P&PDL Picture of the Week for
May 29, 2006

Gravel Garden

Mike Dana, Extension Landscape Horticulture Specialist, Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, Purdue University

A "gravel garden" (such as the one shown here at the Beth Chatto Nursery northeast of London in the UK) is a unique way to grow and enjoy herbaceous perennials. It is a moisture conserving stone mulch that makes a gravel garden quite tolerant of dry periods. The uniform gravel surface provides easy access to all plants, offers some weed control, is a unifying visual element and provides a neutral background for the plant display.

But do not be deceived. These plants flourish because extensive bed preparation for strong, healthy plant roots was accomplished prior to any gravel being applied. And it is not low maintenance if you want it to look as tidy as this one. With the gravel mulch, all plant debris must be removed promptly to avoid organic matter accumulation.

Click image to enlarge

Gravel garden

Purdue Plant & Pest Diagnostic Lab Purdue Cooperative Extension Service