For over a hundred years, the trough has been the container of choice for rock gardens. The gold standard is the genuine article made of stone and rescued from a farmyard or an old village square. Vintage stone sinks (like the one my mother couldn’t wait to replace with stainless steel in her ranch kitchen in the 1970s) have also traditionally been used as rock garden planters. As antique troughs and sinks have become scarce, reproductions are occasionally available. Like the originals, they are often too heavy and too expensive to be practical for most gardeners. A lucky few can point to their venerable troughs with great pride, the rest of us can only hope for a trough inheritance – and look for alternatives.