As in the flower garden, the aim should be toward continuity of bloom. There should be no lack of flowers at any time, although the Spring and Fall seasons will be greatly to the fore. In this respect great aid may be looked for from the free use of hardy bulbs. Nothing is quite so pretty as colonies of Snowdrops, Jonquils, Daffodils, and similar bulbs, thoroughly naturalized.
Splendid color effects may be secured by very simple combinations of plants in the wild garden. These may be copied closely from nature, or be the result of individual taste in colors and color combinations.
Fig. 171. - In the wild garden the paths should be of turf and very broad. - See page 222.
The Alpine or rock garden is closely akin to the wild garden, as here, too, we endeavor to establish plants as nearly as possible in their native environment. The Rock Garden should be apart and secluded from the Flower Garden. If it is possible to select a place where there is running water it will greatly enlarge the variety of plants that may be grown and increase the possibilities.
The rocks should be placed on a gentle slope and the surface so varied that the contour will be undulating. A few large rocks are better than many small ones. When placing the rocks adopt a plan of stratification so that the strata all run in the same direction. Secure the largest boulders possible and arrange them so that the most formidable stones come at the base. In some places the arrangement should be almost perpendicular and in others flattened out to a more gentle slope. In this class of work we are imitating Nature just as closely as possible and the boulders must be so arranged as to appear inherent in the soil.
Fig. 172. - A dry retaining wall with pockets for plants, where the water feature adds greatly to the scene. - See page 226.
An abundance of good porous soil must be used and well mixed with leaf mold and well rotted manure to a depth of two or three feet. It is almost impossible to establish and grow a good assortment of rock plants on many of the so-called rockeries for the reason that the pockets for soil are far too small and devoid of moisture, so that only the very hardiest of drought resisting Alpines can exist.
The arrangement of the plants should be in clumps or colonies of one variety, and not of a mixed planting where the strongest growing kinds can overrun the weaker, many of which would soon perish under these conditions.
DRY WALL GARDENING Fig. 173. - In dry wall construction the large stones should be placed at the base, and the face of the wall battered back two or three inches to the foot. Pockets of generous dimensions should be provided for the plants, and all the stones should have an inclination toward the bank. In the illustration the plants consist of Armeria, Phlox, Dianthus, Aquilegia and Epimedium. - See page 226.