rock garden

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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 plantsalpine plants,
high-altitude representatives of various flowering plants (chiefly perennials) that because of their dwarf habit, profuse blooming, and the preference of many for shady places are cultivated in alpine and rock gardens.
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, 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 © 2013, 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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.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
References in periodicals archive ?
In that area we have sampled 19 rock gardens and 5 non-garden areas within a study region of ca.
The area along the public sidewalk is a rock garden, with large rocks, perennial plants and a small pebble groundcover.
Gentians are really spectacular rock garden plants, particularly the Himalayan G.
When creating my rock garden, I mixed native soil with peat moss and pea gravel.
Michael Hill of Rock Garden Music said: "We have confirmed Bad Manners for a gig on October 19 with Buster Bloodvessel as front man.
On Tuesday, I presented a show on the revival of rock gardens. Our main location was the Rock Garden of Edinburgh Botanic Gardens, but we also visited an original Victorian rock garden at Aysgarth in North Yorkshire, a project in Moss Bank Park, Bolton, to restore what was once a focus of civic pride, and also Ashwood Nursery at Albrighton in the West Midlands to see the exquisite garden of one of the best gardeners and most special people ever - John Massey.
"I have settled on raising my strawberries in a rock garden. Excavation for our house site left me with a southeast-facing bank that required rock to hold it in place.
How often have you seen a pile of stones and broken pieces of concrete surrounded by a couple of buckets of chippings on a flat piece of ground beneath a tree called a rock garden? For me, such accumulations are better described as rockeries filling a neglected corner of the garden, and often in entirely the wrong place for cultivating alpines - flat when it should be slightly sloping, shady instead of sunny, and most probably poorly drained.
At just three acres, it's relatively small compared to some of the locations she's visiting, but it's still got room for huge informal borders, island beds, a pool and rock garden and the charming Ruin Garden.