Hello again garden enthusiasts. Let’s create a rock garden especially for Los Banos. 

Many of us think of a rock garden as cactus, succulents, sand and rock. This time let’s us use our imagination. 

I like using many small-scale rocks and plants, nothing over 12 inches tall. 

Low berms of soil and rocks form a miniature mountain range. Sometimes adding a taller plant species as an accent piece is acceptable. 

A rock garden is the natural end point for a fanatic perennial gardener. Imitate nature. Create natural rock ridges instead of pockets here and there. The bones of the garden are the rocks. Tuck plants carefully into nooks and crannies. Rock gardens are all about a plant relationship with the rocks. 

You can grow so many more rock garden plants in the same space. Some of my favorite rock garden plants include cushion like, white flowered arenania tetraquetra, bolax glebaria (I call it Astro turf), matting and spreading daphnes cneorum, various types of yellow flowering draba; sprawling blue flowered gentians septemfida G. acaulis, white or pink Lewisa, thymus serpyllum ‘Elfin’ and shrubbery viola delphinantha. 

For a taller plant to act as an accent piece I love using chilopsis linesris, artemisia tridentata and California Juniper. 

Rock gardeners are plant collectors. They grow things that may not look good to others. It’s basically not the voluptuous side of gardening and is not concerned just about flowers. 

Mark Koehler

Mark Koehler of Los Banos is an arborist and master gardener, who has degrees in Landscape Architecture and Landscape Horticulture from UC Berkeley and Northeastern University.