laura_g_young

2019 Rock Garden Pics

Laura (Z5a Fort Collins, Colorado)
last year
last modified: last year

Thought it'd be fun to start a rock garden thread. Alpine flowers, cactus, sempervivums, ice plants, sedums...basically anything that grows in gravel, rocks, and boulders.

Here's a few pics of my growing sempervivum collection for starters. Feel free to share!













Comments (38)

  • mmmm12COzone5
    last year

    Laura,

    Can you take some wider photo shots? I'd like to see the scale and wider affect. Do you provide any supplemental water?


    Thanks!

  • Laura (Z5a Fort Collins, Colorado)
    Original Author
    last year
    last modified: last year

    I'll try to get some pics in over the weekend, if I can. It's basically a south-facing border wall of small boulders that I've been tucking plants into over the last couple of years. They do get some (indirect) supplemental watering -- about 2-3x a week mist from the lawn sprinklers drifts over them -- but overall, once they're established, they are on their own. They get full to partial sun and excellent drainage, as they're just growing in cracks stuffed with pea gravel.

    The effect is a bit of a collector's hodgepodge (not unlike an elongated Victorian rockery). I just enjoy seeing so many different things growing in the wall! It used to look so sterile, as I didn't used to plant things in it, but now it's got character.

    I hope to add some new things like saxifrages and other small, rock-loving plants this season, if the weather ever improves. Stay tuned....

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  • treebarb Z5 Denver
    last year

    I will stay tuned, Laura. It looks great! I have a cacti bed to build this summer with hardware cloth going underneath, an attempt to thwart the voles and appreciate seeing what you're doing!

    Have you visited LaPorte Ave. nursery? They had quite a selection of rock garden plants the last time I visited.

  • ZachS. z5 Platteville, Colorado
    last year

    Laura, I would love to see your meathod of rock gardening. I have always wanted one but I really don't understand how it's done depite my googling efforts.

  • mmmm12COzone5
    last year

    Thanks!

  • popmama
    last year

    I love all the semps in those cracks and crags. I love saxifrage. I have tried growing it probably 5 times and finally gave up. Times like this I really miss Timberline. The selection of rock garden, sedum, semps and saxifrage was above all there.

  • Laura (Z5a Fort Collins, Colorado)
    Original Author
    last year
    last modified: last year

    Some more pics from yesterday morning:



    Sedum plachyclados "white diamond" with a wee little flower. I got this specimen from Skybird two years ago; it really flourished last season, but almost completely died back over the winter.



    Sedum rupestre/reflexum "Angelina " and an unidentified ice plant. I'll know what it is when it blooms. Note the Interesting dried seed heads. I think they look like wooden buttons with stars on 'em.



    Upper left: a funky burgundy sedum hybrid, "SunSparkler® Firecracker", plus a small gray-green clump of something growing beneath (I need to find it in my notes). To the right: a gold nugget iceplant that was bent on world domination until winter slowed it down, Upper right corner: Sedum "Autumn Joy".

  • ZachS. z5 Platteville, Colorado
    last year

    At least you can still get cactus and agave from Kelly, Popmama. I have perused his internet catalog numerous times but most of the stuff I want is usually sold out by the time I get there haha.

    Thanks so much for the links and info. I probably wont get around to building a rock garden this year, but some day I'll have one haha. Mostly I want to grow hardy cactus and succulents. I won't be growing any saguaros or organ pipes any time soon, but I do have a couple native Opuntia pads that I have rooted and I sure miss the cholla and hedgehog cactus of which there are a few hardy species.

  • popmama
    last year

    Zach, I do have one cactus (an optunia) from Kelly. But I am not a cactus fan at all. It's in a pot so that it doesn't exceed the space allotted to it. In fact, I think I was going to give you a pad from it a few years ago and we never managed to coordinate. I haven't checked to see if it's alive after the winter. I'll do that tomorrow.

    I saw that Sparkler sedum at Paulino the other day and almost bought some. I did buy a sedum that looks a lot like your mystery green one, it's called Sedum Grisbachii. I also got the cutest little thing called Rosularia Serpentinica.


  • mmmm12COzone5
    last year
    last modified: last year

    Laura have you ever tried rock roses?

    https://www.gardenia.net/plant/Helianthemum-Henfield-Brilliant-Rock-Rose

    Here it is growing in my courtyard, a hot sunny area that most things won't live in.



