There are stones magnificently majestic, like splendid monarchs, there are menacingly solemn, like strict bureaucratic people: there are whimsical, refined, as if painted beauties.
Among the stones there are those like dragons and phoenixes ... they seem to bend in bow or walk, spin or jump, scatter in different directions or stand in a crowd, support each other or fight with each other ...
Rockeries and rock gardens - what's the difference?
When you want to create something unusual, classic and ultra-fashionable in your garden at the same time, or you just want to have a corner on your site that is beautiful at any time of the year, then you should think about a rockery device. These rock gardens bring with them a sense of stability and poise.
According to the Chinese teachings of Feng Shui, stones enhance the influence of Yan - a strong, light and successful beginning. Therefore, regardless of which part of the garden you place the Rock Garden, in any case, some area of your life receives energy, which means it will improve.
In landscape design rockery or rock garden - a composition that is very strong in terms of its effect on the viewer, therefore, its creation must be approached carefully. You should decide for yourself for what purpose you want to acquire this composition, and, based on your goal, choose one of the options for rock gardens.
The classic rock garden is a collection of alpine plants, from exotic edelweiss to the Carpathian bell, housed in a flower garden imitating a mountain landscape. Depending on the assortment of plants, caring for a rock garden can be either very simple or extremely difficult.
Other types of stone gardens are called rockeries (from the English rock - rock), and you can place a variety of plants in them.
A rock garden is always a great opportunity for creativity, because this composition allows countless variations.
Types of rockeries
Garden rockeries are conventionally divided into three types according to the method of arrangement.
The first one is classic rockery (or rock garden), where plants are planted on a small hill, laid with stones. The advantage of the classic rockery is the ability to plant more plants than on a horizontal plane, as well as the attractiveness of its appearance, imitating a mountain landscape in miniature with ledges, cliffs, crevices and plateaus.
The second type of rockery - flat or horizontal... Its advantages include the fact that plants planted in it suffer less from drought in summer and frost in winter than plants planted in a raised or vertical rockery.
The third type of rockeries is stone or retaining walls... This type is very decorative in appearance and in addition to this, it can serve to divide zones in the garden, i.e. to be also functional, in addition to high decorative qualities. However, any type of rockery is decorative.
In the spring, the rock garden is the first to free itself from under the snow, as the stones accumulate heat. By planting early flowering bulbous plants such as snowdrops, lumbago or crocuses, the stone garden is eye-catching from early spring. The combination of fragile plants and stone is extraordinarily attractive, as they say, it takes the soul. And if you plant one or several evergreen conifers in the rockery - mountain views or elfin trees are desirable here - then not only until winter, but the rockery covered with snow will remain a decoration of your site.
Now, among the garden plants, a group is highlighted, which is usually recommended for planting in rockeries. They are united by comparative unpretentiousness, drought resistance, resistance to fading, compactness and short stature.
Any plant in rockery has its own functional purpose. So, creeping and ampelous species form carpets on sharp slopes, decorate defects, bows and grasses give the structure the appearance of a vertical uplift. Plants with a cushion type of growth (saxifrage) look best planted in a gap between two inclined slabs. Those with a carpet type of growth (thyme, subulate phlox) are best planted on flat open plateaus. Large specimens are placed in the background or at the foot of the slide.
When planting any plants, it is necessary to take into account their type and size in adult form, as well as their strength of growth and competitiveness, since then the stronger ones will suppress the weaker ones. All types of stonecrops are especially aggressive in this respect. These exotic and fragile-looking plants can become real dictators if they are not limited to a haircut.
The most, probably, the main thing, what distinguishes rockeries from an ordinary flower bed, is that although rockeries involves planting different plants together, nevertheless, here each of them can be considered separately. The alternation of plants with spike-shaped inflorescences and plants with flat flowers looks most effective.
You should strive to ensure that from early spring to late autumn flowering in rockeries does not stop. To do this, it is worth choosing such species and varieties that will bloom at different times, so that they can, as it were, pass the flowering baton to each other.
Basic rules for creating rockeries
Of course, the device of a rockery is a creative business, but there are also several prerequisites.
The first is shine. The ideal location for a rockery is where it gets sunshine most of the day.
