Thursday, August 18, 2016

Creating a Rock Garden

For my August 2016 Bloom Day post, I am featuring the flowers in my newly planted rock garden. We realized we would need several retaining walls when our house was being built and looked at several options.  Our home is in a rural area with a very natural woodsy setting so we thought a plain concrete wall was too industrial looking.  The decorative do-it-yourself decorative concrete blocks screamed suburbia and didn't seem like a good fit, either.  We thought about a natural rock wall, but assumed it would be too expensive.  We finally decided to get some bids and were pleasantly surprised to learn that a rockery was less expensive than either a poured concrete retaining wall or concrete blocks.  Unlike the do-it-yourself concrete blocks that would have taken us weeks of back-breaking work to finish ourselves, a rock wall was installed within a couple of days with all of the work done by someone else!

New Rock Walls June 2016
Next the fun for me began as I searched for bargains and freebies to fill all of those nooks and crannies to create rock gardens.  It was a bit of a challenge because I was seeking some of my favorites that attract hummingbirds and pollinators that aren't always easy to find.   I managed to find many and about 3 months later I was delighted to find several plants blooming on August 15th....

Missouri Primrose (Oenothera macrocarpa)
The lighting wasn't very good, so it doesn't really show the true color of this Missouri Primrose with its huge bright yellow flowers.

Columbine (Aquilegia) "Little Lanterns"
Another of my finds is Columbine "Little Lanterns", a dwarf columbine that is native to the Eastern US with flowers that are similar in appearance to Aquilegia canadensis that is native to my area. Its smaller size works great in a rock garden and it is still blooming and being visited by the hummingbirds in August.

Heuchera "Ruby Bells"
Heucheras are increasingly being used for their beautiful foliage but rather insignificant flowers. I still love the old-fashioned "Coral bells" which are now becoming more difficult to find.  "Ruby Bells" is a variety that has relatively large bright pink flowers that hummingbirds love.

Dragon's Blood Sedum (Sedum spurium)
Of course it was not difficult to find Dragon's Blood Sedum from various sources, including some freebies from gardening friends.  The fact that it is common doesn't make it any less delightful for me when I see it blooming.

Sedum "Lime Zinger"
A newer variety of sedum that is blooming, is Lime Zinger.

Pacific Tree Frog (Pseudacris regilla)
Although not a flower and the photo is out of focus, I wanted to include another reason I'm glad we chose natural rock retaining walls.  I love the habitat the rock gardens are providing for wildlife including numerous tree frogs like this one.

 Thank you to May Dreams Gardens for hosting the monthly garden blog hop.  Be sure to visit the other gardens this month! 

If you are interested in creating a rock garden, here are some resources that I found to be helpful.


  1. Beautiful. I love when natural is mingled in with man's hand. The rock gardens are delightful and I am sure they will bring you much joy throughout the years to come.

  2. In the garden of a house we once had the previous owner had built a rock garden which contained nothing but samples of heather. Didn't know a simple display of one type of plant could be so effective!

  3. That garden rock wall looks nice. It gives a yard some character.

  4. I love rock gardens. Rocks are a nice backdrop to plants.