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Friday, June 13, 2008

Nooks & Crannies

When we first had our rock retaining wall installed around our pool, I never thought I'd become this enamored with the nooks and crannies. Oh I knew I wanted to have a few Sempervivum (Hens and Chicks) set in the wall but it really was a very little thought.

Getting things to grow in those nooks and crannies was harder than I thought it would be. Thankfully, once I got them going, mother nature took things in her own hands and has done a wonderful job adding to the design.

One hurdle is that some of the spots I want to grow lots of succulents in, are really fairly shaded. The top photo shows some Sedum dasyphyllum growing merrily in a spot that only gets a few hours of direct sun. This is the smallest Sedum in my garden, smaller than the eraser on a pencil.

The thought behind putting Thyme in the cracks was that when people would walk on the thyme, it would release it's delicious scent. Instead, people tend to step awkwardly here to avoid stepping on the Thyme.

This might be more Sedum dasyphyllum, it's about to bloom. I'm not sure I put it in the wall, it might have packed up and moved there on it's own. I also see there's a little entrance way to a chipmunk palace on the right side, grrrrr. Maybe they planted it here?

By far the smallest Sempervivums in my garden are these very webbed ones here. I've taken offsets and put them in pots but they look awful in that type of setting. I think they're perfect right here where they can fill in this crack.

Right above them is a Sedum that doesn't mind the good amount of shade thrown by the daylily foliage around it. Sometimes you think you have a spot with enough sun and don't realize that the surrounding plant material blocks much of the sunlight.

A white Dianthus cascades across a boulder set in the wall. I was afraid it wouldn't bloom this year as it looked very unhappy last month. I think the problem is I never cut it back and the stems were so long and lanky. This year I will remember to give it a good haircut when it's done blooming.

Considering how many succulents I've stuck into the wall, there's still lots of gaps. The hard part is the soil washes out from rains or from the sprinkler system. Worse yet, you think you have it all packed in and a chipmunk decides to use that spot as the back door.

This clump of Sempervivum has been photographed more than any other. It's getting to the point though that it's way overcrowded and I know if I don't thin it out a bit it won't be able to sustain itself in this manner.

Only one red Sempervivum has taken hold in the wall. I'm sure I didn't stick that Sedum right in there next to it but I'll let it grow and see how it looks next year. Maybe it will take me by surprise :-)

As always, shoes make the best container to add some more interest to the wall.

This kind of gardening gives me a complete different feeling that other types of gardening. There's no hauling of compost, digging massive holes, dragging hoses or heavy duty work of that sort. Instead, my usual tool at hand is a simple dandelion fork.

Do you do any kind of rock gardening?


Beth said...

I love those white dianthus! I have the Cheddar Pinks and they are at the height of their bloom right now and are beautiful. White would be nice contrast to them.

Thanks for sharing - I like what you do to the old pair of shoes. Hope you're getting some relief from the heat.

Julie said...

I want to rock garden so badly, but there are no rocks in south florida! Your succulent varieties are just beautiful all in and around your stones! I am jealous!!! LOL. Thanks for posting these photos!!!

cindee said...

Oh I love the Sedums and Semps!!! They look so great tucked between the cracks of the stone. I just put a lava rock garden in around a tree. It gets a lot of sun still so I will have plenty of Semps and Sedums! The more the merrier!!

Paul said...

I enjoy reading your blog, look forward to reading a few words from you each morning.

I noticed something in your first picture - if that rock is not painted with a scene - then look for Sky, Mountains, Hills and Valleys on the rock.

Paul said...

Thank you for writing about and sharing your garden.

I noticed something in the first picture. Is the rock painted with a scene - if not, I clearly see sky, clouds, mountains, hills and valleys.

Terra Hangen said...

I do a wee bit of gardening with sedums and succulents. The colors are so unique: pale silver blue grays, and sometimes dainty flowers of pink or blue.
The sedums in the shoes/boots are fun.

Debbie said...

I just love all these shots.

Melanie, I have not done any rock gardening yet, but would love to. We are planning on putting in a larger garden pond and I am already planning for what I can plant in and around the rocks that will border the pond.

Phil said...

A rock retaining wall is almost always more attractive than most of the other choices, but they do have a price to pay for all that beauty. I find weeds grow from all those little "crooks and nanies" at least as well as those things planted on purpose. YOURS on the other hand look really great - how do you do it?