Rob Staniland, one of our club’s most experienced rock garden builders, will talk about building rock gardens in Calgary, part of a series called “A Rock Garden Here”.

Rock gardening permits unique garden shapes that can alter the ‘climates’ in a garden. From simply the sunny or shady side of a stone, to planted slopes steep and high enough to catch sun on one side and rob it from the other.

The presentation will briefly review the unique characteristics of the alpine or rock garden, as well as the fundamentals of design and construction.

Building a sandstone crevice garden, in morning light.

We will then focus, in detail, on how to modify (and multiply) the microclimates of even very small gardens. Using the ability of rock gardens to create height, sloping sides of the garden can be variously steep and oriented in relation to the available sun. We will provide techniques to judge current garden locations, and to design shapes that can both exaggerate and reduce warming to various degrees. This provides conditions for a wider variety of plants, and even increases total, plant-able area.

A crevice garden ready to plant, using sandstone commonly found in Calgary.

Sandstone crevice garden in Calgary with mature plantings.

CRAGS intends to follow this presentation later in May with a workshop to design and construct a specific garden using the tools and methods described in the presentation. We expect to include another online presentation to review the principles and tools, and create a design with a specific site and planting environments in mind. This will be followed by hands-on practice at a local site; refining the design and building at least part of this new rock garden. Watch this website for notices about the workshops.

This is an online talk. CRAGS Members will receive an emailed invitation and an emailed reminder with the Zoom link, and they don’t have to pre-register. Non-members are welcome to register for the talk on Eventbrite or purchase a CRAGS membership.