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How to Plan Your Naturescape: Hannah's Rock Garden

On that same wintery day in January 2009 when Rebecca’s Southern Exposure natural landscaping project started to take shape, Hannah took on the plant design of the rock garden that we had set-up earlier in the year.

We moved the rocks in and planted a couple grass Estate Plugs™ during the summer, but didn’t know really what we wanted to do with the raised bed.  So we took the opportunity of time to work some of the weeds out of the soil.  This south side raised bed is 24 feet long and 5 feet wide.

Site Characteristics

  1. This raised bed drains and dries out more quickly than the surrounding soil.
  2. Southern exposure, not as hot as the south side of the office.
  3. 16 inch annual precipitation (Foothills).
  4. Soil is a silt-loam with good water holding capacity.

Ideas to Guide the Project

  1. Use Foothill and Mountain plants that are especially drought tolerant.
  2. Want some diversity of plant textures in this area as well as contrasting colors and extended color.
  3. Want shorter, rock crevice type plants; and we will use what we have available!
  4. We can easily supplement with hand watering if one or the other native species looks too dry later in the summer.  With the drought tolerant species we are using here, we do not think we will have to irrigate much, but we will be watching the plants as we enjoy them and hand water if they might need it maybe once or twice a summer.
  5. We want the rock garden to be filled in by Mid-late summer, so we are planting more rather than less plants.  We will thin out as needed in the future.  If you want a sparser look or are willing to take more time you can plant fewer plants.
  6. Because the area is small, Hannah plans to control weeds with hand weeding.
Native Species Plant Type
5 Festuca idahoensis Idaho Fescue grass
5 Festuca ovina Sheep Fescue grass
6 Pseudoroegneria spicata Bluebunch Wheatgrass grass
3 Schizachyrium scoparium Little Bluestem grass
7 Eriogonum heracleoides Wyeth Buckwheat perennial
6 Eriogonum microthecum Rock Buckwheat perennial
10 Eriogonum umbellatum Sulfur Buckwheat perennial
7 Eriophyllum lanatum Oregon Sunshine perennial
3 Ionactis alpine Lava Aster perennial
6 Linum lewisii lewisii Lewis’ Blue Flax perennial
10 Monardella odoratissima perennial
5 Penstemon acuminatus Sand Penstemon perennial
5 Penstemon davidsonii Davidson’s Penstemon perennial
2 Penstemon fruiticosus Bush Penstemon perennial
2 Sphaeralcea munroana Munro’s Globemallow perennial
82 Total Plants  

Check back in a couple months to see the progress on Hannah's Rock garden natural landscaping project.

Shop for Foothills and Mountain plants.


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