Rock-n-Zen Garden Transformation & New Plants

Rock-n-Zen Gardens 2020 Transformation

Transformation is a goal for 2020 Rock-n-Zen Gardens with additional new plants and a DIY rock garden that will be a visual feature from the side window. Gardening is a personal expression of my artistic skills merging with wonderment for nature's perfection.

DIY Handpainted Coffee Tin Pots

To read more about DIY Handpainted Coffee Tin Pots...

To celebrate the shift into spring, I take the year's supply of empty coffee tins and make a series of handpainted pots for the new growing season. This year I offered to trade my pots for plants that contribute a personal connection & passion with other local green thumbs. 

Slug repellent with pennies.

I say often that mother nature is beautiful until it becomes inconvenient, especially SLUGS! I have tried various ways to save my plants from slugs and old copper pennies do the trick but I would have to have a truckload. I tried the beer dish in the gardens and found my dog Ziggy tiptoeing over to the pickled slugs for a slurp sooo needless to say it may work but not great for the dog!

 SLUG trials for this year... I used finely crushed eggshells surrounding the new sprouting plants. It sorta works... I think it makes the slugs move onto another plant without eggshells. The slugs LOVE my sunflower seeds sprouting so hope to save a few plants from being eaten. Before early morning coffee, I also do the ritual of slug tossing to rescue the new sprouting plants from being dissolved into slug goo. I could not bring myself to eat escargot these days!

Four by Four Square Foot Gardening Method

More about the 2014 building Rock-n-Zen Gardens
Four by Four Square Foot Gardening Method

In 2014 we built eleven 4'x4'x6" deep garden plots with basic two-by-six wood boards and on the bottom, we laid out heavy-duty landscape fabric and filled them with dirt mixes. 

After 6 years I can say there was a success in growing a variety of plants in shallow gardens. I will have to replace the older rotting wood for new edging one day but can get another 2 years out of the boards.

This year we built another rock garden, called the Paisley Patch Rock Garden as it's part of the spiral end of the rock wall and reminds me of the paisley pattern. Years of collecting rocks and driftwood along the beaches have come in handy for the creative approach of building the new rock garden that will be seen from our living room window. Lots of bulbs, roots, and corms for the various seasons will be planted in the Paisley Patch Rock Garden. Will see what likes to grow in this windy spot. 

How to make a rock garden.
Make a simple rock garden with a few steps.

In 2015 I created my first simple rock garden using 1 strawbale to fill the shape of the rocks. I had to hide a patch of dumped concrete from building the house and so laid the strawbale garden over top and it worked so very well, everything I plant in that little rock garden flourished but recently a NEW BIG DECK is in the process of being built, covering my entire front lawn. I discovered it was EASY to take apart the strawbale garden, moving the plants to other gardens. If you want a garden that may not stay put forever, this method may be the answer.

How to make a Strawbale Garden.

READ how I created my first strawbale garden...

MATERIALS for Simple Rock Garden that can be built on top of anything:

  •  Strawbale (the cheap one not the food grade)
  • Thick landscape material for the bottom if you want weed control.
  • Various dirt mixed with manure.
  • Handpicked rocks that are large enough to make an attractive edging.
  • Small rocks to fill along the large rocks for stability and to keep dirt in the garden.
  • I like driftwood, found objects, rocks, and sticks to decorate my garden but of course, use your own sense of design and fun for your rock garden. 
NOTE: Strawbale should be left outside to ripen meaning it needs to break down the nitrogen that could potentially burn new plants. I buy it before winter and let the strawbale break down for the season before using it in my gardens and pots. I stuff big pots in the bottom with strawbale too for cheaper fill and it retains the moisture for a warmer season. With this rock garden, I bought the strawbale in early spring and let the strawbale and dirt with manure ferment for a month before planting. Also, note that the strawbale will break down into dirt eventually. 

Building the rock garden starting with large rocks for the edge.
  • The first stage is to outline with large rocks the shape of the new Paisley Patch Rock Garden. 
  • Thanks to Jim for doing the heavy lifting and figuring out the right rock for the right spot. 
  • The large rocks are embedded into the dirt for stability. 
  • I added a second layer of smaller stones along the inside to give more stability to the edges.

