The Botanic Garden
 of  Smith College

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Rock Garden
Botannical Print
The Rock Garden is home to about 2000 types of alpine, dwarf, and woodland plants, making it the most intensively planted area on the Smith campus. Created in 1897, and modeled after a rock garden built at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, it is the oldest rock garden in North America (Harvard's 1870's rockery wasn't kept up). Many new plants were added in spring 1998, including some grown from wild-collected seed made available through Indices Semina from botanical gardens in China and Japan.
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Draba bruniifolia ssp. olympica
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The Rock Garden needs periodic renovation to maintain the sharp drainage most alpine plants require. In 1983, Gregory Armstrong and Ellen Shukis dug out the scree beds 6 to 8 feet deep and backfilled with gravel. Water flow over a natural clay bank creates an area with constant moving water in the moraine beds at the end of the garden, toward Burton Lawn.

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Rock Garden with kousa dogwood (Cornus kousa) in background
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Sempervivum tectorum
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For further reading, see:

  • Lincoln Foster, Rock Gardening, Timber Press, Portland, Oregon, 1968
  • Rock Gardens, The New York Botanical Garden, C. N. Potter Press, New York, 1997
  • W. Ingwersen, Alpines, Timber Press, Portland, Oregon, 1992
  • Jane McGary, editor, Rock Garden Plants of North America,Timber Press, Portland, Oregon, 1996
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Smith College
Last updated on Thursday, May 12, 2005.