Maintaining a Rock Garden
After you have created your rock garden and have your plants in place, you must perform regular maintenance on the garden, as well as any water features you choose to add. A rock garden requires much more attention than any other ornamental garden, and the least bit of neglect will be visible. Your rock plant can be compared to a sick child, who needs constant care and tending.
Plants can react in different ways. Some plants may thriftily grow for a year or two and then die off completely, while others will not grow at all. Some may seem small and weak, but soon take over your entire area. It is difficult to manage the actual rock plants, but the influx of weeds cannot be allowed to grow together!
Create a rock garden routine, based upon the seasons. In early spring, even before the ground has thawed completely, clean up your rock garden. Remove any dead tops plant, and winter coverings, making the area ready for new blooms and foliage. Once the frost is done, you can take inventory of the dead plants and determine what needs to be replaced.
It is best to keep a stock of plants in reserve for replacing lost plants. You can keep these in small pots, and also try new plants at this time. With the first flowering, perennial weeds will also appear,a nd it is necessary to dig up every root of these weeds, even if that means lifting and resetting your rock plants. Be sure to lift out the contents of the pockets, and choice a choice plant from among the weeds.
You do not want to postpone this task, the sooner you do this the easier it will be, because once the flowers appear, all spring work must stop. If you try to weed and walk around the plants once the blooms have started you take the chance in ruining the beauty of the flowers. During April through June you should not need to work on your garden, but just enjoy the beauty and floral display.
In June you can begin to collect seeds, as rock plants will mature them this early. You can use the seeds to grow more rock plants, or to give to others for their rock gardens. Be sure to get all the seeds, as the self sowing seeds can become numerous and take over your garden. During early summer you will want to make divisions and cuttings of the plants in which you want to increase.
You will also fin ht perennial weeds that eluded you in the spring, well above the foliage of your rock plants. You will want to break these off as close to the ground as possible without pulling them up. Breaking will destroy the annual, while the perennial must wait to be pulled until the autumn cleaning. You do not want to loosen the soil during the summer months, as this can cause dry soil, and you must conserve all existing moisture.