Scottish Rock Garden Club Forum

General Subjects => General Forum => Topic started by: Robert Pavlis on February 19, 2008, 01:52:19 AM

Title: why create a Crevice garden?
Post by: Robert Pavlis on February 19, 2008, 01:52:19 AM
The most common form of crevice garden seems to use vertical slabs of stone. It is clear that such a design will provide very good drainage, and the ratio of stone to soil high. Are there other advantages to this design?

You can increase the ratio of stone, just by adding more larger stone to the soil - it does not need to be vertical slabs. The surface could have more stone than the traditional garden.

So what is the magic of the vertical stone?

Title: Re: why create a Crevice garden?
Post by: Lesley Cox on February 19, 2008, 04:14:08 AM
Maybe it's just a matter of drainage. In nature, many alpine plants send their roots done into thin, even hairline cracks in the rock which are frequently on their edges or at least far from horizontal and so offer perfect drainage, often with almost no soil or humus at all, the nutients from the rock itself gradually feeding the plants.

And maybe the vertically placed rocks are easier for people to manage, instead of on their flat surfaces, which takes some artistic ability to achieve a really good result.
Title: Re: why create a Crevice garden?
Post by: Katherine J on February 19, 2008, 07:24:15 AM
In nature, many alpine plants send their roots done into thin, even hairline cracks in the rock which are frequently on their edges or at least far from horizontal and so offer perfect drainage, often with almost no soil or humus at all, the nutients from the rock itself gradually feeding the plants.

And maybe the vertically placed rocks are easier for people to manage, instead of on their flat surfaces, which takes some artistic ability to achieve a really good result.
I think this is absolutely right, but crevice garden is also a kind of fashion nowadays, like was scree garden before. Undoubtedly it looks great when planted. I intend to make one this spring. One thing is not clear for me, reading articles about. Do they put compost in the crevices or only grit? ???
Although I had never been able to bundle into a narrow place a plant bought from a nursery, which has a rather big root system cohered with the moist peat in which was grown. >:(
I would like very much to hear the expert's methods.
Title: Re: why create a Crevice garden?
Post by: David Shaw on February 19, 2008, 08:45:19 AM
Kathrine, in no way am I an 'expert' but we built a crevice last year.
You are correct in your first statement that crevice beds are the current fashion and they look just great. The main benefit of crevices is to fiberous rooted plants that, in the mountains, push their roots out over considerable distances along tiny cracks. There is often no soil, as such, in these cracks and the plants take their nutrients from the minerals in the rock and the rain water seeping along the cracks.
In the garden I think it would be a brave gardener who did not put any compost at all into the crevices. We tried to keep the gaps between our rocks as narrow as possible but made sure that there was continuity between the gritty compost in the crevice and the ground beneath so that eventually the roots would get to the soil below.
Nursery plants are often too large for planting into an existing crevice bed. Plants should be chosen small with fiberous roots. The roots should be teased out a bit before planting. It is a mind blowing experience to see the Bainbridges demonstrating the planting of a trough in front of an audience - they will take a fat rooted nursery plant and litterally bash it's roots between two bricks into a thin wafer like form before shoving it into a crack!
Crevices have their place in the garden for showing off 'special' plants. The Czechs go a little too far for my tastes but we built three small island crevice beds in close proximity to each other and I think they look quite good. I can recommend them as a feature in most gardens.
Title: Re: why create a Crevice garden?
Post by: Luc Gilgemyn on February 19, 2008, 09:15:53 AM
I'm also thinking of building a crevice bed - only disadvantage - as you need lots and lots of rock, it's very expensive in places where rock is costing a lot of money (like here  :'()
Title: Re: why create a Crevice garden?
Post by: Katherine J on February 19, 2008, 04:24:44 PM
Thank you David, I will try it!

Luc, at first I make it only in a not too big trough, so I need not too much stone  ;D
And if it works... ;)

I think that everybody who made just one and it worked for a couple of years, IS an expert. :)
Title: Re: why create a Crevice garden?
Post by: David Nicholson on February 19, 2008, 04:43:36 PM
I'm also thinking of building a crevice bed - only disadvantage - as you need lots and lots of rock, it's very expensive in places where rock is costing a lot of money (like here  :'()

