White rock beds: how do I plant these??

julianna_il(z6 IL)April 7, 2013

Bought a new house and am excited at a mostly blank slate. I can take all my mistakes and lessons learned and refresh.

There are several beds around the house (front and back) that are full of white landscaping rock. I'm not sure what the previous owners did or intended to do. At present, only one thing is planted: an unknown flower that blooms thru June. (LOL, that's all they know..I'll ID it when it blooms)

Maybe down the road I'll consider removing the rock in favor of mulch, but for now it stays. I have too many other things to do before that.

So my question is: how the heck do I plant in these beds? Just move rock around, make a hole, plant and carefully move the rock around the plant? I've never worked with rock.

Any tips, tricks or things to watch out for/avoid? The Googling I did wasn't favorable.

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The Googling I did wasn't favorable..

And that says it all :-)) Personally, I wouldn't waste a second's delay in removing the rock. Not only is it incredibly unsightly (where do you see that in nature??), it is difficult to plant in, hard to weed or rake and can literally cook plants by the heat it absorbs and reflects with the sun. A good indication why only a single plant now exists in the landscape!

If you are firm on having it stay, research plants that do not mind the reflected heat - lavenders and other Mediterranean plants, plants that may be a bit tender, sedums, plants with gray or fuzzy foliage and anything heavy duty drought tolerant. And yes, rake the stone out of the way, plant and rake the stone back.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 4:48PM
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julianna_il(z6 IL)

The perfect answer, gardengal! Thank you so much for helpful info. I like the idea of doing some tolerant plants to start, with the eventual goal of getting rid of it and replacing with mulch.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 5:52PM
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What's the bet that there's weed-mat under the rocks/stones?

This post was edited by shaxhome on Mon, Apr 8, 13 at 0:23

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 11:41PM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

Bordering the road and our mailbox is a huge flat whitish boulder, surrounded by smaller whitish rocks of all sizes. It is pretty blinding in the sun, BUT it looks amazing because the previous owner planted wild onion which has a beautiful lavender flower and many nasturtiums which bloom and cascade over the rocks in masses of yellows, oranges and reds. There is also some dwarf rosemary.

The setting is rocky hillside, and all our neighbors deal with the same thing. Our rocks are natural, not white painted, but the effect is stunning. In the back of the bed, there are red roses.

Good luck to you!


    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 9:43AM
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julianna_il(z6 IL)

Suzi, that sounds absolutely beautiful.

Rosemary and nasturtiums are annuals, here. I plant nasturtiums every year with my vegetables, but they've never even self-seeded. I'd LOVE to have them come back year after year!

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 11:35AM
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That does sound beautiful Suzi. I'd love to see a photo of it.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 3:15PM
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potted plants look ok on top of rock gardens.

if you want the rock removed post on craigslist free rock, you remove and haul, it will be gone in a day. I almost guarantee there's a weed mat under it.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2013 at 12:26AM
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cyn427 (zone 7)

Marinewife took the words right out of my mouth-someone will jump at the chance to get it and you will be worry-free and rock-free.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2013 at 3:13PM
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This brings back memories of the first house my husband built with his Ex. She insisted on white rock beds. Long after the divorce and I moved in, the very first thing I did was remove that rock. What a job, I dug and hauled wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow of white rock off. Did I say I now hate white rock?? She also did not put any weed block under the rock so I had to dig down about 6 inches by hand and replace the dirt with potting soil. Yes I know garden or top soil would work but I wanted a nice rich garden bed. 2 years later, it was beautiful, with a lush herb garden directly under the dining room window, roses, Lilly and just outstanding healthy plants. I used a beautiful etched terracotta border, and bark mulch. I say lose the rock immediately then amend your beds, add dirt and borders and enjoy your new garden! :-)

    Bookmark   April 28, 2013 at 12:42AM
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