Choose from a multitude of plants
Create an evergreen mosaic in cracks and crevices with quick-spreading, easy-to-establish hens and chicks.
One of the charms of rock gardening is that while the plants are generally small, they often have large flowers. The pasque flower (Pulsatilla vulgaris
), with its showy, early blooms, is a perfect example. Others, such as campion (Silene schafta
) and maiden pink (Dianthus deltoides
), cover themselves in flowers.
Many rock garden plants are slow to establish, but there are also many quick-growing plants that can fill the garden in its early years, then be cut back or moved to another location as the garden matures. Rock soapwort (Saponaria ocymoides
) spreads easily in a low mat, as does creeping phlox (Phlox stolonifera
In a new rock garden, it’s nice to include some plants that will flower in their first year. Two of my favorites are basket of gold (Aurinia saxatilis
) and aubretia (Aubrieta
), which bloom simultaneously in early spring.
Spring and early summer are often the highlight of the rock-gardening year, as many plants are at their peak, but you can enjoy the other seasons as well. Snowdrops (Galanthus
spp.), the petite Crocus chrysanthus
, and the tiny hoop-petticoat daffodils (Narcissus bulbocodium
) are among the first to announce the arrival of spring. Penstemon and Sedum species, evening primroses (Oenothera
spp.), prostrate speedwell (Veronica prostrata
), and small daylilies (Hemerocallis
spp.) provide color throughout summer, while Aster species and cultivars and California fuchsias (Zauschneria
spp.) bloom in the fall.
For year-round interest, I like hens and chicks (Sempervivum
spp.). They are evergreen, often with colored foliage, and can be squeezed into cracks and crevices or used to fill holes in rocks.