Stones are magical. The stillness of majestic stone gardens created by man thousands of years ago is awe-inspiring. Ancient people worshipped, honored the earth, and left untold stories among the impressive pillars at Stonehenge. They feel as if they have a life of their own. Who knows? Maybe stones hold the secret to our universe? One of my favorite metaphysical books is The Nature of Thing: The Secret Life of Inaminate Objects explains their spectral powers. WebEcoist has more mystical ancient stone circles here.
I love stones in my Florida garden because we don't find many rocks in our sandy soils. That's probably a good thing when we have to dig but trying to create height with flat topographies needs imagination.
History of Rock Gardens
Reginald Ferrer, botanist, plant hunter and world traveler, (1880 - 1920) changed gardening with his rock bed creations. Ferrer was responsible for sparking interest in alpine and Japanese rock gardens. Frequently referred to as the "shotgun" gardener for his one-time seed-sowing experiment (eccentric stunt?) of loading a shotgun with alpine seeds from his travels and shooting them into crevices of the Yorkshire cliffs.
Read a downloadable version of The English Rock Garden by Reginald Ferrer.
Japanese Rock Gardens
From Loch Lomand to Gooseberry Island near Cape Cod, to Franklin, NC to Seattle,WA, we bring home a rock from each adventure. Our friends bring us rocks, pebbles, even singular bricks, from their globe-trotting. I even understood completely when I heard a puzzled newscaster question why someone getting on a plane (post-911) had a brick confiscated from their bag. It wasn't going to be a weapon but a memory that could be held. Cheap souvenirs, the unknowing may think, but to me, stones are deeply personal.
Now this is a great rock garden at the Canadian Pavilion during 2008 International Flower and Garden Festival at EPCOT. You can imagine reducing the creviced ridges and interspersing plantings of dwarf junipers, slow-growing cypresses, and draping succulents behind a bed of golden marigolds you can create the same effect in your landscape.
Water conserving succulent rock container garden with blue rubber mulch.
How Not To Design A Rock Garden:
The landscape company that put this parking lot obstacle in needs to be stoned.
Let your garden show its' rock-solid strength by adding a few natural stones. It can take the rough edges off an otherwise flat touch. Grounding yourself with stones in a garden can be very healing. Rock on!
More resources on rock gardens:
UPDATE: Had a reader send in this neo-modern circular formation called Puppyhenge.