Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Rock Garden at the San Francisco Botanical Garden

Rock gardens are calming and peaceful to be in and around.  Subtle colors and textural variations of rock garden plants contribute a delicate beauty while weathered rocks add a sense of weight, permanence, and connection to ancient times.

The appeal of a good rock garden is hard to overstate.  This one is just inside the main entrance of the San Francisco Botanical Garden.  While my family waited patiently for me discussing lunch options on a nearby bench, I spent a few minutes taking some pictures and admiring the green carpeted rocks.

Don't you want to reach out and touch this?  It looks soft.  I don't know the ID(s?), but I love the combination of gold-green with blue-green.

Dwarf conifers add some height while still keeping in scale with the tiny flowering plants.

The stones around the perimeter of the small garden reach to just under knee height.  A raised bed makes for excellent drainage and raises the plants to a better level to appreciate them.

Elizabeth Lawrence wrote "...all lovers of rock plants...take pleasure in the frail, the perishable, and the uncertain flower.  But above all else they love these plants because they are small."  Bend down to eye level and you'll feel you've entered a miniature world.

The California Native Plant Garden at SFBG (my post)

San Francisco Botanical Garden
Golden Gate Park
North American Rock Garden Society


  1. Hey there! This is a form of gardening I haven't quite gotten on the bandwagon with, but most likely because I haven't really seen any well executed examples in real life. Too much rain everywhere I've ever lived for it to be a necessity, I suppose, and the only examples I have here in town look so ridiculously contrived that you have to laugh. I mean, people have brought in small boulders (in a place that has so little natural rock that the early Europeans faked the look of stone on their houses here).

    Its all about gardening appropriately, and I'm sure this would match just perfectly in many places in the world.

  2. jess, i think i know what you mean about contrived. i am not a fan of rock gardens (or ponds, either) that look obviously out of place or not well planned. but, as a plant nut, i do understand the urge to put them in, just so you can grow more kinds of plants. working with your environment is key...just one of the reasons native plants are a great idea.