Crevice gardening is a bit of a trend among gardeners at the moment. A crevice garden is built by partially burying wide, flat pieces of stone vertically, like the pages of a book, and filling the crevices between them with a well-drained soil mix. Little plants tucked into the crevices have their roots guided deep by the rocks on either side, so they become impressively drought tolerant, and the well-drained soil mix ensures that plants that hate wetness never sit in soggy soil and rot.
Last fall, I wanted to build myself a crevice garden in my new home in coastal Virginia, but I didn’t have easy access to the big flat stones I needed. And then I spied a couple of boxes of cheap flooring tiles on sale at the hardware store, and I got an idea.
I placed the tiles vertically in the soil, burying the ones at the ends quite deep so that they could support the whole structure. The center ones were just deep enough to hold their place until I could fill the spaces in between with soil.
To finish the crevice garden, I filled in with a mixture of sand and gravel, then topped it with a layer of gravel mulch. Plants from dry climates get the good drainage they crave, while those that want more water can have their roots guided deep by the tiles to access the moist, native, clay soil below.
This spring, the planted crevice garden is filling in and plants are thriving! The soil mix has settled some; I should have waited to plant and topped it up with more sand and gravel, but otherwise it looks good.
Echinocereus reichenbachii (hedgehog cactus, Zones 5–10) can take a lot of cold, but it hates sitting in soggy soil, which we have a lot of here in Virginia. It is thriving—and blooming—in the crevice garden.
Echinocereus dasyacanthus (Texas rainbow cactus, Zones 6–10) is thriving as well. The flower is beautiful, and there’s no need to worry about deer or rabbits nibbling on it!
Belium minutum (miniature mat daisy, Zones 5–9) is covered with cute, tiny daisy flowers. I’m only afraid that it is so happy it might take over the entire garden!
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Ahh, the human spirit...where there's a will, there'a a way. I bet it's very, very satisfying to know you have given the somewhat exotic cacti and the other "I hate soggy feet" plants a happy place to grow and thrive.
Nice garden, Joseph, and a clever way to build it.
Interesting! I personally "don't get" the crevice garden thing, but, I LOVE cacti and haven't figured out how to work them into my garden plans. Joseph, your spin has given me some good ideas. Thanks!
I appreciate the additional information about designing crevice gardens - thought the article recently in the magazine was also great. I haven't figured out a way to use the concept in our area, where there is bedrock just a short way below the surface unless you build a wall and back fill. I do like the varieties of succulents that can be grown. Thanks for this new take on the idea!
Thanks for showing us your project- inspirational!
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