Welcome to the Kentucky Native Plant and Wildlife Blog.

Welcome to the Kentucky Native Plant and Wildlife Blog.
The purpose of this blog is to provide information on using native plants in the landscape, issues related to invasive exotic plants, urban wildlife management, and wildlife damage management. It is my intention that this information will assist you in deciphering the multitude of information circulating around the web and condense in some meaningful method as it relates to Kentucky. In addition, I hope to highlight a native plant that can be used in the landscape.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Rock Gardens, a great Zen feature to your yard.

I have always been surprised that more people do not have rock gardens as a component of their landscaped yards in Kentucky.  Rock gardens, particularly if using some of the native rock, blends hard permanent, rugged and solid features complimented with delicate, often times, colorful flowers.  Furthermore, they are actually pretty simple to make.  One of the very best attributes of developing a rock garden is that they are very low maintenance and can be used to deal with sometimes difficult and challenging conditions, like a steep slope, in the yard.  When developing a good rock garden, you may want to work with a landscape designer or architect to help you design it so that it becomes a focal point in the landscape and can be a unifying garden in the landscape.  The key to developing the rock garden is to have a good foundation, which means digging dirt.  On a natural slope you should dig down about a foot and if using a raised bed you should dig down about three feet.  Remove the dirt because you are now going to put in the drainage layer which can consist of old broken clay pots, unattractive rocks, old pieces of brick or concrete, or other inert materials. Pack this material in to a height of about half of the depth of the dirt taken out.  Now add coarse sand over the top to about 3 to 4" from the surface.  Now, the final step is important because you will want to put the growing layer on top with a mixture of 1/3 topsoil (no clay), 1/3 humus (peat can do here as well), and 1/3 pea gravel.  You can retain some of the pea gravel for placement between plants if your design calls for it.  Now plant your rocks, yes plant your rocks!  You can use rocks of different types, substrates, and sizes to create a naturalistic looking effect.  If you are using large boulder sized rocks place them about a third of the way into the soil mixture.  One of the best things about selecting rocks is you can get colorful rocks, round rocks, flat rocks, and other rocks with character that can help and you can even get creative and have enough flat rocks to create a space for sitting and lounging, or one with a large cavity that would hold water for birds.  Your imagination and creativity are the only things limiting what you can do. Before the final step of putting in the plant material, let the garden settle for a week or so.  Water it, let the rocks settle, and fill in areas with the soil mixture where there has been subsidence. Once the flowers have been planted and established, the only maintenance is to pull weeds, which when young will come out easily from this soil mixture.  The final step, enjoy, enjoy, enjoy.
Some excellent native plants for rock gardens
Scutellaria nervosa
Scutellaria saxitalis
Viola pedata
Viola walterii
Silene carolinanum
Phlox pilosa
Phlox amoena
Phlox bifida
Draba ramosissima
Talinum calcaricum (or teretifolium if sandstone)
Blephilia hirsutus
Sedum nevii
Sedum glaucophyllum
Sedum pulchellum
Antennaria spp. (pussytoes)
Sisyrinchium albidum
Sisyrinchium angustifolia
Hypoxis hirsutus
Allium cernuum
Lespedeza repens
Lespedeza procumbens
Liatris squarrosa
Manfreda virginica
Opuntia humifusa
Solidago nemoralis


  1. I usually do not leave a comment, but after looking at a few
    of the responses on "Rock Gardens, a great Zen feature to your yard.".

    I actually do have a couple of questions for you if you tend not
    to mind. Is it just me or does it appear like a few of the
    responses look like they are coming from brain dead individuals?
    :-P And, if you are posting at additional social sites, I
    would like to follow everything new you have to post. Would you list of the complete urls of all your social sites like your twitter feed, Facebook
    page or linkedin profile?

    my blog post :: concrete stain

  2. I have another blog on nature photography, www.kentuckybarefootphotography.blogspot.com and I do have a linkedin profile but typically do not post much to facebook unless it is to the kentucky barefoot page on FB. I don't do twitter.