bun " look at all costs. 
    A proper rockery should  be mostly rock.
  • JennyJJennyJ Posts: 10,118
    Most alpine/rockery plants like sun too - under a tree won't be good for them. Ferns would be better, with or without rocks. Maybe interplant with some small spring-flowering bulbs and perennials like brunnera and pulmonaria that will do their thing in spring and will take summer shade when the tree is in leaf, and then the ferns would take over for summer interest. I would give the rubble a miss though.
    Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Soil type: sandy, well-drained
  • wild edgeswild edges Posts: 10,180
    There are alpines that like a bit of shade but most tend to like moisture as well so you'd have to be careful about your soil mix and how much the tree will dry the ground out then pick plants to suit. Find a specialist nursery like this one and ask them for plant advice. You can always lay netting over it in the autumn to catch the worst of the leaves. Chuck a wanted post on Freecycle for rockery stones and you never know what could come up. 
    Tradition is just peer pressure from dead people
  • edhelkaedhelka Posts: 2,350
    Check Facebook or Freecycle for free stones. In our area, there are always many.
  • I don’t know if anything will grow under an oak tree. I read that there is something in the sap and leaves that stop plants growing near. It might be a good idea to check it out before buying plants. A seat would be my thoughts for under there. Valerie 
  • PlantyPruPlantyPru Posts: 142
    Thanks everyone. Some food for thought there! 
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