Second - drainage... High humidity is categorically contraindicated, therefore, the place for rockery is chosen elevated, not flooded with melt water, and drainage is arranged on damp soils: 10-15 cm of coarse gravel or broken brick over the entire area of the future slide. Earthen mixture for rockeries should be moisture-absorbing and permeable on one side, for example, a mixture of turf and coarse sand (or turf, sand and peat 1: 1: 1).
The third prerequisite is complete no weeds: at the site of the future slide, the soil layer is removed and removed or carefully sieved from the rhizomes of weeds. Weeds that appear later are removed as soon as they are found. Without this condition, weed control in rockeries can turn into Sisyphean labor.
The basis of any rockery is stones, they set the basic tone and style of the whole composition. Rockery should be as natural as possible, therefore it is best to use local types of stone, homogeneous in structure, or sandstone.
River rounded stones and stone scrap with sharp edges are categorically not suitable - they look alien. Sandstone can even be used freshly broken, because it is aging rapidly. Granite boulders can be artificially aged: their surface is lubricated with a brush with a solution of food yogurt, and after a month or two, the stone is covered with lichens and moss.
Stacking stones - the most responsible part of the work, here you can not cheat. The stones should be laid as naturally as possible, in the form of a stepped slope, with cliffs, ledges and plateaus. If you find veined stones, you can arrange them so that the veins line up and form a "natural rock exit".
All laid stones are buried in the soil by a third or even half, but only so that the plants, growing, do not completely cover them. Under the largest boulders, so that they do not "drown" over time, they lay a foundation of gravel or asbestos-cement pipes. The soil mixture between the stones is poured gradually, pouring water over each portion so that voids do not form. Planting of plants begins after complete shrinkage of the soil, two weeks later.
Most of the plants used for rockeries are perennials, annual flowers are used, as a rule, for draping faded bulbs.
In order to make it easier to compose an assortment of plants for your rock garden, you can use the proposed table, which also indicates the time of their flowering, which will allow you to make rockeries bloom continuously from spring to autumn.
List of plants for planting in rockeries
|For sunny open spaces|
|Height, cm||Flowering time|
|Bows are different||10-50||May-July|
|Phlox shil ..||10-30||May June|
|For planting in semi-shaded areas|
|Height, cm||Flowering time|
|Mouse hyacinth||10-20||April May|
A. Kremneva, agronomist
Real photos of rockeries, made by hand
To make a rockery in the country, it is not necessary to turn to the services of professional landscape designers. You can think over and execute everything yourself. Proof of this are examples of rockeries made by the hands of amateur gardeners.
A small rockery with unusually selected stones and arranged in a pattern. Rockery with multi-colored filling, lined with patterns. Rockery with snag, arranged near the summer house. Dry stream in an ensemble with a small rockery. A stone garden decorated with a small architectural form in the form of a decorative mill .. Rockery incorporating structural wood into its composition. A stone garden built on self-isolation. A classic rockery that decorates the resting area. A true connoisseur of rockery. A dry lake with an island in the form of a rockery.
Selection of stones for rockeries
The main decorative element of rockeries is stones. When selecting them, certain rules must be taken into account, which are as follows:
- You should not choose freshly cut stones from the nearest quarry. The old, "wild" ones are preferable.
- Stones can be of absolutely any breed.
- The appearance of the stone should not be too bright, so as not to interrupt the attention from the rest of the composition.
- If the site already has elements of stones (paths, retaining walls), then in the rockery you need to choose stones of the same breed, texture and color.
- Stones are needed in different sizes, however, it should be noted that 1-2 boulders look spectacular than a scattering of small stones.
Old stones look "more profitable" than new ones
When buying or collecting stone, gardeners often make one mistake: they take a small amount, deciding that this is enough. One truth must be remembered: there is never enough stone. It will always come in handy in the design of rockeries, and the surplus can be used for other purposes.
When choosing and placing a certain type of stone in rockeries, one should take into account how it is located in nature.
If it is slate, then the composition should also imitate its natural layered arrangement. Granite is laid in rocks or boulders, limestone in small ridges.
Choosing the right place is the key to success
Not every pile of stones, chaotically decorated with planted plants, can be called a rockery. Before you start making a composition with your own hands, you should for it choose the right place.