    I also have red rock rose. This one is several years older so bigger.

    https://www.gardenia.net/plant/Helianthemum-Red-Dragon-Rock-Rose

    I love them because they produce alot of beautiful flowers.

    Here is a wider picture of the bed. The plant in the back is an evergreen yellow broom. I believe it is the "bangle" from Lowes. Tagged as getting 2'x2' but it got very wide 5-7' while staying under 2 ft tall. There are 3 of the plants in the back row. I do provide water to keep everything going. But I did for the 2 or 3 iterations of plants we tried in this bed and everything died except this lot.



    There are peach and purple ice plants yet to bloom in the front.

    Have you ever tried brooms?

    I have purple brooms. Slow to establish but I think this lot is going. This bed suffers from a broiling hot environment due to the stone wall behind it and a reflection from the sun in the windows of the house during the hottest part of the summer that cooks plants right out of it.



    And regular yellow, probably Scotch, broom.

    These are taller growing than my short ones that aren't in flower yet.


    I know these aren't in a rock garden but I selected them based on their advertised suitability for rock gardens due to the difficult nature of some of my beds.

  • popmama
    last year

    In addition to rock rose, which I do like, I think you would really like Purple Mountain Daisy. It's a Plant Select plant, creeps fairly low to the ground, likes dry conditions and blooms all summer. It's a phenomenal plant.

    https://plantselect.org/plant/osteospermum-barberiae-var-compactum-p005s/

    There is also a white version but it has never been as vigorous as the pink one in my yard.


  • mmmm12COzone5
    last year
    last modified: last year

    Those sound excellent. Do you have any pictures of it in your yard? I would love to get something with long lived blooms.

  • popmama
    last year

    Here's one picture from June 2016.

  • mmmm12COzone5
    last year

    Thanks! That is very pretty. I think it is an excellent candidate for my yard and am going to keep it in mind for future planting. :-)

  • Laura (Z5a Fort Collins, Colorado)
    Original Author
    last year

    Zach: Do you know what kind of Opuntias? I've often thought of adding a few to add a couple native O. polyacanthas, but then always think better of it as I'm a klutz and glochids are soooo painful! Don't know if cholla would grow 'round here... they are beautiful in their own, otherworldly way. The ginormous "jumping" species I saw growing in the Sonora many moons ago were spectacular.


    popmama: Thanks for looking into this. :) I'm still not sure as to what it is. Sedum Grisebachii is a good candidate, but I just don't remember it being called this. Will have to look at it up close. It could be also be Sedum pallidum var. bithynicum, perhaps? And ya, Rosularia Serpentinica is adorable.


    mmmm12: No, I've not tried rock roses or broom yet! Lovely, lovely garden pics. Thanks for another couple plant families I'll have to look into cramming into a crevice or container somewhere. Haha....


    popmama: Oooo, those osteospermums are so very pretty. I'll have to consider 'em, as well. Do you know if pollinators like that variety? I'm trying to get the most bang for my buck, as the plants in the raised bed behind the wall were put in for hummers, butterflies, and the like.







  • ZachS. z5 Platteville, Colorado
    last year
    last modified: last year

    I have two O. ployacantha's ans one that is either O. macrorhiza or O. phaeacantha (probably the latter, but many Opuntias are hard to positively I.D. and they are wildly promiscuous and readily hybridize with one another) that I have collected from Jefferson County. All three of these guys I rooted last year and are covered in new pads this spring. I also have one that my son collected down south east of Pueblo last summer that hasn't quite taken off yet. It's not dead, but I don't think the soil I have it in is great for trying to root it. It did try to put out a new pad this spring but it gave up. I have no clue what species it is.

    Cylindropuntia imbricata (cane cholla) can be found as far north as the south side of Colorado Springs (once you get down towards Fountain and south to Pueblo, its EVERYWHERE) and I have seen it growing in places around Denver as well. There is one I think growing next to the the on ramp from Havana to I-70 and one growing along an overpass on Quebec in Commerce City. As long as it gets good drainage, you should have no problem growing that one. Kelly Grummons, formerly of Timberline Gardens, also has several other cold hardy cholla (and number of other cactus) through www.coldhardycactus.com.

    Was it the chainfruit cholla or the "teddy bear" cholla your talking about down in the desert? I love teddy bear cholla, and boy do the LOOOOVE me! I have had a lot of close encounters of the OUCHY kind with that guy!

