A visit to any garden centre will reveal a huge selection of plants for your rock garden. One of the delights is the constant surprise as new treasures are encountered and the ability to indulge in a wide range of plants that won't take up much space. Arrange them in pleasing partnerships creating contrasts of form and foliage.
Plants gravitate toward rocks. They thrive, bloom and blossom in leaps and bounds. My personal experience included purchasing alpines recommended for rockeries and trying other species not related to the rock garden. Monitoring their growth pattern was extremely interesting. They creep quickly to the nearest rock. Not just rockery plants all plants. Their tendency to reach for the stone is utterly amazing. I believe the shade, support and moisture emitted from and around the rocks is a large influence. The potted species seemed to spring up to twice their size within a few weeks. The same plant in another garden did not yield the same result.
One pretty effect is the cascading foliage. When the plant is in full bloom the combination of coloured stone, leaf and flower head create a spectacular view. As formation of new plants occurs an entirely different setting is inspired. The changing of seasons enhances the rockery as each month contributes significantly to the varied appearance.
The following picture was taken in July. This is the area where the steps were installed and the bulbs (Oxalis) I planted in May are in full bloom. The lovely little pink flowers draped against the deep purple leaf makes a dramatic statement. The bulbs were carefully pushed into the soil underneath and above the step. The result is a wonderful array of constant colour from June to October.
Miniature roses are placed at the foot of the rockery. They were extremely tiny when purchased in early May. Within a month they were taking shape and providing a vivid splash of colour. This is especially pleasing and I consider this a success, as every time I approach the drive these wonderful roses are the first formation I view.
If a plant ends up in the wrong place, it's usually pretty easy to move. Don't be afraid to edit; the best gardens are often revised. Experiment with appealing species, use some of the recommended varieties and add little evergreens for variety. As plants develop, the rocks appear to peak out between the foliage creating a memorable impression. The original rockery plan is brought to fruition with the rewarding riot of colour, shape and formation.