My work on the garden started with more staring, head tilted to one side while pondering where to begin, than actual planting. I never planted a rock garden before and I am treading new garden territory. And this is no ordinary rock garden. The garden is original to the Adopt-a-Plot garden design at Ault Park—about 30 years ago. I wonder how many gardeners have tended this garden over the years?
Over time the rocks settled, and mulch and topsoil were added to the raised garden. And while I am not a rock garden expert by any stretch of the imagination, I know some of the plants that have been added just look out of place or downright silly. Sometimes, it is simply a matter of scale. I decided to trust my garden instincts and dig in.
First to go were the weeds and plants that simply seemed to not belong. Then I began pulling and repositioning rocks to create nooks and crannies for new plants. I cut back vining and matting plants that had taken over the bed, obscuring the beauty of the bones of the garden—its rocks. I pulled a few stones from the base of the garden to create another planting area.
Trips to the garden center are revealing countless new plants I have never worked with before: Sun-worshiping, drought-loving plants that would perish in my other garden (a rich, damp, shady spot) are thriving here. I am still fumbling my way through it, but as I scamper around the raised bed, pulling weeds and installing new plants, I am feeling more and more at home in this little piece of Ault Park history.
Jenny Koester, AKA The Landless Gardener, is the Garden Blog Editor for Horticulture magazine.