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The garden area to the right of the stairway contains a collection of rock garden plants mixed in with the conifers.
In the spring there is a succession of flowering bulbs and plants as shown on this page.
In addition there is a specialized area representing conditions found in an alpine scree. A scree is an “accumulation of loose stones or rocky debris lying on a slope or at the base of a hill or cliff.” A characteristic of a scree is excellent drainage and consequently plants that survive in these areas do no like to have "wet feet". The scree in the rock garden has a mixture of pea stone and a loam/sand mix to a depth of 18 inches for maximum drainage.
Like the rest of the garden we are experimenting with plant placement in the scree. For example, do plants like to be behind a rock for protection from wind and sun or in a warm niche with maximum winter sun? Does a specific plant grow better in the typical acid New England soil or does a close association with a less acidic environment in or around a tufa rock make for better survival? Because some rock garden plants grow best in very specific conditions, the turnover of plant material in this area is always in flux as we experiment. We have found that there are only a few conifers that can survive in this environment.
If the label on a specific plant has the symbols for star + half moon, then the plant undergoes a period of dormancy (sleep). Many bulbs and spring ephemerals have a dormant period where the plant disappears from view.
Photos by Mary D. Coyne