Gardeners find a unique and enjoyable challenge in exploring rock garden ideas. Rock gardening is a fascinating subgroup of the horticultural arts. Recreating alpine landscapes in miniature with natural dwarf perennials and delicate but hardy succulents and bulbs offers endless challenges and rewards to the gardener.

The dainty scale of the plants also allows for great versatility in design, as they can be adapted to just about any size the grower desires. One can also play with scale and make a small space look larger by a studied placement of rocks and the addition of dwarf shrubs.

While a traditional rock garden is planted directly in the ground, a smaller but equally handsome form may be designed to fit a large trough using the same sort of miniature alpines featured in regular rock gardening. Walls or rock outcroppings can also be cultivated as a sort of vertical garden by filling the spaces with soil and planting alpines and small perennials, which will make a lovely cascading show when in bloom.

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In this rock garden idea, a variety of plants -- zebra grass, ferns, and several varieties of ground cover plants and trees -- frame and mingle with a path of rocks and boulders. The result is a garden design that looks as if planned by nature.

Gardeners can show off their eye for design with the trough rock garden ideas in the next section. Trough gardens isolate and raise miniature plants to make them more readily visible. Keep reading to find trough garden ideas and photos.

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