Thursday, March 08, 2007

Creating a rock pile in the habitat garden.

I have been reading about creating rockpiles in the habitat garden. Most suggest that collecting rocks and making a pile is easy and does not need to be of any particular shape or size.
As a gardener I have been piling rocks around the garden for years. Lining beds, stabilizing slopes, making a dry creek bed, that sort of thing. Rocks just seem to fit.

Green grows on rocks if they are in shade and if you lift a rock that has been sitting for awhile you are likely to see some insect scurry away. If the sun is shining on the rocks a lizard might be seen sunning and when it rains water will pool in tiny depressions and small birds may sip there.

The Mr and I have uncovered numerous rocks while digging in the garden but never enough. We are always scavaging rocks where builders are digging or farmers are plowing.It seems wrong somehow to just take rocks from the wild since that would disturb wildlife doing perfectly well already. Other gardeners never want to give up the rocks they find but non-gardening friends and family will think of us and save rocks on occasion. Buying rocks is a whole other problem.

The first two pictures are of our hobbit garden but this third picture is taken in a botanic garden. We did not get to see the vine in green leaf but it must be very pretty growing over that wall.Do small birds nest in there in spring?

This last picture of a
mossy rock wall
is something we would love to build if we did not live in an urban setting. Seems pollutions in the air stop this kind of lichen cover from forming. Moss does grow on the ground between the buildings through wet springs and in the fall. It looks like soft green carpet and I like it enough to let it grow in the path but the heat of summer sun keeps it from spreading very far. Irish moss [Sagina Subulata] can be planted to mimic the real thing but in this garden it remains in small patches.

providing cover Reptiles & Amphibians

Song thrush use large stones as anvils to crack open snail shells.
Dig a shallow depression and place some bigger stones over it – this will attract large creatures seeking shelter, such as toads.
Try putting piles in different places around the garden to encourage as many species as possible.
Insects and invertebrates that use a rock pile in a shady, damp spot will be very different from those using one that receives more sun.


lichen & wildlife


Blogger Carol said...

I love the little hobbit garden, and I also find myself piling rocks at different places in the garden. As I dig up rocks, I seem to find a new home for anything bigger than my fist.

9/3/07 7:57 PM  
Blogger Gloria said...

Hello Carol, do you think all gardeners have a thing for rocks?
The hobbit house is planted like a rock garden. It is finally doing very well. Took a couple of seasons of replanting as the soil settled we had to build up a bit.
I'm hoping this cultivar of ajuga got through the winter. I did fine last winter but this year has been different to say the least.It blooms so pretty.

10/3/07 4:45 PM  
Blogger Carol said...

Yes, I think most gardeners have a thing for rocks. I actually dug up a fossil a few years ago in my garden, but have refrained from starting an all out archeaological dig!

12/3/07 9:18 PM  
Blogger Carol said...

Yes, I think most gardeners have a thing for rocks. I actually dug up a fossil a few years ago in my garden, but have refrained from starting an all out archeaological dig!

12/3/07 9:18 PM  
Blogger firefly said...

You know, it's odd, but when I dug up the yard last summer I just happened to pile the rocks I found (and this is Maine, so we got rocks!) in a corner near the birdfeeder -- it's pretty much out of the way -- without thinking about it as a garden structure. Mostly I was thinking, I'll probably have to move those at some point.

Now I don't guess I will move them. Maybe I'll even make a bigger pile.

13/3/07 3:43 PM  
Blogger Gloria said...

A bigger pile or another pile
[one in sun one and in shade], or both. Time and rocks are all you need.

15/3/07 12:16 PM  
Blogger . said...

Hiya Gloria,
I enjoyed my visit with you this morning.
Am wondering: did you try the yoghurt method for encouraging mosses and lichens?

If that doesn't work for you, then how about coming over to my place and taking away bucket loads of unwanted moss :-)

30/3/09 5:02 AM  
Anonymous ryan said...

When I started building a little dry stone wall today, I set one rock and then as I was fiddling with the second, a lizard ran out from under my first one. I can't figure out if it rode from the stoneyard on the rocks in my truck or if it really came running as soon as I arrived with rocks. The job was in San Francisco in a three foot wide space between the house and the sidewalk, so I was really surprised to see a lizard so quickly. Lizards sure do love rocks.

30/3/09 7:59 PM  
Blogger Gloria said...

Joco, thanks for the offer of unwanted moss. I think it may get too dry during our summer for much moss growing, but maybe a micro climate will be created as the woodland edge developes over time.

Ryan, lets hope that lizard sticks around for the new accomadations.

31/3/09 8:01 AM  

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