rock garden

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rock garden

rock garden, garden planned around natural rock formations or rocks artificially arranged to simulate natural (often mountainous) conditions. The concept of rock gardens is believed to have been introduced from China and Japan into the Western world in the 17th cent.; they have since gained wide popularity as an ideal method for the cultivation of mountain flora and for beautifying hilly, stony, or other awkward terrain. Rock plants usually have long roots that enable them to obtain moisture even when the surface is hot and dry. Low plants requiring well-drained conditions are suited to rock gardens: besides alpine plants, these include stonecrops and species of columbine, phlox, bluebell, and rockrose.


See E. B. Anderson, Rock Gardens (1964), and H. L. Foster, Rock Gardening (1968).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2022, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Rock Garden


a section in a botanical garden, square, or park where mountain (alpine) plants are grown. Rock gardens in botanical gardens are set up on artificial hills where the flora of mountain regions are exhibited. The rock gardens in the botanical gardens in the USSR—for example, the Main Botanical Garden of the USSR Academy of Sciences and the Botanical Garden of Moscow State University in Moscow and the Botanical Garden of the Ukrainian SSR Academy of Sciences in Kiev—primarily exhibit plants of forest, subalpine, and alpine belts of the mountains of the Soviet Union (Carpathians, Caucasus, Altai, etc.). There are large rock gardens in Great Britain—the Botanical Garden in Edinburgh and the Royal Botanical Garden in Kew; in Czechoslovakia (near Prague); in Austria (Innsbruck); and other countries. Rock gardens are also used for decorating parks and squares. Usually small plants with abundant and pretty flowers are selected for this purpose: bellflowers, asters, pinks, dwarf phlox, anemones, and many others as well as low bushes, such as thujas, cypresses, junipers, rhododendrons, and so forth.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

rock garden

a garden featuring rocks or rockeries
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
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"The alpine garden turned into a full rock garden, mainly because the stone we ordered from a local quarry turned out to be more than we anticipated!" said Julie.
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Organiser Marie McGarvey, who will be 50 in January, features in a wheelbarrow as Miss February in a photograph taken weeks later in the Alpine Garden of nearby Lissadell House.
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