BABY SHRUBS FOR ROCK GARDENS

There are a number of baby shrubs that can be used with discretion in a rock garden to provide height and help to provide a sense of distance. There are several dwarf conifers that are very attractive. Some shrubs are grown for their berries and winter colouring; others for their flowers. The deciduous shrubs should be planted in the autumn and the evergreen kinds in April or September.

VARIETIES TO GROW

CASSIOPE TETRAGON A Bears tiny bell-like flowers tinged with pink. May not grow taller than 150 mm (6 in); flowers from March-June. Likes peat.

DAPHNE BLAG AY AN A A dwarf evergreen bearing creamy white fragrant flowers from March to April. Likes partial shade.

ERICAS There are a number of baby heaths that do well in the rock garden. Most of them will not tolerate lime. By the careful choice of varieties it is possible to ensure flowering from January to December.

GAULTHERIA PROCUMBENS Only grows 150 mm (6 in) high; the flowers are white, followed by brilliant scarlet berries. Likes partial shade and peat.

GENISTA HISPANIC A A 450 mm (18 in) shrub which forms a mound of bright yellow flowers. At its best in May and June.

JUNIPERUS A number of compact shrubs with bluish-silver foliage. Most are pyramidal but there is a prostrate variety. The best types of conifer for the rock garden.

RHODODENDRONS The baby alpine type bears numerous tubular flowers. Ferrugineum does not object to lime and bears pink blooms from April to June R. racemosum tolerates lime and bears white and rose pink flowers.

VERONICA (syn. Hebe) There are a number of baby types. V. carnosula is an evergreen species with white flowers in the summer. V. pimelioides has glaucous blue-grey leaves and purple flowers. It only grows 300 mm (1 ft) high.

BABY ROSES

There are a number of delightful miniature roses quite suitable for the rock garden. They like an open position and any ordinary good soil.

New types of roses have been introduced which look well in the rock garden. I prefer Baby Darling, a salmon orange, 150 mm (6 in) high; Cinderella, a white blush pink, 200 mm (8 in); Coralin, a red shaded orange, 200 mm (8 in); Easter Morning, a white, 300 mm (12 in); Little Flirt, red with yellow reverse, 300 mm (12 in); Pink Heath, rose pink, scented, 225 mm (9 in); Purple Elf, purple blue, 225 mm (9 in); Rosina, bright yellow, dark green leaves, 250 mm (10 in); Simple Simon, carmine red, 150 mm (6 in).

It is possible to have flower borders especially devoted to one particular family – an extension of the principle of the rose garden. There is no reason at all why you should not have a delphinium garden for instance, with borders and beds entirely devoted to the different kinds and varieties there are, but delphiniums by and large, are grown in the herbaceous border, and I only know of one garden which has borders devoted entirely to them. You see, it means that these particular borders are unbalanced. They are a mass of very tall plants with the result that you cannot see them all properly. They are ablaze for two or three weeks of the year and after that they are dull and dismal. There are, however, a number of what might be called ‘specialist flowers’ that are grown by themselves.

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