Trough and sink gardens

Natural stone troughs, cement-covered sinks and hypertufa containers – as long as they have adequate drainage holes – are ideal for growing and displaying tiny, choice alpines and rock garden plants. Place large, deep containers on a level surface. Support smaller, shallow ones on low stone or brick pillars to provide a comfortable working height and bring the plants closer to the eye.

Stand troughs or sinks in their permanent positions in an open, sunny place before filling. Cover the drainage holes with crocks, then add a generous drainage layer of gravel or stone chippings or coarse ash.

Cover with a sheet of hessian sacking, fibreglass matting or thin foam or sponge mar to prevent soil washing into the drainage layer. Hill the container nearly to the rim with the same soil mixture, then plant as before with one or two rocks to create a mountain-in-miniature setting.

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