A distinct lack of mountains in Belgium doesn't help does it Luc ;D
Title: Re: why create a Crevice garden?
Post by: Luc Gilgemyn on February 19, 2008, 04:46:43 PM
I guess you're spot on David !  :-\
Title: Re: why create a Crevice garden?
Post by: David Shaw on February 19, 2008, 06:33:58 PM
Luc
Our 'local stone' is river born boulders in a complete range of sizes, pebbles to 'no way am I trying to lift that!" In places the farmers fields are full of them and, at the time of ploughing, they are hauled out and piled at the edge of the field or used to construct stone walls (dykes). Searching through the stones there are many that are fairly flat on two sides and these are what we use in our garden construction, including the crevices. Do you not have the boulders in Belgium or the fields of a finer structure.
Title: Re: why create a Crevice garden?
Post by: mark smyth on February 19, 2008, 06:56:24 PM
How about this natural crevice in a garden here in N Ireland
Title: Re: why create a Crevice garden?
Post by: Luc Gilgemyn on February 19, 2008, 07:22:56 PM
Nothing like it David !
All the farmers get out of "Flanders fields" are unexploded shells from WW I  ;D
No rock anywhere near here - so everything has to be payed for...  and will cost anything (according to the kind of rock you want) between 0,15 and 0,35 £ per kilo  :( Very profitable business for garden centers out here.
The ardennes are the only area where you will find some rock, but you'd need to buy 10 tonnes or so from a quarry...
Title: Re: why create a Crevice garden?
Post by: Lesley Cox on February 19, 2008, 07:57:27 PM
The topic is called Why create a Crevice Garden? and Mark's picture of a natural crevice says it all really. In each crack or crevice, small plants have established, drawn by the slightly damper conditions there and the fact thast they can get their roots down INTO the rock where they are fully protected from heat, cold or anything else. A well-made crevice garden looks fantastic, as do the natural kind. So ideally, when we make such a garden, the rock slabs should be as close together as possible and the tops of the plants will spread out over the surface.

As David says, it's important to have continuity between the lowest soil and the mixture in which the plants will grow. A high proportion of sand means that the mix can be drizzled into the crevices and leave no air holes. But yes, do add SOME compost of some find. I'd avoid peat altogether as if it dries, it shrinks and is almost impossible to moisten again, short of soaking it in a bucket.

Where practicable, use seedlings or recently rooted cuttings to insert in slim cracks. Or pull nursery plants apart to make smaller ones, with less root to be squeezed into the space.
Title: Re: why create a Crevice garden?
Post by: gote on February 20, 2008, 10:48:45 AM
Crevices are undoubtedly a good way to grow alpines but it is, of course, impossible to take them to the show bench. The crevices do not need to be vertical. I used to grow many things in a retaining wall built from flat stones. I put a little soil between the stones and had, of course soil behind. The stones were arranged in a "staircase way" so the plants did not hang out from the fissures as they otherwise sometimes do. These pictures are forty to fifty years old so the quality could be better.
The closeups are Sempervivum arachnoideum, Thlaspi stylosum. Edraianthus pumilio and Draba aizooides, The last picture shows the same kind of sempervivum planted in a natural fissure in our bedrock The fissure is 5-10mm wide and depth unknown.
This winter is (until now) the warmest since records started in the mid 18th century.
I hope there will be no backlash because everything is starting.
Göte   
Title: Re: why create a Crevice garden?
Post by: Katherine J on February 20, 2008, 12:45:57 PM
Thank you Lesley and Göte (also for your pictures)! Yes, I thought I would use rooted cuttings and seedlings.
Title: Re: why create a Crevice garden?
Post by: Kristl Walek on February 24, 2008, 02:14:54 PM
I thought you might like to see the crevice garden constructed at the Montreal Botanic Garden a few years ago (2006). I can't find my 2008 pictures (planted and semi-established) of the same garden, however bare bones gardens are a fascinating thing to see.

My own crevice garden (now 10 years old) was not built with vertical slabs (my own aesthetic preference), but with large pieces of limestone pieced together like a jigsaw. I'll try to post some pics of this later.

Title: Re: why create a Crevice garden?
Post by: Katherine J on February 25, 2008, 07:21:32 AM
I'll try to post some pics of this later.

Do it Kristl, I'm curious!
Title: Re: why create a Crevice garden?
Post by: Brian Ellis on February 25, 2008, 12:02:02 PM
Quote
I'll try to post some pics of this later.

Do it Kristl, I'm curious!