An uneven surface will serve as an ideal base. It is very good if there are small drops and hills on the site. Even a small mound can be transformed into a picturesque cascade or dry scree.
If the surface is completely flat, then you can create flat stone compositions or make artificial relief drops.
Choosing a place for rockeries, you should remember:
- The composition should fit into the relief organically, combining with other elements into a single picture. For example, elevation changes, a decorative stream, an artificial pond, retaining walls.
- It is best to give preference to sunny areas. In this case, it will be possible to expand the selection of chic light-loving plants to create a flower garden.
- It is advisable not to place rockeries close to the house, since spring melting of snow can lead to the destruction of the composition.
- If the fence or buildings spoil the background of the composition, then they can be decorated with shrubs or bindweed.
It should be taken into account and mistakes when creating rockeries with your own hands:
- The beauty and naturalness of the composition will not be betrayed by chaotically scattered stones. Each boulder or stone should be determined by its own, carefully selected place. Best of all, stones should be of the same material, but of different sizes. In the absence of a height difference on the site, preference should be given to smooth boulders.
- It is necessary to create rockeries with your own hands responsibly, rush is inappropriate here... The structure of the soil plays an important role in the composition. It must be well compacted, and gravel must be poured under large stones. In this case, the stones will not settle. Also, the gravel will serve as drainage, which will rid the rockery of water accumulation. It is impossible to use construction waste instead of gravel, the planted plants from such a neighborhood may die.
- When stones are laid in rockeries, their most spectacular side is chosen. The largest stones should be stacked at the base. You can sometimes dig them into the ground. These stones will form the basis of the composition, and the small ones will emphasize the naturalness of the rockery. You can fasten them with a special glue or solution. Stones with sharp edges should not be used too much. They will cause a feeling of discomfort.
If the rockery turned out to be very small, then it can be expanded by gravel filling. Necessarily under such filling geotextile should be laid... It will inhibit the growth of weeds.
It is possible in rockeries between stones to make small passages of flat stones or slabs. This will greatly facilitate the care of the composition.
It is not necessary to cover the entire surface of rockery with stones. Its charm lies precisely in the alternation of stones. You should not pile up a lot of stones and, most importantly, you need to provide access to all corners of the composition.
How to create a flower garden with stones: the most popular types of rockeries
The creation of a harmonious rocky composition is often very difficult for gardeners. However, the desire to have such an interesting element of landscape design usually overpowers the uncertainty about the result. Especially for those who want to combine stones and flowers in their garden, the author of the book “Stylish flower garden. Popular encyclopedia "Rimma Karpisonova made a separate section on rockeries. But at the very beginning, let's decide which type of rocky garden is closer to you in spirit, corresponds to your climatic, soil conditions and personal capabilities.
Stones and flowers in the garden
Since the main stones in rockeries, it is worth starting with them. One of the important conditions is their uniformity. If in the rock garden some boulders that are not very suitable in style or texture can be masked with plants, then in the case of rockeries this technique does not work. All elements in it, even those in the background, are open and well visible. Therefore, one poorly chosen stone can disrupt the harmony of the composition.
The structure of rockeries should be as close as possible to natural nature. Having chosen a certain storyline, you should adhere to it in all details: landscape, texture of stones, type of vegetation.For example, if a body of water is included in the plot, it is better to use pebbles and rounded boulders, as if polished by water.
And if the rockery imitates a rocky landscape, rough, angular boulders will look more natural.
Advice. In order not to be mistaken with the choice of stones, you should pay attention to how they look in natural conditions. To do this, you can visit the area that you want to copy, for example, a rocky river bank or a mountainous region.
Rocky composition Czech rolling pin.
"Layered" alternative to complex projects (what is a Czech rolling pin, its elements and features)
Basic principles of creating layered rolling pins
How to create a Czech rolling pin
Plants for Czech rolling pin
Exclusive and rare plants for rolling pin decoration
Finishing touches for a layered rolling pin
It is no coincidence that compositions with stone become the main decorative object of the garden for many. Like water bodies, rocky slides and gardens are a triumph of style, a tribute to the charm of wild nature and islands of beauty that are completely special in their atmosphere. Among the rocky compositions that still remain a curiosity and have not become so popular, one of the most original options is the Czech rolling pin, which is simpler in structure and does not require preliminary work and special care. The rolling pin is an imitation of the layering of stone rocks, emphasized by hardy and rare plants.
