TROUGHS: Troughs may have originated with British rock gardeners searching for a suitable environment for their collections. Old stone horse watering troughs with holes in the bottom would last from year to year. Because the sides were raised, collectors could create layers of gravel drainage that rock plants require.
Today, troughs are used in various ways throughout the garden. Individually they can highlight a plant, fill a void, replace a rock, or even create a detour in the garden. Grouped together they can be used as a focal point, fill areas too poor to grow anything, or just make a statement.
Soil is the key to having troughs that thrive. Most alpine plants enjoy soil that is gritty and well-drianed. They like moisture but want it to drain away quickly, otherwise their roots will rot. A combination of chicken grit (or cherry stone), pea gravel and soil (you can even add some sand) works very well for trough gardens. Conifers grow well in these conditions as well, as long as you don't use moisture-loving varieties.
For fun, try planting Theme Troughs. There are hundreds of theme ideas if you use your imagination. Some suggestions may be:
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