...and I am waiting with bated breath ;)
Title: Re: why create a Crevice garden?
Post by: Peter Korn, Sweden on February 26, 2008, 12:46:16 PM
I only use sand in my crevices and it works very well. When I build a crevice garden I angle the stones to south-west so I get the sunny side and the shaded side. I use all sizes of stones from very thin to as big as possible. I place them with different distance so I get crevices from a few mm to 10cm.  Then I can plant even bigger plants. It don´t have to be strait lines. It should just look like a broken cliff.
Title: Re: why create a Crevice garden?
Post by: David Nicholson on February 26, 2008, 01:37:24 PM
Oh to be young again :(
Title: Re: why create a Crevice garden?
Post by: Katherine J on February 26, 2008, 02:15:02 PM
Com' on, David, we all are young here! I've read somewhere: "Old is that one, whom the spring can't give anything new."  :)

Peter,
Thank you for your posting, I've just read your article in The Rock Garden and was amazed that you use only sand. As for the stability of the stones I understand it, but what about the plant's food? Yes, I know alpines don't need much food, but nothing at all  :o?? Or is enough what dissolves from the stones?
Title: Re: why create a Crevice garden?
Post by: Peter Korn, Sweden on February 26, 2008, 04:35:58 PM
I started to grow in sand 8 years ago and now I use it for almost everything. This year I will make new sandbeds in the woodland for Primula, Cypripedium and Meconopsis. Last year I used 10kg bone meal on 5 acre. Most of it in the woodland, never on the crevices. I think the plants get enough from the sand. The plants gets nice and compact and develop a big, deep rootsystem. They don´t grow into the soil below.
Title: Re: why create a Crevice garden?
Post by: David Nicholson on February 26, 2008, 04:47:20 PM
Com' on, David, we all are young here! I've read somewhere: "Old is that one, whom the spring can't give anything new." 


In mind Kata yes, but when it comes to moving very large lumps of stone the mind is willing but the body is weak! :(
Title: Re: why create a Crevice garden?
Post by: Lesley Cox on February 26, 2008, 08:15:18 PM
Com' on, David, we all are young here! I've read somewhere: "Old is that one, whom the spring can't give anything new." 


In mind Kata yes, but when it comes to moving very large lumps of stone the mind is willing but the body is weak! :(

I have to agree with David on this one Kata. We're all young at heart and in our minds but our knees and backs have another point of view.
Title: Re: why create a Crevice garden?
Post by: Lesley Cox on February 26, 2008, 08:17:56 PM
If one of our Canadians can show some pics of the Montreal Bot Garns crevice garden as it NOW is, that would be ap[preciated. Kristl's pics look the bones of some enormous pre-historic monster. Planted and growing, they must be outstanding.
Title: Re: why create a Crevice garden?
Post by: art600 on February 27, 2008, 12:59:50 AM
Peter

Are you sure this is not Gothenburg Botanical Gardens.  Truly Superman

Title: Re: why create a Crevice garden?
Post by: Hjalmar on February 27, 2008, 07:31:44 AM
Peter,
What I would really like to see is a video of how you move those rocks. I don't think being younger would help me.
Title: Re: why create a Crevice garden?
Post by: Peter Korn, Sweden on February 27, 2008, 04:57:34 PM
Hjalmar, we are the same age so that shold not be a problem for you. I have a cource in building a rockgarden 30/4, 18-21 if you are interested? I see you live in Hällingsjö and that is very close to me.
I don´t have a video but I have some pictures how to move a stone. A BIG sackbarrow is very usefull.
Title: Re: why create a Crevice garden?
Post by: Peter Korn, Sweden on February 27, 2008, 05:00:37 PM
Try again
Title: Re: why create a Crevice garden?
Post by: Peter Korn, Sweden on February 27, 2008, 05:01:55 PM
...and more stones
Title: Re: why create a Crevice garden?
Post by: David Shaw on February 27, 2008, 06:03:21 PM
Crevices for the smaller garden, and stone for the older gardener :D
This is the crevice garden that Carol and I constructed last autumn. It is still a work in progress and has room for many more plants.
Title: Re: why create a Crevice garden?
Post by: gote on February 27, 2008, 06:12:18 PM
Nice big stones are a problem for all of us.
I am in the happy position that I own a small excavator. With that I can easily handle stones up to half a ton or more.
The trick is to use rope. Tie a cross, push the stone onto the cross and hitch the four rope ends to the teeth of the scoop.
It is quite easy.
Now everybody does not have one but they can be rented in many places and it is a big rockery crevice garden or whatnot that cannot be completed in a weekend.
Think about it. They are easier to run than you think
Göte.
Title: Re: why create a Crevice garden?
Post by: David Nicholson on February 27, 2008, 06:57:00 PM
Peter, I had to lay down and rest after looking at the pictures ;D

David, nice, now that I could cope with and without an excavator as well!

Title: Re: why create a Crevice garden?
Post by: Maggi Young on February 27, 2008, 08:32:37 PM
Göte's way is easiest, no doubt about that!  8)
With heavy lifting, much success can be attributed to technique and not merely strength. Using leverage etc. it is amazing what can be achieved .
Title: Re: why create a Crevice garden?
Post by: David Nicholson on February 27, 2008, 08:55:07 PM
Göte's way is easiest, no doubt about that!  8)
With heavy lifting, much success can be attributed to technique and not merely strength. Using leverage etc. it is amazing what can be achieved .


