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A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Sunday - March 26, 2006

From: Cortlandt Manor, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Herbs/Forbs, Shrubs
Title: Native plants suitable for rock garden in New York
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I'd like to start a rock garden. The area is very rocky, the soil is shallow and it's partially shaded. I'd like mostly perennials that flower from spring to fall. I hope to make some purchases from the Native Plant Center Sale at Westchester Community College on 4/29. What are your suggestions? Thanks.

ANSWER:

Here is a list of perennial plants native to New York that are suitable for a rock garden:

Smooth rock cress (Arabis laevigata)
Lyre-leaved rock cress (Arabis lyrata), can be biennial or perennial
Tower mustard (Arabis glabra) can be annual, biennial, or perennial
Red bearberry or kinnikinnik (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi)
Harebell (Campanula rotundifolia)
American alumroot (Heuchera americana)
Bluets (Houstonia caerulea)
Bay forget-me-not (Myosotis laxa) or Spring forget-me-not (Myosotis verna)
Moss phlox (Phlox subulata)
Dwarf cinquefoil (Potentilla canadensis) or Common cinquefoil (Potentilla simplex)
Three-toothed cinquefoil or Shrubby-fivefingers (Sibbaldiopsis tridentata Synonym = Potentilla tridentata)
Early saxifrage (Saxifraga virginiensis)
Soapwort (Saponaria officinalis)
Common speedwell (Veronica officinalis)
Selfheal (Prunella vulgaris)
Woodland stonecrop (Sedum ternatum)

It appears that Westchester Community College Native Plant Center will offer some of these in their April sale. You can visit our National Suppliers Directory to find other resources for native plants in your area.

The The North American Rock Garden Society has instructions on constructing a rock garden and links to related subjects.

 

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