Mini rock gardens in the garden - ways to organize and select plants
Imitations of mountain landscapes and corners of rocky terrain have always been a favorite motive in the design of gardens. Alpine hills and rockeries with us, unlike Western design, have never gone out of style. They are still considered one of the most prestigious and elite ornaments of the site. Not everyone can afford to break a full-fledged rocky hill or a flat rock garden. Where there is not enough space for a large rockery, a mini-format comes to the rescue - an idealized miniature copy that does not lose the charm of mountain nature and its special plants.
- Mini format for a large mountain landscape
- Choosing a place and arranging mini-rock gardens
- Types of mini rock gardens
- Plants for alpine hills and rockeries in miniature
Mini format for a large mountain landscape
Each garden owner dreams of luxurious rose gardens, noisy ponds, spectacular alleys, lush hedges and royal flower gardens ... Dreams of classic garden objects are often broken into reality - a limited area of the site on which you can’t fit everything you want.
Sometimes less functional compositions have to sacrifice and seek compromises. But there are also pleasant alternatives to our usual options. One of the ways to decorate the garden with a special corner, even with an extremely limited area, is to reduce the size and create an imitation of the dream in the “mini” format.
One of the most popular objects for experimenting with the reduction format is Alpine slides. Allocate a whole area under the rockery or alpine hill, refuse in favor of the rocky landscape of flower beds or a platform for a lawn, garden, orchard, recreation area, not many are decided.
Rock gardens, as well as ponds, is another favorite garden motif. They are very flexible, make a vivid impression and always create a special atmosphere if they are arranged and decorated correctly - regardless of the style, size, selection criteria of plants and the complexity of care.
The rock garden and rockery can be stretched to the entire site, or just to a whole huge zone with a walking area, you can combine it with a pond or relaxation area, pay tribute to the classics, or you can play in mountain landscapes in a miniature format.
Rock gardens and their species have long ceased to conform to established patterns. To create a rocky garden, it is not necessary to build a hill according to all the canons, planting slopes with vegetation. In the union "plants + stones" there is so much room for imagination!
Rock gardens can be equipped even in small bowls, troughs, and pots, by building a portable ensemble and being inspired by fashionable potted gardens. And you can arrange the same mini-miracle, only without constant care, additional protection and hassle, creating a mini-rock garden in the garden - a composition with a mountain character, but with a very limited area.
Mini-rock gardens are the same compositions with a mountain landscape, only on a really very limited area. They allow you to recreate your favorite landscape, using even the smallest space, a tiny corner or a single boulder stone - that is, as much space as you can allocate to them.
They are created according to the same rules, principles and standards, with the same plants, rock and decor as the large alpine hills and rockeries. It’s just that the mini-landscape looks pastoral, idealized, almost toy-like and becomes in itself a subject of decor and an accessory in the design of the garden.
Mini rock gardens are one example of a "forgotten old." Ideal mini-landscapes, which offered to admire the perfect combination of plants in tiny, but very cute compositions, were in fashion almost a century ago. It was from mini-rock gardens, arranged in small gardens or as a “highlight” of the recreation area, that mobile stone gardens and rock gardens in the interior and greenhouse were born.
Choosing a place and arranging mini-rock gardens
Basic rules for choosing a place and arranging a rock garden in mini-format:
- If you decide to plant a mountain garden not in troughs or pots, but in the soil, while leaving the same miniature area, then choosing a place is a key success factor. A small rockery or rock garden should be perceived as an original design touch and a special decoration of the site. This means that you need to place it in the most prominent and eye-catching place. Mini-rock gardens are an excellent option for decorating a terrace or flower beds adjacent to it, a relaxation area, taken out to the garden, a front garden, a special corner by the main walkway or the territory closest to the house.
- Miniature mountain objects are created only in sunny, warm and dry places without the risk of stagnation of water.
- By placing a mini-rock garden, it’s worth creating a harmonious transition to the panorama that opens in the chosen place: the alpine slide should not look “alien” in the landscape. A small stone lined with succulents in the middle of a huge platform or near a paved terrace will be perceived as something strange. Mini-size rock gardens create as a decorative adornment, tied to the most vivid appearance and focal point. Most often, it is broken with reference to shrubs or solo plants, large compositions that seem to protect or create a background for a miniature mountain composition.
- The stones and the foundation for the mini rock garden should always come first. In the beginning, it is the stone elements of the composition that are selected, placed and processed, and only plants are selected for them. Of course, the breed must match the terrain and the rest of the garden.
- For mini-rock gardens use medium-sized healthy delenki. Plants are planted in already prepared soil (or after it has filled the cracks between the stones and cracks in the stones).