Yeah! ::)
Title: Re: why create a Crevice garden?
Post by: David Shaw on February 27, 2008, 09:26:27 PM
Unfortunately, I am about the largest mini-digger/excavator we could manouver round our garden.
Title: Re: why create a Crevice garden?
Post by: Maggi Young on February 27, 2008, 09:32:45 PM
Quote
Unfortunately, I am about the largest mini-digger/excavator we could manouver round our garden
Yes, me too!! :-[
Title: Re: why create a Crevice garden?
Post by: Hjalmar on February 28, 2008, 09:00:42 AM
Give me where to stand, and I will move the earth. Archimedes.

Thanks for posting these pictures, Peter, that's almost a video. I tried moving around stones that were a lot smaller than that. If the ground is flat it is easy, but if there's just a tiny uphill slope it's very tough. I am really amazed that you manage to get those huge stones to the top of your sand piles without any machines. I imagined that you used some system with ropes and tackles.

I might contact you about that evening course. But if you make us do that kind of exercises I am not sure I manage to get home afterwards.
Title: Re: why create a Crevice garden?
Post by: Peter Korn, Sweden on February 28, 2008, 08:00:44 PM
Hjalmar, it´s mostly women on my workshops and they are always surprised how big stones they can move when I have showed them how to do it. I think you would survive.
The biggest problem is the stones that I´m able to lift. That is the ones that break my back. If they are bigger I have to use some technique.
If the stones are not too big it´s easy to get them into a wheelbarrow. This is how I do it.
Title: Re: why create a Crevice garden?
Post by: gote on February 29, 2008, 09:21:06 AM
Well if you cannot get a modern machine through, you have to use one of the ancient ones: lever, incline and so on. If the Egyptians could, we can :).
Peter has shown in an excellent way how to do it. I often do it the same way myself even if my age prevents me from tackling stones that are quite as big.
However, I would like to add a couple of tips Unfortunately I do not have any pictures.
The essential tool is a pointed steel bar (called a spit?) about 1.5 m long. It will also serve well when making holes for posts.
The second most essential is a large size carpenter's crow bar. It is very useful when moving stones a small distance and for lifting when planting in horizontal crevices.
The third is an assortment of wood pieces: cross section 4x10cm to 5x15cm. lengths from 20cm to 1.5m. The short ones are needed as support when the bars are used as levers. They also serve as temporary supports. One lifts one edge of the stone with the bar resting on one piece and then pushes another piece under the stone. By repeating the procedure and piling the wood, one can lift surprisingly large stones fairly high up.
The long planks are used as slides Stones slide much easier on a hard surface than on soil. One pushes the stone by pushing the end of the bar into the soil and using it as a lever. Better is to use some type of winch or tackle. Sometimes round pieces can be used as rollers. This kind of wood is really scrap from the lumber yard and should be cheap.
The foremost "tool" of all is, however, a helper. One who hangs on to the wheelbarrow from the other side when it is weighed up. Who is able to push the plank stump under the lifted stone edge, Who is able to push the stone sideways (using the other bar) when you are lifting - Who can get the beer  ;)
The basic trick - which is obvious really - is to use not your strength but your weight. One of the few occasions when my overweight is a good thing  ;D
I hope this is a little helpful.
Göte

   
   
Title: Re: why create a Crevice garden?
Post by: Susan Band on February 29, 2008, 11:21:10 AM
In Scotland we call a long steel bar you make posts holes with a guddle. Don't know if this is the English word for it as well?
Title: Re: why create a Crevice garden?
Post by: Kristl Walek on February 29, 2008, 06:41:04 PM
I have never been aesthetically fond of the traditional vertical crevice garden (ex the Czechs, ex Halda)....so when I undertook mine about 10 years ago, I wanted a "horizontal" crevice garden built with what was available on my property (LARGE pieces of limestone).

In North America every farm has a "rock corner" where all the rocks excavated from the fields are put. And I was lucky to inherit a few such piles, as they had been strategically placed in "all four corners" of my property from the corn farmers surrounding me.

Two of us (and on occasion a third helper) moved all the rocks without use of any heavy equipment (wheelbarrows, sleds, pulled behind a small lawn tractor, dolleys, etc). A lever and a sledge hammer (to make some of the rocks fit) were the only other major tools used. And I was NOT YOUNG when this was undertaken, arthritic and with back problems (am even less young now- and won't get into the physical analysis except to say it's just this side of pathetic).

