Plants for Sunny Positions
Very attractive on the sloping ground of the rock garden at all times of the year are certain grasses such as Festuca alpina, F. amethystina, F. glacialis, F. glauca, F. scoparia and other low-growing species as well as certain ornamental thistles, e.g. the Silver Thistle (Carlina acaulis) with its silvery-grey rosettes and other xerophilous plants suitably set out amidst the low, carpeting alpines to break the monotony of a single planting.
Also good for these positions are certain small shrubs such as Cotoneaster and Berberis, and of the small conifers chiefly the prostrate Junipers, such the Common Savin ( juniperus sabina 'Tamariscifolia') and the like.
The best plants for those parts of the rock garden comprising light-colored stones are species with dark green foliage, resistant to sun and drought of course, and for the parts consisting of dark colored stones ones with grey, silvery or grey-green foliage, which, however, must not predominate When the grey-leaved plants spread they make whole carpets and form an effective contrast to the dark stones.
Stone crevices and small spaces in sunny situations are effectively planted with various species of Stone- crop (Sedum) and whole groups of Houseleek (Sempervivum). If there is a situation in full sun which has porous soil with a slight content of lime and an admixture of clay and sand it is possible to successfully cultivate hardy Prickly Pears (Opuntias). There are many more plants commonly grown in the garden that are suitable for planting on slopes and rock gardens in the sun. These include the perennial Pinks (Dianthus), Chalk Plants (Gypsophila), Purple Rock Cress (Aubrieta) Madwort (Alyssum), Thyme (Thymus) and others that flourish and do well in such places.
Shade for the Garden and Rock Garden
Some gardens, especially old well established ones, have many shaded places, which can be used to advantage for plants that either like partial shade or else tolerate complete shade very well. The degree of shade varies, and in order to select the most suitable species for the given spot it is necessary to assess the shade correctly, both as to density and duration, for the latter also has considerable influence on the growth of the plant.
The soil in these shady situations can always be improved; it is even possible to achieve a sufficiently thick layer of humus. Certain older trees, such as Elms, Ashes, Birches and Maples, however, soon spread their roots even in this layer of loose soil thus using up the moisture and food material it contains, leaving only slight nourishment for the small plants and causing poor growth and tiny flowers.
It is interesting that almost all the so-called shade- loving plants like some light and their growth endeavors to reach it. The well known Ivy (Hedera helix), for instance, although planted in the shade always tries to climb upward towards the light, where it spreads its blossoms. The beautiful Clematis alpina of the European Alps and C. macropetala of the Himalayas, both love shade on their roots but grow towards the light and thrive best and flower in full sun.
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