26: Autumn 2010

Author: Hilary Hide

A Modified Crevice Garden

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A Modified Crevice Garden
Hilary Hide

In September 2005 we read an article in the Alpine Gardener about the Pershore crevice garden, which seemed interesting and a possibility for part of our raised scree bed, which we had never felt we had planted satisfactorily.

Holidaying near Pershore later in the year we took the opportunity to visit the AGS headquarters to see exactly how their newly constructed crevice garden was going.

We were impressed, but had some reservations, particularly concerning the width of the crevices because once planted during construction they seemed so narrow that it would be very difficult subsequently to maintain or replace plants.

Luckily for us, when we wanted to make our own version of a crevice bed, three years ago, a neighbour was re-ordering her garden and was glad to let us have a large quantity of sandstone slabs which would otherwise have been thrown into a skip. We sorted the pieces into piles of similar thickness, then dug out the bed to a depth of 18 inches, roughly the width of the stones; mixed the excavated soil with grit and leaf-mould; and put the stones in lines vertically, not less than two inches apart, filling the crevices with the soil mixture firmed well down and topped with more grit.

The filling, in spite of our care, has sunk a little but we think this is an advantage. Most of the alpine plants have flourished in their new surroundings. They need no watering as their roots go down deep between the stones, they are sheltered a little and one can weed easily by treading on the lines of stones, which project about three quarters of an inch above the grit dressing, not on the soil. It is easy to insert new plants, too. (We were surprised how many plants it took to fill in the first place.)

We made a carefully-designed pattern with the stone – it is not intended to be a natural rock garden – arranging the crevices in curved lines of stone of similar thickness, with varying widths of soil between them. That way, we think it looks more interesting all year round – in fact we are quite sorry when the plants overgrow their allotted space, as they can spoil the pattern.

First published in the North East Group Newsletter, May 2009
and subsequently in Cornucopia Issue 26.
© Copyright for this article: Hilary Hide

This article was taken from a copy of Cornucopia that was published in 2010. You could be reading these articles as they are published to a national audience, by subscribing to Cornucopia.

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