The basic principle was to build from the ground up (then across, and up again) in layers, to create deep crevices, choosing rocks carefully and piecing them, puzzle fashion. Each layer, as it was built, was stuffed tight with soil (I used the best soil possible, as a crevice garden like this is a one-time adventure, never to be re-built, and impossible to add other soil, once it is constructed). Total height is about 4 feet (?) and the length is approximately 20 feet.

A tufa section was incorporated into one part of it.

Begun in September and working only on weekends when my friend Milo was available, it was finished by December.

I apologize for the quality of the pictures---but these are pre-digital days, and were scanned in from my old SLR.

And....because I was the photographer, no pictures of me doing my share of the grunt work...

And, because I could not resist posting a picture of my wonderful, recently-departed Bernese Mountain dog, who adored this "mountain" from it's creation. It was quite difficult, in fact, keeping him off it, after construction.

I'll see if I can find "after planting" pictures.


Title: Re: why create a Crevice garden?
Post by: art600 on February 29, 2008, 06:48:14 PM
Kristl

Why do you call this a crevice garden?  I would recognise it as a rock garden.  Similarly Peter's gardens are hardly crevices.

The vertical crevice gardens are certainly different - and I lke you do not really like them.
Title: Re: why create a Crevice garden?
Post by: Kristl Walek on February 29, 2008, 07:13:05 PM
Yes, it certainly *looks* like a traditional rock garden---but it would, because all the obvious visual markers are present.

However, the building of it was entirely different - giving ULTIMATE and first priority to crevices (all the way down).

There are in fact NO to few horizontal planting areas (on the flat where there is soil). All that exists are crevices throughout the entire garden--and plants are ALL planted in the crevices. I don't quite know how else to explain it.

It's solid rock except for crevices. Not rocks and planting spaces.



Title: Re: why create a Crevice garden?
Post by: art600 on February 29, 2008, 09:20:54 PM
Kristl

I like the look of it but the ratio of plants to rock must be very low compared with the traditional rock garden.
Title: Re: why create a Crevice garden?
Post by: Carlo on February 29, 2008, 09:30:30 PM
Arthur,

I'd say that's exactly the point.

Most of our rock gardens look like mountain meadows, not "rock" gardens. Reducing the plant to rock ratio brings the garden more into balance with what a "alpine" habitat looks like.

Furthermore, one of the main reasons for constructing such a garden is to employ the crevices to grow plants that would struggle in rock gardens (as in your "traditional" rock garden), or that prefer the long, narrow root runs and snuggling right up to the rock's surface underground.
Title: Re: why create a Crevice garden?
Post by: Peter Korn, Sweden on February 29, 2008, 11:39:03 PM
A really beautiful created rockgarden don´t need any plants. Maybe a few?

A crevices garden don´t have to be vertical thin stones with exactly X mm cracks. As long as it´s stones that are close together it will be a crevice.
Title: Re: why create a Crevice garden?
Post by: Lesley Cox on March 01, 2008, 12:57:35 AM
A really beautiful created rockgarden don´t need any plants. Maybe a few?

Which is true of course, but most of us probably want to grow PLANTS, not just appreciate stonework, no matter how beautiful.
Title: Re: why create a Crevice garden?
Post by: art600 on March 01, 2008, 01:39:48 AM
If I had a garden the size that Kristl and Peter have, I would have an area of crevice and scree.  With my modest garden it has to be a rock garden for plants.

Horses for courses
Title: Re: why create a Crevice garden?
Post by: Kristl Walek on March 01, 2008, 02:35:52 AM
Art, yes, the overall sense of the garden is rock-heavy, especially in the early years, BUT over time this really changes, as the plants spread in the crevices. Over the years, I have come to find it thoroughly satisfying.

But what is really different with this garden is the happiness of the plants---there are species I can grow here, and no-where else. And even the easy plants are happier and healthier here. You have to remember that it is quite difficult to grow alpines in this humid, hot summer climate--most rock plants want to (and do) simply melt. In the crevice garden, they want to stay---even if they do not want to in the troughs, the scree, other more traditional rock gardens.....



Title: Re: why create a Crevice garden?
Post by: Kristl Walek on March 01, 2008, 02:48:20 AM
And....just a few plants that like my crevice garden....

