Rock Revival
Gardens Illustrated|October 2017

From a perfectly executed slice of landscape to the contrast between big rocks and small alpine plants, James Alexander-Sinclair delights in rockeries

James Alexander-Sinclair

If one had to think of the horticultural equivalent of the flared loon pant then it would probably be the rockery – if you have no idea what I am talking about then damn you for being so young and full of promise. Gardening, like life, is susceptible to the swaying vagaries of fashion and nothing has fallen so far as the rockery. Time was when every suburban garden had a pile of old stones in which alpines were cosseted and where, occasionally, gnomes cavorted as a homage to the mountains. Often this was just a way of getting rid of some inconvenient stones and the creations had a tendency to look like pet graveyards. Today, outside the gardens of enthusiasts, the alpine garden has been rather forgotten and dwarfed by the excitements of naturalistic borders and jaunty topiary.

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