Good evening and good resting cycle Milky Way listeners. Recording from The Ice Cream Nebula Recreation Station, this is Space Cat Koko and you are listening to Sleepy Reads. 

After the Age of Destruction, items from Earth were dispersed throughout the galaxy. The Galactic Guppy Preservation Unit of Earth Culture has been gathering Earth materials that will be archived and placed in a cultural museum.

The Galactic Guppy Preservation Unit has one of its archive ports near The Ice Cream Nebula Recreation Station. My assignment is to create audio logs, in a calm voice, of vintage Earth handbooks, manuals, and how to books. These audio logs will help Earth humans and all in the Milky Way with focus, 

sleep, and relaxation. 

This second recording is part two of Making a Rock Garden. If you would like to create a rock garden, please refer to The Galactic Guppy’s Handbook of Best Practices on Surviving as Safely as Possible in the Milky Way. Remember, adhering to the best practices in health, safety, and galaxy protocols, ensures a longer existence to all life-forms.

For more information and transcripts, go to

And now … the continuation of Making a Rock Garden, part two of two


There are two ways of planting a rock garden. One is to do all the crevice planting along with the building, and the other, of course, is to defer everything until the rocks are in place and the soil thoroughly settled.

The former plan is a singularly appealing, as well as practical, one. There is something fascinating in finishing completely a part of the work as one goes along. The practical advantage lies chiefly in the fact that by this method good-sized plants may be firmly established in crevices at the very outset. The soil in that case should be put part way in the crevice and packed down. Then some loose soil sprinkled on top, and the plant, with the earth well shaken from the roots, unless it has a tap root, laid down horizontally with the crown just outside the edge of the soil. Next spread the roots to follow the soil run; fill up the crevice with more soil, packed well, and follow with more plants of the same kind. Use small stones to wedge plants where it appears necessary. Plants that hang down should be placed in the higher crevices; this must be all thought out beforehand.

As a matter of fact, the planting plan cannot be too thoroughly thought out in advance. At point after point it dovetails with the structural plan, which must accord with the requirements of what may be called the more difficult rock plants–the alpines, some of the ferns, and those plants that fit in well with rock work but demand more than the ordinary garden moisture. The best way is to decide what plants are most desirable in the circumstances, omitting, as a rule, the difficult or “finicky” ones; there will be plenty of time to experiment with those when you have more experience. Make a face plan of the several sections of the rock work and mark on it where the plants are to go. Use numbers, each corresponding to a species.

FIGURE FIVE: Where only a small effect is desired, a tongue of rock work like this is an easy solution of the problem. Note the avoidance of straight lines.

The general idea is that all the soil shall be concealed, not necessarily at the moment of planting, but at the end of one or two seasons’ growth. Unless you are a collector, variety is of little importance. The main thing is that there shall be beauty as a whole, a few marked seasonal effects of color with massed bloom and some green the year round; the garden must never be bare at any time, as nature will show you. Plants clustered here and single there is a good planting rule. Colonies, always of marked irregularity, ought to merge into one another, but they should not so overrun the rock work that no stones are in sight. Not infrequently some of the best effects are obtained where more rock than flowers is seen. A boulder, for example, calls for the contrast of plants, perhaps only a few low-growing ones in a natural pocket, rather than a semi-eclipse. As a rule, plant one hundred of half a dozen or so suitable, and easy, species in preference to fifty or more kinds.

Study at the same time the form of the plants that are to be used; some quickly resolve themselves into a carpet, some never get beyond mere tufts, some always grow straight up, some prefer to hang down, and some have foliage that is evergreen or nearly so. To be more specific, one plant of rock soapwort will spread out over four square feet of soil, and thus fill completely a moderate-sized pocket, whereas to conceal the same amount of ground three dozen auriculas might have to be used. The same is true of the white rock cress. So, too, with a crevice. A single plant of one of the trailing stonecrops would fill it, perhaps, when a number of rosettes of the smaller kinds of house leek would be called for.