Dianthus
 Vitaliana primulifolia
 Edraianthus
 Gentiana pumila delphinensis
 Draba
 Campanula raineri
 Aster coloradoensis
 Campanula choruensis
 Gentiana acaulis
 Phlox hoodii
Title: Re: why create a Crevice garden?
Post by: art600 on March 01, 2008, 07:43:58 AM
Kristl

Thank you for showing the crevice garden in action.  Some stunning plants in a 'natural' setting.
Title: Re: why create a Crevice garden?
Post by: gote on March 01, 2008, 09:30:10 AM
My own limited experience is just as Peter, Kristl and Carlo describes.
Many plants are very happy in deep narrow crevices. It might look as a quarry the first years but when the plants mature, the look will improve enormously.
Kristel's fantastic pictures really prove the point.
The dilemma is of course that you cannot grow in crevices for the show bench.
Arthur's point about "meadow" is of course right but it all depends upon what we grow. The alpine habitat is not only rock and scree; it is also meadow and there are many beautiful meadow plants out there.
Göte
 
Title: Re: why create a Crevice garden?
Post by: Katherine J on March 01, 2008, 09:54:55 AM
It is beautiful Kristl, thank you for the pictures!
Title: Re: why create a Crevice garden?
Post by: Ian Y on March 01, 2008, 11:00:42 AM
I am just catching up with this thread - even though I have been home for three weeks now I have still not caught up with the forum.

My answer to planting nursery grown plants into crevice beds is to wash all the compost off the roots with a jet of water.
I do this with all nursery plants as the compost that works best for the nursery is not the best for our garden conditions. Also you can make sure there are no root pests - apids, vine weavils etc.
Since I started doing this my losses have been minimal  -far less than before I started to wash off the roots.
I don't do it in winter or high summer but I am unlikely to be planting then any way. Any time when the plant is in active growth - even when it is in full flower.
When planting into narrow cracks I wash the roots down with water and then wash the compost in as well this ensures the roots are in good contact and the plants never look back.
Title: Re: why create a Crevice garden?
Post by: Paddy Tobin on March 01, 2008, 02:55:22 PM
Ian,

Good show! It obviously is not necessary to have large areas to dedicate to a rock/crevice/scree garden in order to enjoy this method of growing plants. With small stones you have created a planting densely packed with interest.

One must work with what one has - I have access to lots and lots of what I would call field stone, those turned up by the plough, which are generally rounded and do not give the rugged effect of some of the rock gardens shown earlier in this thread but are excellent for building retaining walls for raised beds and within these raised beds it is possible to have small areas of crevice garden with the rock that will suit that kind of construction.

Also, your method of washing the compost from the roots is an excellent idea; works very well. It is also very suitable when one wishes to divide plants like hostas and agapanthus. By washing the roots it is possible to gently tease the plants apart and from one plant make up a drift of the same plant. Two/three years ago I turned three hostas into 130 and now could take up many of them and divide again if I wished.

A quesion for you: do you include any bulbs in your crevice planting? Which do you find most successful. You will have admired Rafa's fabulous mountain photographs of narcissus seemingly growing on rock, well rock with a puddle of soil. Can you recommend some bulbs suitable to this kind of garden?

Finally, after looking at your photographs, I imagine you doing your gardening wearing a helmet like those used by miners with a light on the front but with you it is a camera instead of a light. Any truth in this?

Tongue in cheek, Paddy

 
Title: Re: why create a Crevice garden?
Post by: Blue-bellied Frog on March 01, 2008, 04:28:00 PM
When you have an extravagant project, you can buy used machines, and sell them when the job is finished.
I bought a case 1845C in august 2003 (5000$) to place 4 trucks of stone I receive from a deal, 20$ a truck.
I did ask for 5 to 500 lbs stones, but I got 500 to 4000 lbs stones.
This machine was not good for some parts of the job, so I bought a loader John-Deer 2010 (6000$)
in march 2004. I did finish my job last october, after moving 20 trucks of stones.
I will sell the machines this spring (when the 5 feets of snow will melt) and I think I will have my money back. And you use them when you need it, they are always there, without additional costs.

Peter, (and other too) if you want an advice, you should always keep your back straight. force only with your legs and arms, when lifting loads.

I had my back jammed several times, form the age of 15 to 40. Since 1992, the year I bought this house, I did move at least 30 trucks of stones, and maybe 10 of sand, without any problems.
Title: Re: why create a Crevice garden?
Post by: Peter Korn, Sweden on March 01, 2008, 08:16:00 PM
I admit, I´m a digaholeic. I really love digging and digging and digging, for weeks and mounths, constructing and moving stones (by hand). I love the challange of making different environments for all kinds of plants from alpines, cacti and almost everything else.That is the only reason why I do it.
I only grow and sell plants that I would like to grow. Maybe not the best way for a nursery but it´s my hobby (and living), not my job.

