Colorful Columbines
McKana's Hybrid Columbines (Aquilegia) are prominently featured in the center of this full-sun, southwest-facing garden. The outside perimeter and the niches in the rock walls are planted with small species, such as Fairy Thimbles (Campanula cochleariifolia), Alpine Alyssum (Alyssum wulfenianum), Rosy Pussytoes (Antennaria microphylla) and Alpine Twinpod (Physaria alpina).

Large, flat rocks are conveniently placed on the surface of the bed to accommodate my feet and knees when I'm in the garden doing such activities as planting, weeding or collecting seeds. I never step or kneel on the soil; only on the rocks. This protects the soil from compaction which would starve my plants' roots of oxygen and prevent good water infiltration.

The plants really like those flat rocks. They direct their roots to grow under them where the soil is always cool and moist.