    Cylindropuntia fulgida (chainfruit cholla) (not the best, but it's the only photo I have of this guy). A piece of one of these guys once latched on to the back of my shorts while I was hiking. I didn't know it there until I sat down in the car to drive home...



    Cylindropuntia bigelovii (teddy bear cholla). Pretty sure a grumpy mama grizzly bear is more friendly than these guys, but they are so cool looking.


    Yes glochids suck, but if that's the price I have to pay in order to grow cactus, I will gladly do so. Cholla also have glochids, it's a defining feature of the opuntiads, but those are tame when you consider the spines themselves are barbed. Trying to pull them out of your calf when they've dug in there a solid 1/16 of an inch is no easy feat.

  • popmama
    last year

    I don't remember if the bees specifically loved the mountain daisy. I know the butterflies did. Probably because the flowers are like giant landing pads for them. I have a lot of bees in my yard. Their favorite thing is a blue-ish cranesbill and the May Night salvia.

  • Laura (Z5a Fort Collins, Colorado)
    Original Author
    last year

    In the calf? Ouch!!


    The cholla were of the fuzzy "teddy"' variety. When I was a kid visiting the desert, I was told that these cacti posessed an uncanny intelligence, and that they would purposefully launch their spines at a passerby if they "sensed" them (sort of a botanical drop bear); so I always gave them a very wide berth!


    Maybe a cute little fish hook cactus is more my speed… ;)


  • Laura (Z5a Fort Collins, Colorado)
    Original Author
    last year

    The ice plants are finally starting to bloom! **cheer**




    Delospermum basuticum "gold nugget"



    "White Nugget" that I got from Skybird earlier this month. So pretty!




    Delosperma cooperi




    Delosperma floribundum



    I'm still waiting on my favorite, "firespinner"" to bloom. It took a beating over the winter, so we'll see...

  • mmmm12COzone5
    last year
    last modified: last year

    We've got some blooming also. The white nuggets from Skybird were the first to come in. They are almost done now. Then the yellow arrive and they are peaking now. Here are some pics. We have it growing in two areas. It is really beautiful both in and out of bloom. It gets sort of a reddish color in the winter which is also really pretty.



    It is amazing to me how they like to grow away from shade and water to the hottest parts they can reach. They are always cropping up in our brick courtyard.


    Firespinner was third to develop flowers. Not quite at it's peak and will probably develop more flowers. This was a mystery ice plant, thought to be yellow, when I got it in the free for all at the swap. I think from gcore. So it was a real surprise when the firespinner color showed up.



    The white nugget we got at the 1 yr ago spring swap from Skybird. It is a bit of a slow grower for me but I'm looking forward to when it fills in this area.



    The taller purple was 4th to flower and now Table Mountain Purple (shorter variety) is just starting today. I'll take some pics when it gets more flowers. Everything in my yard is wonky this year due to the late cold and snow.

    GardenChloe,

    I think you have alot more variety of ice plants. Would love to see pics of yours.

  • popmama
    last year

    If anyone is interested, I saw large pots of ice plant "wheel of wonder" tonight at Walmart for $8. Pretty good price for the amount of ice plant in that pot.

  • mmmm12COzone5
    last year

    Thanks popmama! Which Walmart?

  • Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado
    last year
    last modified: last year

    The 'White Nugget', Delosperma basuticum, is a much more "dense" one than most of the others so it does spread much more slowly, but when it does fill in an area the foliage is dense enough that it prevents almost all weeds from growing in it. A good watering every week or two will help it fill in more quickly.

    Skybird

  • popmama
    last year

    The Walmart at 72nd and Sheridan as of May 31 (they had lost so I'm sure they will be there for a bit)

  • mmmm12COzone5
    last year
    last modified: last year

    Thanks I had a hot pink wheel of wonder that faded alot when open but also had a white wheel of wonder that I loved. I think the white made it through a winter or two before being crowded out. The color on the white was fantastic as it was a pure white. I would likely try that one again.

  • mmmm12COzone5
    last year
    last modified: last year

    My peach ice plant. This one has always struggled a bit and has been slower to establish than the others.



    In the larger bed.



    In fact I had sort of despaired of it last year and took a purple ice plant stalk in stuck it in the middle of it. It established right away and has started to take off. So in the end the peach one may be overcome. This is the best year for it so far. It has filled in and I've gotten more peach flowers.

