This where I get thrown out of all the rock garden societies

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Tim Ingram
Title: Member
Joined: 2011-04-27

Anne - I've been helping a friend recently clearing brambles from a new section of garden he wants to make (none of those lovely rocks though!). It certainly is hard work but intensely satisfying. I don't think non-gardeners have any idea of the huge pleasure that comes from giving plants what they want (or at least trying to!). What do you hope to plant in the new outcrop?

I wish we could grow calochortus in the lawn here! Since they are so inexpensive from the Dutch bulb growers maybe it is worth planting a whole lot out just to see the surprise they create. I wonder why they should be so much more difficult than many tulips which are sort of the 'old world' alternatives?

Dr. Timothy John Ingram
Faversham, Kent, UK
I garden in a relatively hot and dry region (for the UK!), with an annual rainfall of around 25", winter lows of -10°C and summer highs of 30°C.

Title: Member
Joined: 2010-06-24


I wonder why they should be so much more difficult than many tulips which are sort of the 'old world' alternatives?

They might not be. As a guess, I would say that the tender types from California "need" a long summer dry period, and the ones from Mexico are winter growers, too.
The hardy ones grow in places with not very much rain.
If you happen to go to Como, Colorado (in South Park, elevation 2991m), and take the Boreas Pass Road out of town (there are maybe ten buildings in Como), on the outskirts is the type locality for Penstemon crandallii, north side of the road. (Also includes "Penstemon teucrioides".) Walk a few paces north of the patch of penstemons and there are Calochortus gunnisonii.
I've never been on skis in 50 years of living here, so see little reason to drive in the mountains during winter, but I figure the growing season there might be a couple of months, with snow lying on the ground the rest of the year. And it does rain in the mountains in the summer.
Cross the dirt road and walk a bit more and there is a large fen filled with Iris missouriensis. (Scene of the one instance where I removed a plant from the wild; the iris was growing in the road and had been flattened by a car.)



extreme western edge of Denver, Colorado; elevation 1705.6 meters, average annual precipitation 30cm; refuses to look at thermometer if it threatens to go below -17C

Anne Spiegel
Title: Member
Joined: 2010-01-26

Tim wrote:

What do you hope to plant in the new outcrop?

Tim, the worst part about the brambles is that the roots were into crevices and rocks.  It's been very time-consuming.  The rock outcrop faces roughly north to northeast and is a bit protected from the south and west sun.  It seems an ideal place for the plants I can't grow in my hot, dry, sun-blistered rock garden.  Hellebores, hepaticas, epimediums, jeffersonias for a start because I can divide and plant.  I have a list as long as my arm at the moment and as the catalogs arrive it may get longer.  It will be a lot of fun because it will be such a departure from the rock gardening I've done to date.  It will, however, still be dry, so there will be quite a bit of experimenting - can't wait to start.  Also, only half of the outcrop has been cleared - lots of work to do.

Hoy's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-15

I would love to have a rocky outcrop like that! My acreage faces Northwest and is mostly covered by trees and shrubs. I can't just fell my beloved trees and shrubs. 15 years ago I tried to buy a plot of land adjacent to mine but didn't get it. I am still sorry for that (now it is a parking place).

Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers  (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!


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