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Crevice Plantings: Gardens in Miniature

Articles: Crevice Plantings: Gardens in Miniature

A garden’s cracks and crevices—between  stair treads, at the base of retaining walls, and around boulders—are, for most of us, places where we sigh and get an old screwdriver to pry out tenacious weeds. We usually think of them in terms of not tripping or of controlling unwanted invaders, but seldom of artistry.

Gary Ratway, landscape designer and master plantsman, takes a different approach. He elevates these ignored and humble  spaces to scenes of delicate and surprising beauty. In his hands, crevices are destinations, places to pause along a staircase or in front of a retaining wall—to linger and admire the surprising plant combinations of these gardens-in-miniature. The flat surfaces of the hardscape become a visual frame for tiny blossoms, delicate foliage, billowy mounds, and, sometimes, spectacular flower spikes. Plants creep out of his crevices and give the gardens an established look, as if their denizens have integrated completely into the site—nature at work with the hand of man. These crevice g...

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