Naked Rock Garden Ambition

My hubs, Mom, and I went on our first Open Garden Days tour of the season yesterday. Open Garden Days is a fundraising effort of the Garden Conservancy, and we are embarrassingly rich with Open Gardens in the Hudson Valley! This was the most ambitious rock garden I have ever seen: rock wall after rock wall and endless gravel beds built in the shelter of natural rock outcroppings. There were thousands of little plants, many of them in spring bloom, all so cute you wanted to crush them with your love.

Anne Spiegel’s amazing rock gardens in Wappingers Falls, NY

I think rock gardens are awesome. The tiny plants appeal to my inner nurturer. But one thing to be forewarned about is that rock gardens are a lot of work. Every little bit of leaf, twig, acorn, helicopter, has to be removed in order for the little plants to show well and get their photosynthetic needs met.

Plants weren’t labeled so I get to do some ID practice with the help of Google Images. I think this is trumpet gentian (Gentiana acaulis). Unreal blue!

Also with rock gardens, you have to really get the “soil” right. The soil is really a carefully managed scree with just enough soil and fertility that roots have a way to hold tight and get their nutrients. I don’t have practice with this but someday I’d like to have a little rock garden. Well, maybe. They are a lot of work. Perhaps I will just visit Anne’s every year that she is gracious enough to open it up.

Rock WORK!

I’ll bet snakes sun themselves a lot on these rocks. I’ll bet it gets QUITE hot working out there sometimes. I’ll have to ask Anne all my questions after she recovers from having her gardens open to the public. My friends who have opened their gardens tell me it is very gratifying to see people enjoying their work, but that one can get pretty stressed beforehand, wanting things to be perfect. My friend Richard got a hernia from it.

A bellflower (Campanula), I would guess.

Lavender shooting stars (Dodecatheon clevelandii) in a shady rock garden

Goodbye, Most Awesome Rock Garden. Thanks for rocking our world!

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