Rock Gardens and Garden Maintenance

A rock garden, also known as a rockery or an alpine garden, is a small field or plot of ground designed to feature and emphasize a variety of rocks, stones, and boulders.

The standard layout for a rock garden consists of a pile of aesthetically arranged rocks in different sizes, with small gaps between in which plants are rooted. Typically, plants found in rock gardens are small and do not grow larger than 1 meter in height, though small trees and shrubs up to 6 meters may be used to create a shaded area for a woodland rock garden. If used, they are often grown in troughs or low to the ground to avoid obscuring the eponymous rocks. The plants found in rock gardens are usually species that flourish in well-drained, poorly irrigated soil.

Some rock gardens are designed and built to look like natural outcrops of bedrock. Stones are aligned to suggest a bedding plane, and plants are often used to conceal the joints between said stones. This type of rockery was popular in Victorian times and usually created by professional landscape architects. The same approach is sometimes used in commercial or modern-campus landscaping but can also be applied in smaller private gardens.

The Japanese rock garden, often referred to as a Zen garden, is a special kind of rock garden with water features, moss, pruned trees and bushes, and very few plants.

Rock gardens have become increasingly popular as landscape features in tropical countries such as Thailand. The combination of wet weather and heavy shade trees, along with the use of heavy plastic liners to stop unwanted plant growth, has made this type of arrangement ideal for both residential and commercial gardens due to its easier maintenance and drainage.

Although the use of rocks as decorative and symbolic elements in gardens can be traced back to early Chinese and Japanese gardens, rock gardens dedicated to growing alpine plants have a shorter history.

During the Golden Age of Botany (early 1700s - mid 1800s), there was widespread interest in exotic articles imported to England. Although others had previously written about growing alpine plants, it was Reginald Farrer that started this tradition with the 1919 publication of his two-volume book, The English Rock Garden.

 

Tips for Your Lawn and Garden Maintenance

Whether you’re considering the resale value of your home or are simply resigned to doing maintenance projects to keep your house in good condition, your lawn and garden could certainly benefit from some TLC of the home improvement variety.

The exterior of your house commands most first impressions, and even mild winters inflict seasonal damage. If you don’t know where to start, a home improvement project checklist may help.

•    Start gently, remove piles of dead leaves from the lawn. Not only will your grass grow greener, a clean lawn helps maximize fertilizers and pesticides. Don’t fertilize your grass too early though. April is the general benchmark; any sooner might result in yellow spots.

•    Check gutters for leaks and debris. Loose gutters cause improper drainage, so water can collect in basements and crawl spaces. Downspouts should point away from the foundation of the house and must be clear of all debris.

•    Start a roof fund. It’s a good rule of thumb to check your roof for rotted, buckled, loose or missing shingles after winter because summer sun will only worsen the damage. Since roof maintenance is so expensive, it’s also smart to start a fund before you need it.

•    Remove piles of wood or debris stacked near the home. It should be kept far away from the foundation and stacked 18 inches off the ground. These preventative measures help keep insect pests from exploring your home.

•    Don’t strain yourself, and stay hydrated. This might be the first time you’ve done any heavy lifting or spent hours in the sun for months. Remember to drink plenty of fluids, take breaks and stretch your muscles

•    Call a professional to clean your AC unit. Heating and cooling experts recommend an annual servicing since clean coils work more efficiently. When the summer’s blazing heat drives you indoors, your family will appreciate having an AC operating at peak levels.

 

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