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Stone gardens: a fascinating variation on the theme
The stone gardens represent a fascinating variation of the classic green spaces, and contribute to recreate, in miniature, the typical landscapes of the mountains, where rock plants find a perfect location. It is clear that it is not enough to group stones together to create a stone garden aesthetically pleasing and harmonious, although even in this scenario the plants could grow luxuriant and without problems. In short, the difference between a well-kept garden and a stony ground is clear: the first, in fact, although there are no rigid screens or fixed rules to be respected, is able to arouse in those who observe it and in those who manage it a natural sense of balance and beauty. Specific skills are not required for the realization, but there is certainly work to be done: on the other hand, the stones, even more so if they are large, do not move by themselves. Furthermore, it will be necessary to also move the earth and arrange the plants. Nothing is impossible, let it be clear, for a lover of gardening or DIY: but it is good to know that he is not about to take a comfortable walk.
It is worth noting that a garden of this kind, once built, needs a rather reduced maintenance, in virtue of the type of plants that inhabit it, particularly rustic and able to adapt without problems to arid lands or strong winds: in short, plants that know how to identify and create their own living space independently. A stone garden can be created regardless of the space available: even on a small area, provided of course to reduce the number of plants and avoid monumental constructions. To begin the work, a terrain suitable for the growth of vegetation and a few carefully arranged stones are sufficient. As far as the economic aspect is concerned, all in all the costs are rather contained: the biggest expense is obviously represented by the purchase of the plants, since the stones can be found everywhere. In short, there is no need for expensive quarry stones, also because the risk would be to create a garden that is too sophisticated. The stones found nearby are perfect, and, why not, even some bricks.
Which terrain to choose (and in which position)
Once armed with a rake, spade and pickaxe, one can begin, not before having identified the most favorable positions: the best locations for a stone garden are protected from the winds, facing south-west or south, well sunny and warm. Also the slightly open soils are excellent, even if covered by trees, as long as the sun is able to filter through the fronds: very, naturally, it also depends on the plants chosen, because there may be species that suffer from excessively strong rays of the sun . About the soil, gravel, garden soil, organic fertilizer for fertilization and medium-grain sand will be needed. While the alpine plants, or rock plants, are found without difficulty in any specialized garden (with the nurseryman who will suggest whether to opt for plants with vertical development and plants with horizontal development), for the stones it is not necessary to refer to them. The soils that best lend themselves to a stone garden are slightly sloping, so that it is possible, moreover, to exploit spaces that otherwise could not be used. Naturally the difference in height of the ground must not be too obvious, or in case of heavy rains there is the risk that it will be washed away. Equally important, for the same reason, is the drainage of the soil: it should not be underestimated the fact that, once the stones have been positioned, intervening to dig will be decidedly more difficult and thus the fertilization operations will be more complicated than for what happens for a normal flower bed.
Stone gardens: How to act in the event of a slope
This does not prevent, however, from exploiting also land with a considerable slope: to remedy the problem it will be sufficient to build low stone walls in dry stone to house the plants, or even create a terrace. Since these are generally rustic species, the garden plants in stone are able to withstand particularly harsh climatic conditions, including arid summers and frozen winters. Naturally, this does not imply that even in the garden it is advisable to subject plants to similar stress: in short, it is preferable to avoid points that are too wet, which could cause rot, as well as areas that are too dry, which would not guarantee sufficient humidity to the roots of the plants . Equally important, in the design and creation phase, is the definition of the size and shape of the garden, whose perimeter will be delimited with poles joined with string. In the fenced space it will be necessary to dig the ground in order to prepare the foundation. Five or eight centimeters is enough, and there is no need to go deep. It is enough to remove weeds and turf, keeping aside the fertile layer of the superficial soil, to use it, for example, as a fill, in combination with fertilizer and grit. In order not to negatively affect the drainage of the soil, it will be well not to step on the prepared surface. At this point, by placing the seeds (or already grown plants) in the holes, the stone garden will be ready to come to life. Simple, isn't it?