Re-vamping Rockery advice needed!

I really want to plant some creeping plants like phlox or aubrieta in our rockery, only problem being is that the place has been taken over by ferns and pesky orange flowered poppies... they are everywhere!

I have removed as many as I can get to, but some are so deep rooted under stones and in deep crackes and crevices in the walls that I just cant get to them manually.

Would spraying a weedkiller work in killing them off, or could I pour salt in the cracks and crevices. I really want to clear them off so I can start preparing the soil for the new planting.

Also, the soil in the rockery is really heavy clay, nothing much can grow in it. I have managed to dig out some part of it to its foundations which are really solid and compacted... could I ask when I replace the top soil, in order to improve the drainage should I put in a layer of stones or grit? I am just worried that it will water log as there is nowhere for the water to go! First time gardener so advice is appreciated!







  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 43,675

    Bumping upimage

    No-one knows if you've done your housework, but everyone knows if you've done your gardening !
  • shirlsgwshirlsgw Posts: 30

    Hi Bonnieweething,

    Appreciate it can be tricky getting roots out of a rockery situation (have lifted the rocks completely many times over the years. Suggest a fine fork tools could help you get deep. My fav weeding tool is this one 

    Don't know about the orange poppies but would stop them flowering and setting seed by pulling flower buds off then would try and lift all their roots too.

    Would worry about using weed killers (for future plants you do want to grow) if you were treating the whole area. Perhaps one of the stick/pen type weed-killers would work the best (no experience of use there).

    As for your clay soil (not something I have ever gardened in) but I'd say it is completely the opposite side of soil type that you need for rockery (& alpine) plants which thrive on free draining soil. I'd suggest you make up a 50:50 mix of grit and topsoil to replace the soil you have lifted image

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