Rock Gardens - Try Xeriscaping!
Rock Gardens… Conserve Nature Through Xeriscaping
Have you heard about “Xeriscaping”, a technique to conserve water and preserve nature in your yard or community? Our rock garden is an example. Why rocks? They keep the soil moist and cool, prevent weeds, are home to some of the most beautiful spiders and frogs and other good things that eat bad bugs, and they could be free and right in your backyard.
The idea of creating a rock garden was born after finding a plaque called the “ABCs of Life”, listing letters in the alphabet with inspiring sayings, like “Accept Differences, Be Kind, Harm No One, Give Freely and Yearn for Peace”. The letter “X” stood for Xeriscape; a conservation term coined by combining xeros (Greek for “dry”) with the word “landscape”. It is trademarked by the Colorado Water Council and you can learn more about it at: http://www.xeriscape.org/whatis.html.
Xeriscape means to create natural landscapes to maximize water, land and soil conditions where you live. As you landscape, you try to select plants whose natural requirements are appropriate to the local climate to avoid losing water to evaporation and run-off. Here are the seven basic principles of Xeriscaping:
1. Plan your design – consider sun, rainfall, animals and birds, size and no mow zones
2. Use practical turfs – know your soil type
3. Select low-water and local plants when possible – talk to local nursery owners
4. Understand soil amendments – use natural fertilizers, few or no pesticides
5. Add mulches, wood chips or other natural items to efficiently add moisture
6. Use irrigation techniques – slopes, irregular borders, natural water runs, rain barrels
7. Maintain your garden – acknowledge how much gardening you want to do
All of the hundreds of rocks in my garden are local to our land and hand-picked, put into a wheelbarrow and placed alongside locally grown, drought-resistant, sun-loving flowers and shrubs — many grown in Westminster. To learn more about the rocks native to Carroll County, visit The Soldiers Delight Conservation area http://www.bcpl.net/~sdci/sdci_history2.html.
Our garden requires no mowing, little weeding and minimal watering. It holds all sizes and shapes of mostly “schist” rocks and includes yuccas, sedum, lavender, hostas, lambs ear, crepe myrtle, rhododendrens and my Pop’s beloved iris collection. These are my favorites! It’s wonderful to see your parents’ and friends’ flowers and shrubs thrive in your garden. You can take a little piece of your childhood or friendships wherever you go. When we first moved in, my husband joked that we had so many rocks we could build a house. We thought we might use a few rocks to outline a small garden bed. As time went on for over two years, picking up those rocks became an obsession. It gave me a sense of peace, like a moving meditation. It was good exercise and I liked creating something beautiful and original to complement the environment. Week after week this small garden grew to 62 feet, albeit through some sore muscles. And each season holds something new shooting up from the rocks. I love the way the light glistens on them from the sun, rain, snow and moonlight. Each year, a few new birds come along with bees, butterflies and funny-looking bugs. We consider ourselves blessed to have a space like this and to share this conserving idea with you. My next project will be a Zen garden… raking rocks. Try Xeriscaping, it gets you hooked on nature! Use it to bring inner peace and energy into your space. Create wellness in your surroundings. Look around. Bring joy and nature into your home today. Nature rocks! Rock on!
- 30 Apr, 2008
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