I don´t want to have a big machine. I had a tractor but I never used it so I sold it. If I had a machine I would only make bigger projects and I would then have more work. It´s good to have something that limits the projects and I don´t destroy the soil with heavy machines.
If anyone wants to use big machines, big stones, small stones, vertical or diagonal crevices..... it´s up to you. I do it my way.

I always try to keep my back straight and if I feel some pain I do some easier work for a few days.
Title: Re: why create a Crevice garden?
Post by: Katherine J on March 02, 2008, 07:01:30 PM
Ian,
I never dared to do this with a plant, but I will try. Now I can believe it works. :)
Thank you.
Title: Re: why create a Crevice garden?
Post by: Robert Pavlis on March 05, 2008, 02:42:56 AM
Kristl - in your picture "Crevice_Year 3" you have a 'Yucca' type of plant. I assume it is hardy in your area. What is it?
Title: Re: why create a Crevice garden?
Post by: Kristl Walek on March 05, 2008, 02:54:17 AM
The "yucca type" plant is in fact that---the dwarf Yucca harrimaniae, not often seen in gardens and marginal for me here. This particular specimen (I have others) succumbed during a brutal no-snow -45C winter, but would be quite "in range" for you in London.

In terms of what we can grow in Ontario: the native Yucca glauca is the hardiest, then Y. filamentosa (quite common) and then Y. harrimaniae and (perhaps for you) Y. baccata.

I grow quite a gang of them in my sand bed with the oceans of Opuntia.
Title: Re: why create a Crevice garden?
Post by: Robert Pavlis on March 06, 2008, 12:53:19 AM
Kristl,

I got some baccata seeds from you late last year, but only planted the seed this spring. Y. harrimaniae is on my wish list.

The other Yucca reported to be hardy in zone 5 US is Y. rostrata - I am also looking for it. I'm in Guelph, so a bit coller than London, but not by much.
Title: Re: why create a Crevice garden?
Post by: hadacekf on March 07, 2008, 07:28:15 PM
I cultivate many small alpine plants in troughs with rock crevices. Particularly Saxifraga grow very well.

Title: Re: why create a Crevice garden?
Post by: Maggi Young on March 07, 2008, 07:49:01 PM
Exactly, Franz.... the plants enjoy the conditions and for us there is the pleasure to have so many plants in quite a small space.

Edit on Saturday evening, after reading the actual size of the trough.... "well,  not SO small a space!! M
Title: Re: why create a Crevice garden?
Post by: Paddy Tobin on March 07, 2008, 09:33:16 PM
Franz,

As ever - wonderfully grown plants. The saxifrages certainly seem to enjoy the conditions. May I ask, how big is this trough? It seems to be a very big one. Also, have you the stone of the crevices much above the level of the top of the trough?

Paddy
Title: Re: why create a Crevice garden?
Post by: Lvandelft on March 07, 2008, 09:43:49 PM
That is a wonderful display Franz!
Must give it a try this way. In my sandy soil they never really want to grow and flower.
Do you give them some shade in your hot pannonic summer days?
Title: Re: why create a Crevice garden?
Post by: Kristl Walek on March 07, 2008, 09:55:52 PM
Utterly superb, Franz!!!! Thank you so much for posting these. Puts my saxes to shame!!!!
Title: Re: why create a Crevice garden?
Post by: Katherine J on March 08, 2008, 08:10:54 AM
Absolutely beautiful! So healthy Saxifraga oppositifolia in our climate!!! :o
Title: Re: why create a Crevice garden?
Post by: Luc Gilgemyn on March 08, 2008, 05:26:53 PM
What a show Franz !
Amazing collection of colour  :o
Title: Re: why create a Crevice garden?
Post by: hadacekf on March 08, 2008, 07:21:42 PM
Paddy, Luit,
The trough is 2.5 m long and 1.3 m broad. The trough stands starting from noon in the shade. The stone of the crevices are 10 cm above the level of the top of the trough.
Thank you all together for the kind comments.
Title: Re: why create a Crevice garden?
Post by: mark smyth on March 08, 2008, 08:08:49 PM
It's fantastic. What is the stone you have used in your crevicing?
Title: Re: why create a Crevice garden?
Post by: hadacekf on March 08, 2008, 08:46:16 PM
Mark,
I do not know the name. I bought it in the building center. One builds thereby paths and terraces.
Title: Re: why create a Crevice garden?
Post by: art600 on March 08, 2008, 10:59:05 PM
Mark

