|ROCK WALL ONE|
|ROCK WALL TWO|
|ROCK WALL THREE|
|ROCK WALL FOUR|
|PLANTING ROCK GARDEN PLANTS|
|FIVE YARDS OF TOPSOIL FOR THE ROCK WALLS|
Tomorrow is the annual Bayfied in Bloom kickoff, with the Arbor Day tree planting in Memorial Park and its dedication to Jay Cablk at 9:00 AM, and Garden Talk Radio Show live at 11:30 at the Pavilion. Come if you can, or tune in.
I and my crew have just competed a huge rock garden planting at the lake shore, four rock walls totaling several hundred feet in length, and varying from several feet to twelve feet in height. Hundred of plants were used, mostly obtained from Hauser's Farms in Bayfield. The plants were freshly dug, and hardly out of the ground but a few hours.
There was an enormous amount of preparation involved, as the rock walls were full of weeds and grass and the planting crevices needed to be filled with decent soil. It is hard to photograph the completed job, as the creeping rock garden plants are small and won't stand out much until they are established and begin to flower.
Bayfield is mostly ancient beach shore and glacial till deposits, and when a foundation is dug for a residence or other structure glacial rocks and boulders of every size and description are unearthed and used in some way, and most hillside and lakefront properties have retaining walls of boulders, usually rolled into place by machine and individual rocks not really placed in any considered way. As you would expect, this leads to a lot of accidental rock gardens, and some, as these, much, much larger than anyone would otherwise construct. More often than not these poorly designed, constructed and planted rock walls end up being a hodgepodge of garden perennials, rock garden plants, and weeds.
We tried to make these walls pleasant and reasonably functional rock gardens. They will need maintenance when established but at least there will be a rationale to them, and they should be quite beautiful eventually.
The original concept behind classical rock gardens was that they were to be collections of rare plants that grew in mountainous regions, and at their best would mimic landscapes that the average person might not ever be able to visit; a sort of living museum of rare plants. Great gardens with rockeries still have that purpose, among them those at the Denver Botanical Garden and New York Botanical Gardens.
Over the centuries rock gardens became less scientific collections, and more simply colorful spots in the ordinary home landscape. I would say the rationale with these rock wall gardens is to solve some obvious landscape problems and turn the dubious into the pleasant, and hopefully the beautiful.
More about the project in tomorrow's post.