The Wall Garden

A wall garden is a perpendicular rock garden. But whereas a rock garden

is of all things irregular, a wall garden has regularity. The wall need

not be a straight line; it is better that one end should describe a

curve, and rocks at the base may give it further irregularity. Yet it

can never quite lose the air of man's handiwork. The prime object of the

gardening on it is to reduce this air to a minimum.

e way to make a wall garden is to build a dry wall of rough

stones--that is, a wall without mortar. Instead use soil and pack it

tight in every crevice as well as behind the stones, which should be

tilted back a little to carry water into the soil. This tilting may be

accomplished with small stone wedges. The best kind is a five-foot

retaining wall, as there is then a good body of soil behind to which the

roots can reach out through the crevices. But a double-faced wall may be

made, if the situation demands it, by constructing parallel lines of

stones and filling in solidly with soil.

Although the face of the wall in either case may be strictly

perpendicular, it is better that each layer should recede a bit.

Construct it after the manner of the rock garden, laying the stones so

that the top will be level, or approximately so.

In planting also, follow the same rules. It is better to plant as the

work progresses. Either plants or seed may be used. If it is seed, press

carefully into the soil in the front of the crevices. Small seed may be

mixed in thin mud and this plastered on the soil. For a tiny crevice

make a pill of the mixture.

The range of reliable plants that do not call for special care is not

great so far as the crevices are concerned. All the stonecrops, the

house leeks, _Arabis albida_, red valerian (_Centranthus ruber_),

aubrietia, _Alyssum saxatile_, snapdragon, wallflower (_Cheiranthus

Cheiri_), Kenilworth ivy, _Viola tricolor_, _Dianthus plumarius_, and

_Dianthus deltoides_ are all very serviceable. Behind the wall, at the

top, a strip of earth should be left and there a wider variety of plants

can be grown. Single Marguerite carnations and grass pinks will form a

sort of cascade of foliage and bloom there if planted close to the wall

or in the crevices of the top, and a similar effect, but much bolder,

can be created with the perennial pea (_Lathyrus latifolius_).

If the dry wall is already made, the crevices can be plugged with soil

if care and patience are used. Even a cemented wall is not hopeless;

here and there the mortar can be chiseled out and an occasional small

stone should be removed.

A wall garden has these advantages over a rock garden; it is more easily

constructed, it is of practical use, and it is sometimes a possibility

where the other is not.