Objective and Design
“An outcropping of rocks into which a careful selection of low-growing perennials, annuals, bulbs and shrubs are nestled.”
So, what makes a plant a rock garden plant? At the Sherwood Demonstration Garden, we have gone with a broad definition for a rock garden plant: one that looks great growing in and amongst rocks. Rock garden plants can be found everywhere and are seen all over the world - in the forest, at the coast, in the desert, in the valley, and certainly, in the mountains. Our goal is to consider all of these sources, but to choose plants that will thrive in the specific climates of El Dorado County. When selecting our rock garden plants, we also consider the rock gardening principle of proportion—keeping the sizes of most of the plants in proportion with the rocks. Most of our plants will be no more than 24 inches in height.
Why a rock garden? Once established, rock gardens are beautiful, low-maintenance and natural, seemingly part of Mother Nature’s landscape. They can be the envy of your neighbor with large lawns considering the drought. If planned correctly they are in season year round, and they add interest and variety to the landscape. They are well suited to our area and can be designed as a low-water-use garden. In contrast to other types of gardens that look manicured and not natural, you can create an effective rock garden that seamlessly blends right into your landscape - a nature lover’s dream. A natural-looking rock garden is a fantastic way to highlight those flowers and plants, like Phlox subulata (Moss Phlox), Arctostaphylos ‘Emerald Carpet’ (Creeping Manzanita), Lavandula augistfolia (English Lavender), that blend into other types of gardens and lose their uniqueness.
What are the goals of our Rock Garden? Our overall teaching goals are to familiarize the gardening public with the reasons for making rock gardens. In addition, we aim to provide basic information and ideas for selecting a site (using mounds and slopes and setting rocks), planning an overall design (style, use of heights and widths, and colors), choosing suitable plants (soil/water needs and sun/shade exposure), and setting up an appropriate irrigation system (drip and hand-watering). Our rock garden will be a model to see how plants and rocks can be arranged and displayed to create an attractive natural,low-water, low maintenance space in your garden.
Rock Garden Plant List
Here is a complete plant list for our Rock Garden
Spring has come and there is much to enjoy during our Open Garden Days in the Rock Garden. The mild winter and recent rains have given us vibrant colors and verdant greens to brighten the season. For example the Japanese Spirea “Double Play Candy Corn” is true to its name with beautiful gold tones and orange tipped foliage. Be sure to come soon to see the hot pink blooms just beginning on the Moss Pink Phlox—it will be spectacularly covered soon. A third example of the garden springing to life is the Myrtle Spurge, with its almost glowing green rounded flowers amidst long pointed leaves on strong horizontal stalks. It is quite a study in contrasts. And don’t miss the soft pink flowers against the dense mass of gray green leaves growing from the purple-tinted branches of the Creeping Manzanita bushes at this time of year. Come join us at the Rock Garden and enjoy vibrant new growth and flowers against the browns and grays of the rocks.