Building stage 2 for the rock garden fill with straw-bale & dirt.
  • The second stage is to place a couple of strawbales loosely fluffed over the ground to smother weeds, help with retaining some moisture and then layer on top with manure and dirt. 
  • Each year, I will add more dirt to fatten up the layers.

Building the NEW Paisley rock garden apart of the spiral rock wall.

Paisley Patch Rock Garden is at the end of the rock wall which is in the shape of a spiral surrounding the house.

Large driftwood pieces and selected large rocks are placed around the garden to add interest.

Large driftwood pieces and selected large rocks are placed around the garden to add interest. Get more
 ideas for garden decorations using found objects.

For the eleven garden plots for this year I decided on adding several new plants which come from the green-thumb friends and the rest I purchase online from Vessey Seeds. I have kept a journal in GOOGLE DOCS with links and how-to-do references for easy reminders of what is planted & where. I have a lot to learn!

Each of the eleven 4'x4' garden plots & the Paisley Patch Rock Garden listed below are the featured plants growing in each garden spot. At the end of the season, I will have a better idea of what works together. In a later blog post, I will post updated photos to showcase what's growing as right now things are barely showing sprouts.  I plan the FALL to plant spring bulbs to look forward to a splash of color for the 2021 spring.

Rock-n-Zen Garden Plot #1 plants identification.

Lavender bush
BLUE Anemone Mr. Fokker 
Canada 150th Tulip  
2 clumps of chives
Egyptian Walking Onion
Harlequin Flower
Good Luck plant 
Hens & Chics
Brown Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia)

Rock-n-Zen Garden Plot #2 plants identification.

Lavender bush
Yellow tickseed coreopsis
Hens & chics
Elecampane Wild Yellow Aster (Inula helenium)

Small sunflowers
Bachelor Buttons

Rock-n-Zen Garden Plot #3 plants identification.

Double Freesia

4 mixed squash plants
2 saddlebags hanging on rail filled with Pansies, Lubalia, striped cherry tomatoes.

Rock-n-Zen Garden Plot #4 plants identification.



Rock-n-Zen Garden Plot #5 plants identification.

Egyptian Walking onions
Gazania (Mixed Colors)
BLUE Anemone Mr. Fokker 
SUNFLOWER Valentine 4’to5’
SUNFLOWER Vincents Choice 5’to8’

Rock-n-Zen Garden Plot #6 plants identification.

Hosta Green & light green

Rumba Nasturtiums

Rock-n-Zen Garden Plot #7 plants identification.

Oriental lilies 
Double Freesia 

SUNFLOWER Vincents Choice 

Rock-n-Zen Garden Plot #8 plants identification.


Rock-n-Zen Garden Plot #9 plants identification.

Egyptian Walking Onions
Red Oriental Poppy Papaver orientale 


Rock-n-Zen Garden Plot #10 plants identification.

5 Rhubarb transplants
3 Inca Berries from seed

Rock-n-Zen Garden Plot #11 plants identification.

Sneezeweed (helenium butterpat)
Daylily Frans Hals Daylily (Hemerocallis ‘Frans Hals’)
Sedum Album
Lambs Ear (Stachys Byzantina Lanata)
Ladys Mantel (alchemilla-mollis)

Paisley Rock Garden plants identification.


2020 brought the emergence of people going back to growing gardens for the food shortages predicted and I went the other way with planting mostly flowers as my need for HOPE & JOY. I have experienced such intense disappointment with the growing monoculture style of veggies with critters eating the whole batch in one sitting so what I learned is to intermix my veggie growing around the flowering plants. 

Small watercolor of pink red poppy by Minaz Jantz
Watercolor Sketch of a pink & red poppy grown from Bees Matter free pack of seeds.
To find out more and to receive a FREE pack of bee-loving flowers...

Flowers bring me JOY and inspire me to paint. The truth is I hate picking the veggies as I like to VIEW my artful garden and not eat it.  No two gardens are the same and in fact, each year my gardens change so growing a garden has taught me to embrace compromise, and failures and yet be so over the moon when I discover something I grew turned out successful. I am more attuned to plants that are growing everywhere and love to see how other green thumbs grow their gardens and what makes them inspired to play in the dirt!

ENJOY all that grows! Minaz

1 comment :

Lori said...

I love watching your garden grow. I especially love your drive by Art. Can't wait to see the garden with the new deck.

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