A Small Bit of History Concerning The Rock Garden

A Small Bit of History Concerning The Rock Garden

Both rock and water were old established garden features way before somebody thought of having lawns, flower beds or borders. 1000s of years ago the very first Japanese garden was nothing exceeding an expanse of white stone chippings with a single Cleyera tree in the centre and the Ancient Persian ‘paradise’ had a long canal and fountains at its heart.

The attraction was very easy to see, these two elements bring a natural feel to any sort of surroundings. Until quite recently however, they were primarily only for the wealthy. Before the final part of the 19th century, rocks were used to create very bold structures in large estates but it wasn’t until the middle of the 20th century that ponds and fountain construction became basic enough and affordable enough for the everyday landscape gardener.

This has taken a long period of time, but both rock and water gardening have eventually come of age. There is now massive interest in all areas of the water garden. Rock garden plants are grown in large numbers, the range available today in both rockeries and rock-free situations is immense. I find it fascinating that both these natural elements have several features in common.

They may extend for just a few square feet or in excess of 1 / 4 of an acre and both provide the chance to grow a vast range of plants not found in your ordinary, every-day garden. The drawbacks that they share are that careful preparation is necessary and a substantial amount of labour and money is needed for their creation.

By the latter part of the 19th century the age of the larger rock garden was all but over. In 1772 the second period of rock gardens began, a garden of rubble and Icelandic basaltic lava was created inside a greenhouse at Chelsea Physic Garden for the development of plants collected from the Swiss Alps. Here the rocks were used as a home for plants rather than to provide just a decorative feature. This second period got off to a sluggish start, although rock gardens were created at various sites in Britain and the idea of laying stones to present the look of a natural outcrop was developed. Things changed in the 1860’s and the rock garden at last took its place as a very important part of the British garden. Rockeries were built at Kew Gardens in 1867 and in Edinburgh in 1871.

In 1870 William Robinson’s Alpine Flowers for English Gardens was published. During this period and into the early 20th century Pulhamite Stone was manufactured in Broxbourne in Hertfordshire and used to produce public and private rock gardens all over the country. The three decades from 1900 to 1939 were the glory days of the rock garden. Reginald Farrer was the foremost figure and his ‘My Rock Garden’ book became the first bible on the subject.

Plant hunters scoured the mountains all over the world in search of new alpine plants and the rock garden at Wisley was started in 1911. In the years before World War II interest in the rock garden declined. Only recently has there been a resurrection.

Through the 1920’s and 1930’s the concept of growing alpines in non-rock situations took root, this together with the appearance of the garden centre in the second half of the 20th century produced about the third period in this history. People began to see the complete range of plants which were available together with all types of easy and inexpensive ways for cultivating alpines without having to make a rockery. So, interest switched to the plants and far away from the rock structures, and this is the key feature of this third period in the history of rock gardening.

A great deal of my time is spent in my garden. I have been looking for help regarding how to develop an ideal pond habitat for the fish which I intend to stock it with without much luck. To obtain the help I will need I have decided to use a company called Landscape Gardener London. So far they have given me all the help and advice that I have asked for, as and when I ask them for it.

I have been heavily involved in the property business for over twenty years. My work ranges from gardening, electrics and diy. Gasically I can turn my hand to pretty much anything.

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