A style of garden tracing its roots to classic Chinese and Japanese garden rockwork, that achieved great popularity in the late 19th Century in Europe. The middle class burgeoned and began travling to the Alps. Tourists would universally dig up and bring back some of the alpine plants they encountered to their bungalows (a practice frowned upon today!). The first classic outlining the modern art of rock gardening was The English Rock Garden by William Robinson (1838–1935), although its most famous practitioner was Reginald Farrer (1880– 1920), an eccentric and brilliant horticulturist who was the most charismatic and popular garden writer of Edwardian England. Rock gardening flourishes today, with multiple specialist societies dedicated to the practice in most industrial nations. Rock gardens are characterized by thoughtful design and soil preparation culminating in artistically placed boulders of different sizes designed to mimic a natural outcrop. Rock garden plants grown from seed or purchased from specialist nurseries are then placed to provide year round color and interest, although the main season of bloom in the Northern Hemisphere are the months of April, May and June. The art has been raised to new heights in recent decades thanks to enormous strides in the science of cultivating difficult plants in soilless media and the innovations of trough gardening and the crevice garden in England and the Czech Republic respectively.
George was always out in his rock garden, fussing over his alpines.
by Acantholimon February 03, 2010