Rolling pin - “layered” alternative to complex projects
Bringing the beauty of stone and hardy mountain plants to the garden, they get a special corner that you can admire and be proud of, because the arrangement rockery or rock garden - a clear testament to mastery in landscaping and thoughtful planning. Any rocky object in the garden is a tribute to the beauty of nature. And an attempt to imitate mountain landscapes is to recreate their beauty in summer cottages.
“Regular” compositions with stone recreate the beauty of talus, mountain slopes, valleys, cliffs, alpine meadows. And they are divided into only three types:
● special oriental-style stone gardens, the creation of which is dictated by philosophy and symbols
● rockeries or flat rock gardens (from simply added stones to flower beds to flower beds with stone mulch and complex imitations of mountain valleys with huge boulders and special plants)
● alpine slides - all relief stone compositions in which, with the help of stone, retaining walls, terraces and embankments, they create an imitation of uneven relief or use the natural unevenness of the site to create spectacular decorative ensembles, exclusively alpine plants are used for their landscaping.
Czech rolling pins, or layered rolling pins, are one of the “hybrids” of rock gardens and rockeries, in which flat stone slabs are laid on the edge, creating an imitation of layers in the rock. Observing the same slope and the nature of the location of the plates throughout the area, planting plants in the “cracks” between the layers, they recreate the image of a rock ridge captured by the wild.
Two key elements of the Czech rolling pin:
● limestone, flat stones of the same species, but of different thicknesses and sizes - dolomite, sandstone, shale, limestone, preferably with natural bedding (for example, limestone is perfect - flat layers for paving in a natural style)
● setting stones with a narrow side, on an edge, vertically or at an angle, parallel to each other.
Czech rolling pins do not use round “ordinary” stones and boulders, only flagstone and flat chips. The space between them is filled with stone mulch - it is better if it is stone chips of the same rock or at least similar in color, coarse sand, gravel, crushed stone.
An ensemble with a layered design can be recreated as a flat composition on a flat area, and as a composition on a natural slope. Rolling pins do not require any additional construction of supports, terraces, embankments: they play on the relief that is already in the garden. The engineering of Czech rolling pins is very simple: the same angles of different slabs, the observance of symmetry, geometry and severity of the arrangement define the character of the entire composition. The complex system of cracks between the slabs is a special environment for growing plants, but despite the possibilities of landscaping, stone always dominates in the Czech rolling pin.
Czech rolling pins appeared only in 2007 in the Czech Republic (therefore they are called Czech) and since then many have called them the most modern form of compositions with a stone. And it is no coincidence: the special shape of "cracks" between vertically placed stone layers creates protected conditions for plant growth, thanks to which the composition hardly needs to be looked after. It is believed that on Czech rolling pins, plants take root faster and grow better. Plus, it's also the most effective way to reinforce slopes without a lot of improvement work.
The best part about rolling pins is that there are simply no strict rules in the design of such compositions. If you adhere to a few basic principles, rolling pins can be created to your taste, of any size, guided by taste, experience and intuition, trying and changing the landscape as you wish. Individual stones or even fragments are easy to move, making constant transformations into the rolling pins. Yes, and the rolling pin breaks without monumental elements, complex communications, large construction work. In fact, to create a Czech rolling pin, all preliminary work comes down to a simple clearing of the area from debris and weeds.
Basic principles of creating layered rolling pins
1. Unlike a rock garden or rockery, which can be "fit" into the surrounding landscape very organically, placing it on a lawn, flower garden or as part of a composition near a reservoir, the rolling pin should always be a separate, independent composition. Creek (even dry), water, waterfall: This is a composition of only stone and plants.
2. The area of the rolling pin must be limited and separated - paths, borders, be sure to highlight it as a separate area. Usually, rolling pins are given a strict rectangular or other simple shape, limiting on one or several sides with a dry wall or "resting" on a fence, building or fence, and laying out stone curbs or planting a plant frame around the rest of the perimeter.
