Make a Shady Rock Garden

Transform a dull, shady corner into a pretty rockery. Many shade-loving plants, such as ferns, ivies and violas, love the cool, moist, well-drained conditions.

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Shady Rockery DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

When to Start: fall
At Its Best: spring
Time to Complete: 6 hours: preparation and planting

Materials Needed:

  • topsoil (if not working on a sloping site)
  • attractive large stones
  • carpet bugle
  • creeping phlox
  • dog's-tooth violet (Erythronium)
  • hardy ferns
  • hostas
  • ivy
  • violas

Prepare the Soil

If you have a flat site, create a slope with weed-free topsoil in fall, so it has time to settle. If you have a slope already, weed it thoroughly. Dig in some grit if the drainage is poor.

Weed-Free TopsoilEnlarge Photo+Shrink Photo-DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Select and Place Stones

Set rocks into the soil, with larger ones at the base of the slope and smaller ones at the top. Bury one third of each stone, and angle them so that rain will run off into the soil.

Set Larger Rocks at Slope BaseEnlarge Photo+Shrink Photo-DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Check Planting Positions

In spring, buy your plants. Arrange them around the rock garden while they are still in their pots, to see where they will look best, before deciding on their final planting positions.

Planted Pots Among RocksEnlarge Photo+Shrink Photo-DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited
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Excerpted from How to Grow Practically Everything

© 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

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