2022 Rock Garden Progress

This year’s progressive growth in our rock garden is now to the point we are working to contain and manage all the plants instead of trying to encourage them to spread. Some plants have been very slow growing while others we can rip out handfuls (eh hem, ice plants) without causing any damage.

We have quite a few ice plants in the pink and yellow varieties that bloomed quickly this year that I missed getting photos of, but the rest of the hen and chicks, stone crop and sedum varieties are still going strong.

We have a final few bare spots we have kept open to move and spread other varieties to, knowing in the past few years we would need to keep re-organizing growth around the rocks. These hen and chicks we found in the scrub parts of our yard and began to dig them up and move them to the garden. They need zero care and minimal moisture and just take off on their own.

New this year are the height of these hen and chick blooms forming. I’m honestly not sure if this is what they do normally or if they are too tightly packed and are reaching outwards for the room. We will see what is to come from these nearly two foot high arms. Examples below are of two hen and chick growths among the sedum.

Each variety brings its own blooms at different times which makes having the rock garden an interesting feature to get to enjoy each time we walk outside. All of these plants do very well in the extreme seasonal differences here in southeastern Wyoming. At this point, other than trimming back overgrowth, it requires almost no maintenance anymore.

My husband did set up a helpful drip line with water spray heads that cover roughly a foot or two in various directions. Most home improvement stores have these and we bought a system from our local Menard’s. Probably all the plants we added would have made it without watering, but it did help them get off to a stronger start.

We look forward to enjoying this patch of small wonders for some time to come. What’s not to love? Easy, heat and cold tolerant and blooms galore!

Waking Up from Winter

The first green growth peeking out of winter foliage always lifts my spirit that growing things and signs of spring are just around the corner. It’s in my East Coast upbringing that by April, yards are lush with budding trees and bushes with vibrant blooms  from landscaped gardens.  Wyoming is different with the land not truly waking and stretching  until later.

The winter has felt unreasonably long this year due to work keeping my focus for longer work days with more challenging deliverables across many time zones from my home office here. As the weeks have worn on, I’ve found myself eyeing the dark windows in the mornings and evenings, wishing to see the beginnings of spring to see some element of change on the horizon.

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With that in mind, it surprised me recently to see our rock garden already with hardy succulents and tundra plantings sending out green colors and new leaves. It does something for the spirit to finally see the beginnings of growth again.

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Many of these were sprouts were the beginnings of roots that we tucked into the crevices of rocks and soil wondering just how much of our first foray into rock gardening would take. We hoped that half of the plants we purchased and planted would take, but so far, only 2-3 have been lost – not bad for our first try with these types of plants.

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The clear winner of durability and hardiness so far has definitely been the ice plants purchased at an annual master gardeners community plant sale. Those little plants, per their names, seem to be able to tolerate all forms of winter and still come out swinging.

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It’s encouraging to see the original plants still hanging in there, but even more so starting new shoots and buds from within. Things are definitely stirring under the soil!

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The Wyoming winter is definitely not done with us yet, even here in mid-April. The threat of snow and freezing temperatures likely won’t pass until end of May. But as these tough guys are proving, they’re thriving despite the blizzard that just passed through last week. Yes, they’ll do just fine here.

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I’ve already got the next local plant sale on my calendar to add to our expanding landscaping. Just the idea of picking out more plants and doing more with our relatively new property is a pick-me-up that the cold and gray winter is soon to give way to sun and warm temperatures soon.

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