How to Make a Container Rock Garden
Conventionally a rock garden is constructed on the garden floor with blocks or rocks of suitable sizes. A rock garden is a miniature form of mountains and valleys with flowers and foliage. Fountains, pools or lakes also could be there. Nowadays, a miniature form of rock gardens in rock pots/containers or the like are made in porches, on the roof tops or in shady places near a house. One has to stoop low to see and enjoy the low growing plants. To remove such inconvenience miniature rock gardens in troughs raised at a height of 40-60 cm have now become a part of container gardening.
Porcelain or cement concrete sinks which are generally used in laboratories are used for this purpose. Portable concrete cisterns which are available in the cement works can be used with an advantage. A hole for draining out water must be made at the bottom of such a cistern. Another type of container are flowerpots which are made with the small blocks or rock and cement. Such pots are literally called “rock pots”. But other containers such as sinks, troughs and cisterns are the pots or containers used for making rock gardens.
Classification of Containers:
The containers for making miniature rock gardens are grouped into five types. They are as follows:
- Natural stone trough
- Circular trough
- Billiard table
- Rock pot
- Sink pot
Natural stone trough: A large cistern like trough made with stone blocks and cement. It can be made on the ground or a bench like pedestal.
Circular trough: A large round pot is cut out of a large block of stone. Of the same shape and size cement cisterns are available in the cement works. A hole for draining out water must be made at the bottom of suck a trough or cistern.
Billiard table: This is made with the rejected wooden slippers of railway tracks. The top level is equal to the height of a table. And in most cases it is as large as a billiard table. Hence the name.
Rock pot: A pot with shape and size of a large flower pot which is made with the small blocks of stone and cement.
Potting compost for the rock garden should be light in texture. The following ingredients can be used to make a suitable compost
Wood ash/muriate of potash
Before filling the container with compost, check the drain hole which is indispensable. Crock the hole as usual. To do this place a piece of wire netting over the hole and then cover the netting with a lump of grit or stone chippings. Fill the pots with compost up to the rim. Then press the soil to make it compact; soil will go down thereby making a depression. Leave an empty space of few centimeters add more soil to reach its level. In other words the soil surface will remain 3-4 cm below the rim of the container. Now the pieces of stone will be planted (partly inserted) at places on the soil surface. The remaining place should be covered with stone chippings up to the rim just to give an appearance of a miniature valley. Therefore, the surface should have ups and downs represent a valley.
Select Varieties of Planting
Needless to say, the shade loving dwarf cultivar is highly suitable for container rock gardens. Conifers, through tall-growing, are used for this purpose. Very small plants of conifers are planted. If found quick growing, judicious, pruning becomes necessary. Shrubs and annual herbs having small leaves are suitable for this purpose. The scandent or sub scandent herbs which are suitable for hanging baskets are also preferred. Such plants should be planted near the rim so that their trailing branches can hang like a cascade along the side of the container.
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