Cultivation (growing techniques): Managing the crevice garden
Started by: John GoodGo to latest contribution by John Good, 08 April 2013, 19:40. Go to bottom of this page.
We all know by now that the crevice bed is one of the best homes for alpines, whether on a small scale in a trough or in a garden of any size. The AGS Guide to Crevice Gardening by Zdenek Zvolanek gives detailed guidance on all aspects of the creation of crevice gardens, and some advice on their maintenance, but it is perhaps a little optimistic in suggesting that little attention is required thereafter. In my experience the crucial thing with crevice gardens is not to allow weeds to become established as they, like the alpines we have planted, revel in the good growing conditions but, and this is the crucial point, are difficult to remove without dismantling the rockwork.
My solution is to weed the extensive crevice beds in my garden twice a year (March-April, September-October. I have found that an old kitchen fork is by far the best tool for this purpose as it allows one to get in among the narrow crevices to winkle out every weed seedling lurking there, to remove moss that will quickly invade and overwhelm cushion plants,and to clean out debris such as conifer needles and leaves of broadleaved trees. This is a slow and tedious task, taking two whole days to complete on each occasion, but is worth the effort. It is inevitable that when weeding the crevice beds soil as well as weeds will be removed so it is a good idea to go round afterwards topdressing where required with very gritty soil-based compost, at the same time replacing and/or firming any slivers of rock that have become displaced by the weeding process or the weather.