Tall plants, like the foxglove, may sometimes be used, in a small group, at the end of a bay on the level of the path; but they are best placed behind the rock work, as a background, or as dominating features of the entrance or exit of the garden. At the entrance or exit such bold plants make a good bridge between the rock garden and the outer grounds. Spreading and trailing plants should be placed a foot or more above the path level and most plants with tufts or rosettes of foliage. If the path is broad enough some of the wide-spreading plants may go at the base of the rocks, but the rule there is to use those of moderate spread, with a few tufted plants and some that grow upright, but are not tall, to lend variety. When the path is of flat stones, irregular in both size and placing, this growth should fill all the soil space, even between the stones. Such a path will be found more than worthwhile, and not as much of an undertaking as it may seem.

Obvious considerations are that plants with a decided hankering after moisture or shade should be favored in the matter of location, though it is astonishing how adaptive many of them are.

Do not plant the weak next to the strong. Unless you are a gardener of eternal vigilance, the weak will have the worst of it before you realize what a mistake you have made.

Finally, do not forget that planting is not the end; it is only the beginning–of planting. So long as the rock garden exists there will always be planting. Normal mortality will necessitate some, there will be thinning out, and time will suggest additions and rearrangement.

And with the planting goes on the continual care, much of which can be done in the course of the daily walk in the garden, and therefore the loss of time will not be felt. Water in case of a real drought, but use a sprinkler, and do not stop until the ground has been soaked to a depth of a few inches. Mere surface watering is bad enough in the ordinary garden; in a rock garden it is a fatal error, as the growth of roots near the top of the soil leaves the plants in no condition to stand the full force of the summer sun.

Go over the garden thoroughly once a year and all the time keep a sharp lookout for weeds. If the soil is heavy, top-dress with grit in the fall. Grit is good for rock plants. Stone chips placed around a plant will prevent too much dampness lodging about the collar in winter. Watch out for weak spots after very heavy rains.


So many plants are suitable for a rock garden that the range of choice is bewildering. In this, as in the laying out of the garden, advisability takes precedence over pure personal desire, though, very fortunately, it is often not difficult to make the two go hand in hand; a little intelligent thought helps a lot.

To the beginner, no better advice can be given than that which applies to the picking out of the rocks, use the material which is close at hand. This is not, by any means, a mere suggestion to follow the lines of least resistance. It is far more. In the first place, there is always an endless amount of beautiful and suitable plant life to be had without going far afield. Then again, natural harmonious effects in your immediate neighborhood are pretty sure to be appropriate to your grounds. Finally, you can see for yourself how things grow, and as for the hardiness of plants, you have it already tested for you. This refers not alone to the natural conditions; there is a second wide field in the gardens–the hardy gardens–of others, where you can at once choose from the many and learn whether certain plants are too tender or require too much care for your use.

So far as plants native to the immediate neighborhood are concerned, their value to the rock garden of the average person with limited time, who is not obsessed with the idea of growing the rare and curious, cannot be overestimated. And they are so many; more than most realize, and often of an individual beauty not always appreciated in the bewildering profusion of the wild but plainly apparent when an individual, or a little group, is open to close study in a rock garden. Do not make the rather common mistake of thinking that they are too familiar to be interesting; they are never likely to be. And, honestly, can you say in your heart that they are?

FIGURE SIX and SEVEN: Native plants are excellent material for the rock garden. The foam flower and one of the smaller ferns.

For a Connecticut rock garden, the Greek valerian must be purchased, unless a neighbor can spare some from his collection of old-fashioned flowers; there it belongs in that category. But why should you of Minnesota or Missouri deny so beautiful a flower a place in your rock garden, simply because you have only to go to the woods for it? The English enthusiast brings home primroses from the Himalayas, gentians from the Swiss Alps, and yellow mountain-avens from the Canadian Rockies for his rock garden, but he does not fail to take advantage of some of the common things near-by-even the “pale primrose” and the cowslip.

From ferns alone, or from only plants of shrubby growth, a most beautiful native rock garden may be made. And adding small flowering plants, or excluding all else, there are limitless opportunities. It goes without saying that A’s rock garden in Maine will not be like B’s in Louisiana; but there is no law compelling it to be.

And now… the interlude. 

Moon Dauber Delights presents … Bread and Butter Pudding





Powdered cinnamon

3 eggs

1 pint milk

3 tablespoons powdered sugar

Cut a number of slices of bread, taking off the crusts and spreading them with butter. Butter a pudding-dish and fill it three parts full with the slices of bread and butter, sprinkling a little powdered cinnamon and a few sultanas between each layer. Beat the sugar and eggs together. Add the milk and flavoring. Strain. Pour slowly on the bread, letting it absorb all it can. Bake in a moderate oven for an hour. 

