Advice for creating alpine rock garden in gabion

Discussion in 'Alpine Gardening' started by MrDan, Oct 27, 2019.

  1. MrDan

    MrDan Apprentice Gardener

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    Hi all, I'm new to the forum, and indeed new to gardening. This summer we began the transformation of our horrible flagged multi-level back yard into a level garden, and extended it to double the size by raising the level of the ground all the way to the pavement, with a gabion planter used to retain the earth and also to plant a laurel hedge.

    Unfortunately the builders didn't do the best job with the gabion, they haven't used internal tie bars to keep the front from bulging, and they have pitched the stone in without any real effort to select stones that lock together.

    I have two options - option 1 I would like to avoid, and that is removing all the stone and replacing it in a neater manner with tie bars. Option 2 is to insert tie bars where I can to reinforce the structure, and use the spaces between the stones to plant alpines, and obscure the mess that they have made.

    I'm looking for advice on plants to use, and the best way to plant them - I was thinking of lining the gaps with coconut mat and adding soil, the mat allowing for drainage but preventing the soil from washing away.

    I like the look of Aubrieta plants, but I have no clue as to whether i would plant them at the bottom so they can grow upwards, or whether i would plant them at the top to hang down (or in the middle for the best of both worlds). I'm thinking of using a lot of Aubrieta and interspersing it with other alpines to break up the solid block of colour.

    What are people's thoughts? All advice gratefully received!

    Note on the photos below there are some more rocks to go into the cages to level things off - I asked the builders to stop when I saw what they had done!

    Garden 1.jpgGarden 2.jpg
     
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    • Janet mahay

      Janet mahay Gardener

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      :sign0016:Hi welcome to the forum nice your have joined
      ifyou settle for growing aubrieta plants which are lovely .Aubrieta plants shine in full sun, they will also grow in partial sun. But For best results, grow the plants where they will receive at least a half-day of sun. Plants that grow in too much shade will lose their compact, mounded appearance, take on a leggy look, and have sparse flowers.
      They also need a moderate amount of water, but at the same time, they don't like wet feet. Rocky soils that prevent standing water will keep healthy root systems on your aubrieta plant
      another alpine is dianthus popstar the scent increases on sunny days
       
      Last edited: Oct 28, 2019
    • NigelJ

      NigelJ Total Gardener

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      I grow aubretia on the edge of a sunny well drained raised bed and thrives in the rocky surround, it gets cut hard back after flowering. I would plant it towards the top of the gabions and let it sprawl down. It will need some soil to grow in so you will have to create some soil pockets. Have a look at Sempervivums (houseleeks) lots of different varieties. Sedums will also do well there. I have Zauschneria growing on top of a dry stone wall in a pocket of soil and also Mexican fleabane (Erigeron karvinskianus).
       
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      • kindredspirit

        kindredspirit Gardening around a big Puddle. :)

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        Aubretia will grow down but if you can, try and poke some into pockets in the stones all the way along. Snow in Summer would love that wall as well. It loves bone dry.
         
      • kindredspirit

        kindredspirit Gardening around a big Puddle. :)

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        Another one that'll do very well, in fact it'd probably be the best there is Rock Rose. Flowers continuously all summer long. Will hang down 3 or 4 feet and completely cover the wall. Fabulous plants.
         
      • CarolineL

        CarolineL Super Gardener

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        The only worry I'd have is that the laurel hedge will quickly start shading the alpines from the light. So you need to ensure that you use toughies like the plants mentioned above, and don't get carried away and tempted by more 'fancy' alpines or ones that really like sun like sempervivums. How big are you going to let the hedge grow?
         
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