SINK or TROUGH GARDENS

These are a comparatively new form of gardening, the first sink garden having been exhibited at Chelsea Flower Show in 1923. Rectangular stone troughs on pedestals or on raised bricks are the best receptacles for sink gardens. Sinks or troughs should be not less than 6 in. deep, and preferably 10—12 in. wide. Perfect drainage is tremendously important. A second drainage hole is usually advisable with old kitchen sinks in addition to the customary hole at one end.

Cover the drainage holes with large crocks, adding a layer of smaller pieces over the entire base. Rough, fibrous loam from old turf goes next, followed by the soil mixture such as John Innes Potting Compost or a mixture of loam, grit, peat and sharp sand. This should go to within 1/2 in. of the rim of the container. One or two rocks are usually added to give a semi-natural appearance. These should be fitted in firmly. Tufa limestone is an excellent material, unfortunately rather difficult to obtain nowadays. (This must not be used for lime-hating plants like certain erica species and dwarf rhododendrons.) Water freely as necessary especially during summer drought. The range of plants that can be grown in this way is considerable. Here is a selection:

Allium cyaneum.

Androsacc. aimcria (thrift).

Campanula. crocus species.

Daphne rupestris grandiflora.

Dianthus.

Erinus alphinus.

Iris reticulate.

Iris reticulata Cantab.

Iris histrioides major.

Linaria alpine.

Myosotis rupicola.

Phlox subulata in variety.

Polygala calearea.

Salix reticulate.

Saxifraga aizoon baldensis .

Catalogues of alpine and rock garden plants offer numerous dwarf conifers suitable for sinks and troughs, e.g. Juniperus communis compressa, the Noah’s Ark juniper, which is exceptionally slow-growing, taking many years to reach 1 ft. The miniature roses like Pour Toi, Baby Masquerade and Cinderella should also be tried.

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