3. For the convenience of moving along the rolling pin, planting and caring for plants, it is advisable to lay comfortable paths. But the options for their design and paving are extremely limited. To maintain the character of the rolling pin, the paths should only be made as soft paths with mulch of the same kind of stone chips used to cover the soil between the layers of stones. Any options for paths with strict frames and paving in a rolling pin will look alien.
4. The method of setting the stone can be chosen according to your taste, but it will have to be kept unchanged throughout the rolling pin: flat stones are always installed on the edge, checking the parallelism to the slabs on the rest of the rolling pin. standing stones, but it is observed throughout the rolling pin and must remain the same. A "straight" rolling pin, with a slight slope or with almost lodging stones, looks different. To determine, you can put 2-3 flat stones at different angles in different places "for trial". from a distance it is easier to assess which option is more to your liking. And, of course, the sketch will only help the matter - especially since the stones at the same inclination are easier to draw than the complex landscapes of an ordinary rock garden.
5. In the rolling pin, it is necessary to preserve a vivid contrast of the firmness, massiveness of the stone with the airy fragility of plants with their special textures, forms of leaves and growth. And the stronger the feeling of laceiness, wildness and splendor in the selected cultures, the better. But in the color scheme, the path of direct contrast - the choice of plants that would stand out strikingly against the background of stone colors - is far from the best option. On the contrary, the Czech rolling pin is the only type of rockery in which it is better to play with the selection of shades of leaves and flowers that would resonate with the tones of the stone and create a harmonious, soft color scheme. Depending on the type of stone, the nuances of gray, white, brown, beige, yellow and reddish can be emphasized by flowering or decorative deciduous plants with harmoniously selected colors.
How to create a Czech rolling pin
Better to start creating a rolling pin in the fall, leaving landscaping for the spring. But if it is more convenient, all work can be divided into several stages in the middle of spring, after the soil thaws and before the heat.
Before taking on the installation of flat stones, you need to prepare the site. On the site set aside for the Czech rolling pin, you need to completely select all weeds, stones and other debris, and carry out a deep digging. You do not need to fertilize the soil: the soil surface should only be leveled and cleaned. Some of the fertile soil can be removed in order to prepare the substrate for planting later. The leveled area is evenly watered to shrink the soil, after drying, if desired, it is covered with non-woven materials to prevent the growth of weeds. The entire “bare” or film-covered area of the future rolling pin must be covered with a thick layer of sand (ideally, coarse-grained).
The selected stones must be sorted by size. They are placed on the future rolling pin, starting from the largest to the smallest, and for convenience it is better to group them right away. To support and fix stone slabs, you can use clinker bricks and small stones, and if the film was not laid, a partial deepening into the soil (dropping).
The largest flat slabs are transferred to the places of "visual peaks" - points of attraction of the gaze in the composition, set on the edge, for a vertical wall - under an almost imperceptible slope of 5-10 degrees, for a wall with an inclined pattern - at an incline of 40 to 70%. These are landmarks that set the laying lines and the drawing of the future rolling pin. The remaining stones, ranging from medium to the smallest, are placed at the same angle, parallel to the largest slabs, moving away from the landmarks. To create the effect of a mountain ridge, you need to gradually fill the space of the rolling pin, avoiding the uniform installation of the plates. Evaluating the composition from a distance, the stones are installed non-uniformly over the area, somewhere in large "solid" groups, close to each other, somewhere - leaving gaps for planting plants or large voids to simulate flat meadows, achieving the most striking relief and the effect of a natural rock ... The gaps between adjacent slabs are immediately covered with sand by about 50-70%.
The main thing in creating a Czech rolling pin is not to rush. Slabs installed on the edge should be allowed time to shrink. After installing all the stones, you need careful but intensive watering, after which you will have to wait 3-4 days to 2 weeks before continuing work, which is necessary to compact the sand and move the slabs.
The final stage in the arrangement of the Czech rolling pin is the creation of an environment for planting plants. Since each crevice can be filled with a different substrate, it is best to prepare soil mixes that perfectly match the tastes of the specific plant species you plan to plant. A universal option is a purchased substrate for succulents or a loose soil mixture obtained by mixing garden soil with compost and sand. The space in the crevices left after shrinkage is filled with soil, watering abundantly for compaction. After a few days, you can start planting the Czech rolling pin (if the stones are laid in the fall, the composition is left for the whole winter, starting to plant the plants only in the spring).