- Soil and drainage for mini rock gardens are critical. Unlike large compositions, full-fledged “layers” for alpine hills in a mini-format are not created, they are just imitations broken in ordinary garden soil. So that mountain plants and succulents feel good, it is necessary to take care of the preparation of the soil. Around the perimeter of a small alpine hill or rockery you need to lay a good layer of drainage. The excavated soil is mixed with sand and small pebbles or other loosening additives, creating as light, loose and permeable substrate as possible. If we are talking about planting in a stone trough, the minimum soil layer is from 10 to 15 cm. If the substrate is filled with cracks and cracks in stones or dry walls, then it is made up of equal parts of peat, compost and sand, or a ready-made substrate for succulents is used.
- Decorative mulching is a must in the creation of any rock garden in miniature. Stone chips and pebbles allow you to complete the composition and give them a more natural beauty.
Types of mini rock gardens
Miniature compositions flirting with mountain landscapes can be anything. It all depends on scale, place and imagination. You can limit yourself to just the simplest option, starting from a single boulder, or you can really try to create a smaller copy of a full-fledged alpine hill.
The most popular types of miniature mountain landscapes include:
- Planted Boulder - The easiest option mini-rock garden. The one and only spectacular boulder near which the effect of mountain vegetation was created can be the highlight of the design by the terrace or recreation area. It is placed as a visual peak of the composition, surrounded by plants that emphasize its beauty, and playing with small stones and stone chips for a more natural transition.
- A small dry wall with plants in the crevices between the stones. Flexible and unpretentious mountain plants peeping from the cracks, planted in a minimum amount of soil, create, even with a small wall made of stone, a feeling of a mountain landscape. At the foot of this miniature have tiny mountain landscapes or an array of succulents and groundcover, creating a single composition.
- A mini-garden with stones of different sizes and a wide range of plants in a limited area is a mini-rockery. Available boulders and large stones are placed on the allocated tiny plot of soil, complementing them with spectacular plants so as to create a sense of complete composition. Miniature rockery is a kind of preview of a full-fledged composition.
- Rock garden - unlike a composition with a garden around any boulder, this mini-rock garden can be created only if you can get the appropriate stone block. Loose, non-solid rocks like limestone and sandstone with a huge number of bumps, cracks, crevices and chips can be an excellent basis for playing with the motives of mountain gardens. It is in the bumps on the block that the selected plants are planted in the minimum amount of nutrient soil.
- Garden in a stone trough create almost like a mobile or potted rock garden. This option can be realized only if you have at your disposal a large stone trough with a cavity inside or a stone block with a specially hollowed out space for planting. Natural stone troughs are widely represented in garden centers of Europe as one of the main elements of country style, they are less common in our country, but you can still find different shapes and different sizes. Most often, such troughs are made of sandstone or granite. A dense group of alpine cultures and succulents are planted in nutrient soil, which together fill the inner space. This is the most “artificial” view of all mini-rock gardens. Stone troughs can be replaced with a constructed square, circle or rectangle of dry walls, the inner space of which is filled with a dense group of plants.
Plants for alpine hills and rockeries in miniature
For compositions of the mini format, plants that recreate mountain landscapes will have to be selected more carefully than for ordinary alpine hills and rockeries. They should have a spectacular appearance, create striking combinations, be distinguished by increased drought resistance and durability. They are selected so that the small rock garden looks attractive all year round - in spring, and summer, and in autumn, and even in winter under snow, and the mass of plants and their growth are not out of control even after years.
Flowering succulents with their fleshy, juicy leaves and shoots that can store water, which will simplify the maintenance of the compositions, remain the absolute favorites for mini-rock gardens. Stonecrops, rosary, saxifrages, aeonium, Rowley's godson, delosperm and juvenile are species that allow you to play with a decorative effect, and choose textures, and at the same time not lose out even for the smallest options.
One of the most beautiful shrubs, which is suitable for mini-compositions with minimal landscaping, is the pine forest wolfberry. Growing, it forms stunning pillows and cascades, creating a surprisingly spectacular symbiosis with stones and boulders at the peak of pink bloom.
Near the mini-rock garden you can plant any miniature coniferous or creeping evergreen shrub. The main thing is to choose dwarf varieties that even after a dozen years will not exceed a height and diameter of 50 cm.
Of the herbaceous perennials for mountain mini format compositions, it is better to choose time-tested and hardy plants. They look great on small alpine hills in rockeries and just around the boulders, perennial flax, saxifrage petroraggia, Douglas phlox, common cross, shave, euphorbia myrtifolia.
If you need to choose plants that did not change or almost did not change their size and made it possible to predict the development of mini-rock garden with ease, then it is worth paying attention to the minaret tile or dwarf, rock aurinia, cauliflower, elegant clove, Iberian rock, saxifrage, juvenile , erinus alpine, armeria coastal, offspring breaker, edelweiss, erinus alpine.
If the task is to create the effect of a flowering carpet, it is difficult to find better plants for this than the bell of the Portenschlag and the soap-bearing basil-leaved. And for autumn accents in the mini-composition you can enter a stonecrop large or millet rod-shaped, whose lilac-orange-red dressing will also help mini-rock garden to become a participant in the autumn garden show.