Planting a Scree Garden – Suitable Scree Garden Plants

geranium in the scree garden

Planting the Scree Garden

You may wonder how the plants for your scree garden, are going to grow with 25cm (10 inches) of gravel or chippings between them and the soil. Plants which have grown in pots will have soil round their roots and when planted amongst the stones in the usual way and to the usual depth, will have access to the moisture held by the stones. This will support the plant roots for a short while during the growing season and encourage them  to grow downwards in the search for more moisture and food. By comparison, in ordinary soils, plants tend to spread their roots in all directions, rather than just downwards. So you can see that if water is allowed to flow freely down from the top to the bottom of the scree this will further encourage growth of roots and top branches with no danger of flooding and further, that in the cold and wet seasons drainage, particularly round the necks of plants, will be perfect. In fact you will have built a modified form of what nature intended.

In planting a scree garden, you have a great variety of alpines to choose from. As a scree garden is viewed from  above, the bewildering effect of a variety of shapes and colours can be overcome if you plant only three or four species of particularly spiny shrubs, in a few bold groups, adding details of colour and shape from individual plants in the intervening gaps. With a bigger site you can increase the individual numbers of your favourite species.

There is no need to fill every space available. The principle of allowing spaces for further plantings later on still applies. Moreover, avoid the situation where you cannot see the stones, through over-planting.

Plant an occasional conifer in your scree garden, but not so many as on other sites otherwise, with their late growth and long lives, they will dominate the scene. Be careful to use trailing plants to good effect; do not allow them to swamp the cushion and mat plants. The latter are ideal for the overlapping edges between any formal paving and the scree but do not grow plants over the edges of grass, or they are bound to be chopped off during mowing and edging operations. It is better to plant the dwarf shrubs a little way in from the edge and mat plants even further in.  Although most plants tend to grow towards the sun allow them to spread in all directions equally. Plant groups of the same species leaving enough space between them to allow for more than ten years growth.

Rosette-type plants such as Lewisia can be planted between stones. They must be placed vertical to the ground otherwise water will rot the rosettes. This is equally true for planting in other situations but in a scree rosettes depend on closely placed stones to enable them to grow at all.

26. September 2010 by Dave Pinkney
Categories: Gardening Ideas, Scree Gardens | Tags: , | Comments Off on Planting a Scree Garden – Suitable Scree Garden Plants


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