What is a ROCK GARDEN?


The exemplary candystore rock garden of John Stireman, Sandy UT.

What is a Rock Garden?
A Rock garden is variously defined: 
-A garden where there are lots of rocks. 
-A garden full of plants which happen to prefer to grow with rocks.  
-A garden to accomodate many miniature plants. (often alpine)

Why?
Domestic biodiversity and drama.
They are glorious: echoing the glory of high mountains, cliffs, or canyons.  The strong presence of rocks makes an impression of stature and timelessness.  A collection of many different plants means that the breadth of biodiversity's positive effects kick in. A rock garden can honour and encite a certain environment (like Canyonlands, or Pike's Peak) and it offers perhaps a most important serivce:  Soul Food. Rockeries are so deeply fascinating, like a coral reef on land; there is something new every day; there is so much nature packed into one small space, and so many quiet mysteries continually unfolding.  I observe that even non plant-lovers cannot help but be drawn to such a jewelbox- a buffet to feed one's curiosty.

Rocks are a fine and glorious element to improve the appearance and funciton of dry or unwatered landscapes.  Their functions are these: stones with plants squished in-between often leave less room for weeds.  A rock in a garden literally changes the physics of water, light, and wind in its vicinity, to the point that sometimes a rock garden is the only way to keep a certain plant alive in captivity.