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Cultivation (growing techniques): Scree beds

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Started by: Julie Parrott

Go to latest contribution by Julie Parrott, 11 October 2010, 10:41. Go to bottom of this page.

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Contribution from Julie Parrott 14 April 2010, 20:51top / bottom of page
Correct material for Scree beds.

I am a novice who has not been gardening long and also has not used this system before, so I hope everyone will accept my apologies for any mistakes made.

I want to start a discussion on Scree garden making as I am trying to make one for my garden. All the books I have are very vague about the 'Scree Material'. 20% of the scree is compost or leafmould, and then they vaguely say 'add this to the scree material' but do not specify what you use for the scree material. Do you use slate pieces, pebbles, grit, gravel, limestone, etc? How big should the particles of scree material be? I want to buy this stuff from a garden centre but I don't know what size gravel etc, to buy. Please, could someone who has made a scree garden give me advice on this.

Contribution from Judy Rhymes 04 May 2010, 21:43top / bottom of page

Hi Julie

Welcome to the on-line discussion. I am disappointed that no-one has responded to your queries regarding constructing a scree garden.

To be honest, I have absolutely no idea on scree garden construction, but am attaching a couple of photos taken in March and April this year of the scree bed in the AGS garden at Pershore.

I hope this will give you some idea of one type of scree garden and will also prompt other more knowledgeable AGS members to give their advice on types of rock, suitable plants etc.

Please keep us posted on how you get on - maybe you could take photos as you progress and post them on this discussion thread.

If you would like me to take further pictures of the AGS site, from different viewpoints, please let me know.

Good luck.

Contribution from Brian Whyer 06 May 2010, 00:00top / bottom of page

You will find a description of the Pershore scree construction on Terry Underhill's website, at

Contribution from Julie Parrott 14 May 2010, 10:12top / bottom of page

Many thanks to Judy Rhymes and Brian Whyer for their answers to my question. As a novice I was very nervous about using the on-line discussion system, and as no one had replied I thought I'd either done it wrong or asked a really stupid question. Thank you again for your help. Any help is gratefully received!

I have used sandstone from the Forest of Dean for the top layer of the scree bed. My husband broke it up for me, with grumbles that they don't make prisoners break rocks anymore. The top surface now had lumps which are approximately 2-3cm by 1.5cm by 1cm. Are these still too big? The Pershore scree seems to have a number of narrow edged slate like top pieces and much finer gravel the rest.

Hope to plant it soon, so any further input by members avidly hoped for. I must say, planting also looks challenging.

oops, sorry,repetition of last contribution confims that I'm not sure how to do this properly.

No problem Julie, I have sorted this - Diane

Contribution from Judy Rhymes 09 June 2010, 10:39top / bottom of page

Hi Julie

I've been keeping an eye on the discussion thread, and still no-one else has come forward to help you.

Having been over to Pershore again, I am putting on a few more photos of the AGS garden scree bed - some close ups and one distant view, to hopefully give you an idea of the height.

I think that whatever size of stone you use will be fine - you just tell people that it's either lower down the slope or higher, depending on the size of the boulders, I guess! (Will this useless comment prompt a more informed response, I wonder?!)

Have you finished planting yet? I would be interested to see some photos of the construction and work-in-progress if possible.

Hope your husband appreciates the final result - it will make all his hard work worthwhile.

Mega oops from me - my comments seem to have repeated themselves three times - didn't think they were that good!


Jim or Diane - can you help out and delete two sets, please?

Contribution from Diane Clement 09 June 2010, 20:04top / bottom of page

No problem, Judy, I've sorted it - Diane

Contribution from Judy Rhymes 09 June 2010, 22:34top / bottom of page

Thanks very much, Diane.

At least it shows some-one is reading this thread, even if no scree advice is forthcoming!

Contribution from Julie Parrott 03 October 2010, 10:21top / bottom of page
Progress report for scree bed as requested

I am enclosing a few pictures to show how the scree bed was made. It was completed in May and is doing very well. No plants lost.

1. My husband dug a huge hole with a central column of soil which held the tufa block I had recently purchased.

2. The first 6" at the bottom of the hole was filled with gravel for a soak away. Our natural soil can tend towards clay and slow drainage.

3. The hole was then filled with the main scree growing medium. We chose a mixture of sharp gravel:JI no 2: leaf mould:peat with the ration of 4:4:1:1.

4. The top 2" of the bed was then filled with a top dressing of smashed (husband moaned a bit at this point "Even prisoners don't have to smash rocks these days") pieces of Forest of Dean sandstone. This sandstone is the sort used by Head Office to make their crevice beds. My vertical crevice beds can be seen in the left background of the photo, we used the same sandstone as Pershore. The planting can be seen in the photo of both scree and central tufa.

So far I can report all is doing well.

Thank you very much for the help you gave me in getting this project off the ground.


Progress report for scree bed as requested
Additional photo's for previous entry
Additional photo's for previous entry

Contribution from john lee 04 October 2010, 18:18top / bottom of page

Hello Julie,We are pleased with what we call our scree bed,It is simply well dug ordinary neutral garden soil with plenty of grit and soil added to give a fall of 18 deep at the back down to nil,the back support is concrete slabs set in on edge.the top dressing is bags of stone from the garden centre.

Contribution from Shelagh Smethurst 07 October 2010, 11:51top / bottom of page

It looks terrific Tony i can see why you're pleased with it.

Contribution from Julie Parrott 11 October 2010, 10:41top / bottom of page


I agree your scree bed looks well established and flowering like made so the plants must love it. My garden is very stickly clay so we felt we needed to do a bit more than just add grit. I wish we had been able to do something that was a lot less backbreaking than the method we used. However, fingers crossed, my plants are also thriving and no fatalities to date.

Julie Parrott 10 Oct 2010

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