    The purples are starting to come in. I couldn't resist taking some pics even though I know they will get more spectacular in a few days. I have two areas of these Table Mountain Purple ice plants. I am trying to get them to fill in the ledge. This area is a huge problem for plants since it gets baked by sun reflecting off our living room windows. Cooks and kills the plants on this ledge.





    Table Mountain Purple are my favorites of all my ice plant. They have a great display of flowers and low compact foliage that requires no maintenance.

  • Laura (Z5a Fort Collins, Colorado)
    Original Author
    last year

    Great pics and report, mmmm5!


    Is the peach variety the same as the one called "Alan's Apricot", I wonder? It's so pretty....



  • mmmm12COzone5
    last year

    I want to say it is Mesa Verde (because that sounds like what I think I bought) but in the plant description it says it flowers from late spring through fall. Mine only flowers in late spring.

    https://www.monrovia.com/plant-catalog/plants/2643/mesa-verde-ice-plant/


    It does look the same though.

    Not sure if it is Alan's Apricot as that one says it grows thick and suppresses weeds. My peach is the least thick of all mine and the most weedy. It has taken the longest to fill in. Here is a closer view. The taller ice plant that you see in the center top is the longer purple that I stuck in a single stalk next year. It really established and pushed the weaker, sparser peach aside.



    It loves the heat of the stones. Like the other ice plants would love to be in a rock garden like yours.



  • mmmm12COzone5
    last year
    last modified: last year

    My pink and purple ice plants at their peak.

    Surprised to see the red rock rose still blooming. It is usually a spring bloomer but due to the cooler weather seems to have had a phenomenal year.





  • treebarb Z5 Denver
    last year

    I got an email yesterday from Cold Hardy Cactus that the opuntia new growth has matured and the online inventory has been partially reset.


    The small cactus greenhouse will be partially open for walk ins, available on the weekends only in August and September. They'll list the hours in the next newsletter.


    You can schedule a browsing opportunity for larger plants (1 - 2 gallon and larger) by sending and email to appts@prairiestormnursery


    Cold Hardy Cactus

  • popmama
    last year

    I do have a mostly spineless optunia that I bought from Kelly G. several years ago. I bought it to feed to my tortoise. I grow it in a pot. In the Fall, I shove the whole pot under the deck and take it back out in the Spring. It usually blooms yellow. Kelly always said they should be grown out in the landscape not in a pot, but I really dislike cactus so it's how I keep it under control. If anyone wants a pad, let me know.

  • Heidi Denver
    last year

    Laura your rock garden is amazing!!

    And wow I am really enjoying everyone's ice plants! This year I bought Granita Orange, I am really loving it, and am hoping it will fill in a bit over time. It was a new introduction from Plant Select this year (bought at Echters) I'll have to snap a pic! I also bought a yellow cold hardy mesemb (I think Rabiea sp. Glenn) at Echters, which I am really loving. I am a bit leary if it will survive though, because HCG says it's for zone 6.


  • mmmm12COzone5
    last year

    Would love to see a picture of your Granita Orange! I've never seen that one but the pics on-line look gorgeous!

  • Heidi Denver
    last year

    Ok here is granita orange.
    And the second one I think is granita raspberry. The next 2 are of a little mini crevice flagstone table area, inspired by Kenton Seth’s blog, we will see if it survives!

  • Heidi Denver
    last year

    Sorry forgot to add these two! First pic is the purple mountain sun daisy (Plant Select) mentioned above. The second is a close up if talinium parviflorum Judith’s Fame Flower from HCG. I don’t have it in a rock garden but it would be great for that. It’s tiny, about 4 inches tall.

  • mmmm12COzone5
    last year

    Are these blooming now? I only have one blooming now. It is my longer purple. This is it today.


    It also keeps the blooms open in the shade and opens before sun hits it. Seems to bloom more off daylight than having to have direct sun like some of them.



    This one blooms later and longer than my Table Mountain Purple but I don't remember the official name.


    I would LOVE granite orange. Have to keep an eye out for it.

  • Heidi Denver
    last year

    Yes pics are from today. They don’t bloom every day though! If you are near Echters in Arvada, they usually have a big selection of Plant Select plants, probably a bit sparse right now though. If you go there, talk to Daniel, he is amazing. He built a crevice garden there, it’s on the side by the pond plants.

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