5 OCTOBER 1934, Page 17

The Rock Garden Many hard things have been said about

the rock garden; and in old days it often more nearly resembled a coal-tip than a garden. It may look artificial and silly ; but the rock plants are the soul of gardening nevertheless. They begin the history ; and if proof were needed you may find today in the Welsh hills, if you are a very expert climber, a little lily that has survived, or so it is inferred, from the pre-glacial era. Perhaps the greatest of all horticultural triumphs is the discovery of means by which plants habituated to snowy alti- tudes may be persuaded to flourish in a suburban patch ; and one of the reasons why the rock or Alpine gardeners go ahead so surely is this new skill in the craft of cultivation: The scree garden is more or less new, and its disciples have been much helped by several small and particular discoveries.. One of these is the use of Sphagnum moss. This astonishing. weed, which covers wide areas and indeed greatly influences the social and economic forces of civilization, has now a wide and widening market solely because of its service to the rock or scree gardener. It has enabled us to grow plants that previously quite defied the ordinary cultiva- tion of the amateur.