Gardening where the sidewalk ends

Rock On October 4, 2008

Lately, as the fall weather sets in and summer flowers begin to fade, I’ve been noticing one way gardeners in my neighborhood have added scale and structure to the otherwise flat expanses of their parking strips. Whether used as a single focal point, playfully improvised sculpture, or as the basis for a low-water-use garden, well-placed stones can really draw the eye and create a sense of rhythm with the surrounding plantings.

Street rock garden III

Japanese blood grass and hiding rock

I like how the black rock (basalt?) seems to be hiding behind the Japanese blood grass and underneath the fading but still-lovely blooms of an oakleaf hydrangea.

A little grouping of upright concrete rubble and small stones in a shaded spot brought to mind a mini Stonehenge.


This one made me think of an Easter Island sentinel amidst the cosmos:

Stone centry amid cosmos

This pale slab was definitely selected for beauty, and it even looks like an inviting seat. Is that a four o’clock plant next to it?

White slab and Four o'clock Shrub (?)

Or hey, who needs plants when you have a big bunch of pink lava rock?

Red lava rock boringness

Okay, I’m definitely not advocating that last one as a grass substitute in the parking strip. Although it does have a few violets poking through in the spring, against all odds!

The North American Rock Garden Society has a fairly basic but still informative enthusiast web site. They have also published a book, “Rock Garden Design and Construction.”

(If the title of this post got an old song stuck in your head, here is a link to a moldy old video of David Essex singing his slinky but somewhat nonsensical hit, “Rock On.”)


7 Responses to “Rock On”

  1. Racquel Says:

    Rocks add another dimension to a garden, especially a flat parking strip.

  2. Shibaguyz Says:

    LOVE the Stonehenge and Easter Island rocks… not so much with the pink lava rock… LOL

  3. Philip Says:

    I love rocks in gardens. I have found for me that a rock by the thyme plant also acts to create additional heat. At least when I place rocks by thyme they do much better.
    I am just crazy about the Easter Island rock with the cosmos.

  4. Kanak Says:

    Loved the stones….the pale slab surrounded by pink blooms looks stunning! A mini Stonehenge isn’t a bad idea too!

  5. Cynthia Says:

    I have always admired rock gardens and I can see how one planted in a parking strip would work considering some rock garden plants are rather drought tolerant. That lava rock would not be weed free for very long where I live! The weeds here are insane!

  6. Aerie-el Says:

    Rocks add such, ahem, *hardscape* to a garden, don’t they? Love the photo of the pyramid-looking one with the wildflowers surrounding it. It really projects an impact of textures, depth, and dimension.

    As for the red lava rock…evil, pure evil.

  7. The red lava rock looks like a perfect case for Guerilla Gardening – any volunteers around? 🙂

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