August 17, 2018
“Look at this space. I love the rock formation!” exclaimed a visitor to Allen Centennial Garden Staff.
It was our Czech Crevice Garden they were referencing. It’s a really fun and relatively new type of rock gardening that has been popping up around since the 1980’s in the Czech Republic. Here at the Garden we have a space that utilizes large, flat slabs of rock placed deep in the soil, parallel to each other and tightly spaced. This has multiple advantages for both of Wisconsin’s summer and winter months. During the summer, the slabs provide a cool place for the plants’ roots while they are in the full sun. It also allows for drainage when it rains, allowing the water to fall down deep into the soil where the roots stretch deeper. Yet the roots remain dry at the top (also called the “crown”). A great option for winter too, the slabs are a source that contains heat during our Wisconsin cold spells and also allows for meliting snow drainage. A great thing about alpine plants is they are native to cold, high elevation areas, thus are tolerant to our winters. From phlox, daphne, bellflowers, columbine, to hens and chicks, there are no shortage of plants that will love a home in a crevice garden. Once the work of putting in a crevice garden is finished, you can have a beautiful, low maintenance space for years to come!
*Tip: Water your rock gardens regularly. Contrary to popular belief, rock garden plants enjoy a good watering while the high drainage soil keeps them from drowning out.
by Ryan Drake | Former Horticulture Apprentice