It looks like it could be broken paving slabs - I have plenty of those.
Title: Re: why create a Crevice garden?
Post by: mark smyth on March 08, 2008, 11:29:35 PM
Yes you're right
Title: Re: why create a Crevice garden?
Post by: Lesley Cox on March 09, 2008, 04:04:27 AM
A stunning collection of Saxifragas Franz and so beautifully strong and healthy. Mine to shame too Kristl. They look great in the spring then move on to burnt up horror in the summer time. Been meaning for some time to try them in cool-retaining crevices. I must act instead of just thinking about it.
Title: Re: why create a Crevice garden?
Post by: Staale on March 09, 2008, 09:37:24 AM
Marvellous and inspiring posts, everyone! I feel new projects coming along.
Title: Re: why create a Crevice garden?
Post by: hadacekf on March 09, 2008, 05:34:44 PM
Arthur,
Yes you're right!
Title: Re: why create a Crevice garden?
Post by: gote on March 10, 2008, 10:12:29 AM
Franz
This is a fantastic show. Can you comment about how you water them.
Unfortunately I do not grow any of these nowadays but when I did, I got the impression that they needed a combination of high light and high water that was difficult to keep up.
My garden is on 59 degrees north so I do not get the same intensity in the sunlight as you do.
Göte
 
Title: Re: why create a Crevice garden?
Post by: hadacekf on March 10, 2008, 07:29:33 PM
Göte,
An abundance of water in soil is essential during the spring growth. In artificial condition roots seldom penetrate as deeply as in the fissures of mountain rock, and total lack of water I summer, especially in direct sun, is fatal usually resulting in quick demise. The importance of adequate moisture cannot be overstated together with fast free drainage, and any construction which will encourage long and deep root penetration should be sought, planting best where crevices run deep, cool and damp in rock or wall.  In our dry summers I must water all two days.
Title: Re: why create a Crevice garden?
Post by: Rogan on March 19, 2008, 12:05:36 PM
Some inspiration from nature - a couple of crevices in the Drakensberg:

Delosperma lavisiae
&
Scilla (Merwilla) dracomontana

Title: Re: why create a Crevice garden?
Post by: ChrisB on March 19, 2008, 12:38:03 PM
Superb, Rogan.  Wonderful shots.
Title: Re: why create a Crevice garden?
Post by: Paddy Tobin on March 19, 2008, 01:19:17 PM
Rogan,

That second photograph is a fabulous example of a plant occupying the space available to it. Great photograph.

This morning I was watching a television programme - yes, I'm living the lazy life at the moment - which was about gardens in South Africa. It was truly outstanding despite the fact that I generally don't like the presenter when he is presenting other gardening programmes. This was one of an excellent series of visiting gardens around the world. This programme certainly gave a great impression of gardening in South Africa. The Kirstenborsh (spellings?) featured and is certainly a place any gardening tourist should not miss. Hopefully I shall travel there at some stage before old age and decrepitude get the better of me.

Excellent photographs, perfectly appropriate to the topic. We make crevice gardens to imitate the beauty of nature and to provide appropriate and interesting planting areas for our plants.

Paddy
Title: Re: why create a Crevice garden?
Post by: David Nicholson on March 19, 2008, 07:10:59 PM
Lovely pictures Rogan.
Title: Re: why create a Crevice garden?
Post by: Lesley Cox on March 19, 2008, 08:49:45 PM
The pics are indeed super Rogan. The one with the little scilla answers someone's question about whether bulbs are appropriate in a crevice garden. Yes, so long as they are very small growing and compact. The best compost for a crevice (very sandy/gritty) should keep the foliage compact and the flowers well displayed above it. Some tiny Narcissus maybe? or a few crocuses? Cyclamen and Rhodohypoxis should be OK as well. Perhaps the tiniest irises such as mellita or pumila forms.
Title: Re: why create a Crevice garden?
Post by: Lesley Cox on September 29, 2008, 02:37:30 AM
6 months since the last reply and the Forum tells me to consider starting a new topic but these pics are appropriate here I think.


Near Otto's garden in Olinda, Victoria, a crevice garden has been built recently. It is not fully planted yet and I hope its owner will remove those things already planted which will grow very well in her large, open and very attractive garden, and retain the crevices for small plants with more specialized needs and which will appreciate the cool root runs in the hot Victorian summer. This looks much better in the "flesh" so to speak than it does in the pics. Dappled tree shade somewhat distorts the pictures too. On a slope, it is in two parts, with a path between for ease of planting/weeding. The lower part is at a slight angle to the upper, giving the distinct impression that at some distant time, an earthquake has upheaved the ground and deposited it differently.

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Title: Re: why create a Crevice garden?
Post by: Brian Ellis on September 29, 2008, 09:57:17 AM
Super looking garden Lesley, it will be interesting to see what it's like when it's had a chance to settle in.  Nice movement in the strata.