A good variation of this pudding is made by spreading each layer of bread and butter with jam.

This recipe was found in The Pudding and Pastry Book by Elizabeth Douglas. Published in vintage Earth year 1903

And now, the conclusion of … Making a Rock Garden.

Among the common wild flowers of the East that take on unexpected new beauty when transferred to the rock garden are the celandine, strawberry, cranesbill, toadflax, orange hawkweed, herb Robert, coltsfoot, Solomon’s seal, foam flower, bloodroot, and some of the violets. These are but a few names, and random ones at that. Some of them, the coltsfoot, cranesbill, celandine, and toadflax, spread too rapidly, but by careful watching and not allowing the seed to ripen, they may be kept within bounds. There are many such plants that will take all the room in sight if they are allowed to, and they must be watched closely, or else discarded altogether. Some of them answer a good purpose by giving the rock garden a quick start, after which they may easily be reduced or thrown out altogether. There need be no compunction about discarding. Certain plants, like certain friends, you enjoy having for a visit, but do not care to see remain forever and a day.

Annuals as a class are not desirable for the rock garden; for one thing, the care of renewal is too great. Biennials are almost as much care, but in each case, there will always be exceptions that are a matter of individual preference. Few, for example, would have the heart to reject the dainty little purple toadflax of Switzerland, just because it is a biennial. The main dependence, however, must be placed on perennials–the plants that, barring accidents, last indefinitely. These should be mostly species; if horticultural, do not use the bizarre–Darwin tulips, for example, or the Madame Chereau iris. Nor, with rare exceptions, should double flowers be used. A double daffodil looks horribly out of place, while the double white rock cress will pass.

The easy rock garden plants, where the material is not taken from the wild, are to be found in most of the large hardy gardens of the East. Some of them are natives of Europe or Asia, and more than is commonly suspected are at home in other parts of the United States. Among the best of these for carpets of bloom are creeping phlox, hairy phlox, purple rock cress, maiden pink, blue bugle, white bugle, woolly chickweed, creeping thyme, dwarf speedwell, rock soapwort, alpine mint, and pink, white, and yellow stonecrops. All of them fairly hug the ground. There are other plants that form a carpet of foliage, but the flower stalks rise higher. These include white rock cress, the permissible double buttercup, the also permissible double German catchfly, another double flower, “fair maids of France”, Carpathian bellflower, grass pink, dwarf iris, crested iris, Christmas rose, wild blue phlox, mountain phlox, creeping phlox, foam flower, silver speedwell, basket of gold, elephant’s ears, and various avens.

Several of the primroses give a like effect if the planting is close, as it should be in a pocket. The best are the English primrose, cowslip, oxlip, bird’s eye, yellow auricula, drumstick primula, and primula cortusoides. Similarly, spring bulbs may be employed; plant them, for the most part, under a ground cover so that the soil will not show when they die down. Of the tulips, single ones of the early and cottage types may be used, if in a solid color, but most to be preferred are the species, such as the sweet yellow tulip of Southern Europe and the little lady tulip. Crocuses are also best in type forms, and the small, single, yellow trumpet kinds are the finest daffodil material. Single white or blue hyacinths may be used, but better than the stiff spikes of bloom of new bulbs will be the looser clusters of bulbs that have begun to “run out” in the border. Other valuable bulbs are the snowdrop, Siberian squill, glory-of-the-snow, guinea-hen flower, grape hyacinth, spring star flower, yellow garlic, and the wood and Spanish hyacinths.

Taller plants that may be worked in, oftentimes best with only a single specimen or small clump, are autumn wolf’s bane, Adam’s needle and thread, leopard’s bane, single peonies (either herbaceous or tree), German, Japanese, and Siberian iris, as well as the yellow flag, single columbines, Japanese Anemone, yellow daylily, showy stonecrop, bleeding heart, Pacific bleeding heart, Jacob’s ladder, gas plant, golden chamomile, single peach-leaved bellflower, creeping bellflower, clustered bellflower, globe flower, snapdragon, balloon flower, lavender (where it is proven hardy), and musk mallow.

Of the lilies, wood lily, elegant lily, Japanese lily, and Easter lily are all desirable, and they thrive in partial shade, though in Japan, the elegant lily will be found standing out from the rocks in full sunshine. For peering over into the rock garden, rather than being placed in it, Canada lily, tiger lily, and Turk’s-cap lily are recommended.

