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Designing a Rock Berm Garden

#CompatibleCompanions: Companions of the rocky ground, sunshine and an 'everlasting' garden design, including Spiderwort, Salvia, and More

Spiderwort and Driftwood
Spiderwort and Driftwood

Gardens are transient, one can only hope for them to be 'everlasting'. But when designed well and with thorough understanding of the original habitat in mind, they can seem to be "everlasting," requiring minor tweaking as seasons go by.

Right planting combinations in the right habitat always makes for a happy design. Today, let's look at plant companions that enjoy:

  • full sun

  • dry/drought conditions

  • good drainage

  • and where they can simply do their thing and take over or spread

The rock berm by the Visitor Center at London Town is currently coming alive with the late spring-summer blooms:

  • Spiderworts

  • Salvia

  • Lavender

  • Euphorbia

  • Pincushion Flowers

  • Agave

  • And lots of rocks and drift wood to balance it off

Spiderwort (Tradescantia)
Spiderwort (Tradescantia)


Tradescantia (Spiderwort) is a profusely blooming and a rewarding ground cover that blooms most of the year. "Spiderworts are easy-care plants for full sun to partial shade. Flower production is better in full sun, but part shade is beneficial where summer temperatures are hot. Spiderworts prefer moist, well-drained soils, but do not like their roots to be overly wet or dry." Source


Salvia Salvia sps. is another wonderful addition to any rock berm. Lasting late spring to mid summer blooms with striking colors make this one of the best, maintenance free garden design winner. The deep purple color is healing in its own way, but there is ample to this plant and its healing properties. "The name Salvia ("salviya") derives from the Latin salvere ("to feel well and healthy, health, heal"), the verb related to salus (health, well-being, prosperity or salvation), referring to the herb's healing properties." Source

Scabiosa (Pincushion flower) and Agave
Scabiosa (Pincushion flower) and Agave

Other Partnering Plants for Drought Like Conditions Amsonia, Euphorbia, Iris, Lavender, Agave, Scabiosa... there are many plants that can be paired together that enjoy the sun and drought like conditions. One striking pair is a combination of the sharp leaved Agave and the delicate pincushion flowers. The drastic contrast in their habit makes them a striking pair and the similar habitat makes them compatible companions of an 'everlasting' design.

Scabiosa (Pincushion flower) and Agave in front of the Visitor Center
Scabiosa (Pincushion flower) and Agave in front of the Visitor Center

Most rock garden planting combinations will last long, if they have the right base to begin with, rocky-sandy mixture, and lots and lots of drainage. It also needs a palette that will allow it to thrive, meaning to spread out. This is not your manicured garden, but rather a garden that makes it own mosaic of colors once the species have established and made room for themselves. There are ample planting combinations for rock gardens. When done right, ample pollinators will also reap the rewards, wishing the rock garden is their everlasting supply of goodness.


Grow the ReLeaf Fund

Recently, London Town launched the ReLeaf Fund. This newly created fund was inspired by the cycle of renewal in our gardens. Donations to it will ensure that London Town will grow again. Funds will be matched up to $35,000! Learn more and donate today!


London Town: Today and Tomorrow Survey

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