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Jeff Calton sent in these beautiful images of a wild rock garden on one of his client’s properties. It is made up of huge limestone outcroppings covered with a rich green carpet of native plants. A great reminder that the ultimate teacher of garden design is Mother Nature… after all, she’s been at this a lot longer than any of us.
Though most of us don’t have giant limestone boulders in the garden, this natural scene could be easily recreated in a shady garden area by adding a few stones, understated perennials, and letting mosses establish themselves.
These beautiful mosses creeping over dramatic rocks are drought tolerant, pest free, deer proof, evergreen, refined, elegant and perfect. A good reminder that a garden doesn’t always have to be about dramatic burst of color. A little moss is sometimes all you need.
Three leaf stonecrop (Sedum ternatum, Zone 4 – 8) is one of the great, under-appreciated sedums. Native to a broad stretch of the Eastern US, it is one of the few sedums that actually thrive in shade. If you love the look of succulent foliage but don’t have much sun, or have a difficult dry shade area, this is the plant for you!
Pleopeltis polypodioides (Zone 6 – 9) has the common name of resurrection fern because if it gets too dry, the fronds turn brown and curl up on themselves. Then, when rain returns, they open right back up and carry on as before. That’s my kind of plant! It is found most often in the wild where it creeps over rocks as in the photo above, or, sometimes, it grows right up onto the trunks of trees.
Another view of the resurrection fern among the mosses.
One final dramatic shot looking up at a tree that has managed to find a root hold and thrive on the limestone boulders.