FIGURE EIGHT: A rock garden merging into woodland. A curved path is desirable, as it affords a greater number of vistas.

The pick of the low shrubs are the charming rose daphne, which flourishes better for being lifted above the ordinary garden level, and Azalea amoena. The latter, however, should be so placed that its trying solferino does not make a bad color clash. Rhododendrons and mountain laurel fringe a rock garden well, and with one trailing juniper will provide a great deal of the refreshing winter green.

Single roses, the species, fit in well where there is room for them. Good ones are prairie rose, sweetbriar rose, memorial rose, all rampant, and the low smooth wild rose. The roses would better be at or near the entrance or exit, or far enough above the rock work not to ramble over small plants.

The plants in this list cover all seasons and vary somewhat in their soil and moisture requirements. But the variation is nothing beyond the ordinary garden knowledge. Most will do better if their preferences are considered, but none is apt to perish with average care.

Alpines, as a class, would better be left to the amateur with the time, money, and disposition to specialize. Most of them take kindly to being transferred from a mile or more up in the air to sea level; the edelweiss, for one, grows here readily from seed, and the exquisitely beautiful gentian thrives in American rock gardens. But, on the whole, alpines do not do as well here as in England, where the summer climate is not so hard on them. When they flourish here, it is at the cost of a great amount of professional care.


A wall garden is a perpendicular rock garden. But whereas a rock garden is of all things irregular, a wall garden has regularity. The wall need not be a straight line; it is better that one end should describe a curve, and rocks at the base may give it further irregularity. Yet, it can never quite lose the air of man’s handiwork. The prime object of the gardening on it is to reduce this air to a minimum.

The way to make a wall garden is to build a dry wall of rough stones–that is, a wall without mortar. Instead use soil and pack it tight in every crevice as well as behind the stones, which should be tilted back a little to carry water into the soil. This tilting may be accomplished with small stone wedges. The best kind is a five-foot retaining wall, as there is then a good body of soil behind to which the roots can reach out through the crevices. But a double-faced wall may be made, if the situation demands it, by constructing parallel lines of stones and filling in solidly with soil.

FIGURE NINE and TEN: A wall garden planted in colonies – the better way. If not too vigorous of growth, vines may be planted as shown here at the base.

Although the face of the wall in either case may be strictly perpendicular, it is better that each layer should recede a bit. Construct it after the manner of the rock garden, laying the stones so that the top will be level, or approximately so.

FIGURE ELEVEN: Dry wall for retaining bank. Cross-section showing crevices, soil runs and tilting of rocks

In planting also, follow the same rules. It is better to plant as the work progresses. Either plants or seed may be used. If it is seed, press carefully into the soil in the front of the crevices. Small seed may be mixed in thin mud, and this plastered on the soil. For a tiny crevice make a pill of the mixture.

FIGURE TWELVE: Double-faced dry wall. A few rocks are used with the soil filling and here and there one on top of it.

The range of reliable plants that do not call for special care is not great so far as the crevices are concerned. All the stonecrops, the house leeks, mountain rock cress, red valerian, false rockcress, basket of gold, snapdragon, wallflower, Kenilworth ivy, wild pansy, garden pink, and maiden pink are all very serviceable. Behind the wall, at the top, a strip of earth should be left and there a wider variety of plants can be grown. Single Marguerite carnations and grass pinks will form a sort of cascade of foliage and bloom there if planted close to the wall or in the crevices of the top, and a similar effect, but much bolder, can be created with the perennial pea.

If the dry wall is already made, the crevices can be plugged with soil if care and patience are used. Even a cemented wall is not hopeless; here and there the mortar can be chiseled out and an occasional small stone should be removed.

A wall garden has these advantages over a rock garden; it is more easily constructed, it is of practical use, and it is sometimes a possibility where the other is not.


Neither the water nor the bog garden is dependent on rocks. Either or both, however, may just as well be an adjunct of the rock garden. They solve the wet spot problem admirably, permit the culture of native water lilies, orchids, and numerous other beautiful plants, and certainly contribute their share of picturesqueness. If water is lacking, it may often be introduced at little expense.

FIGURE THIRTEEN: A little grotto with trickling water makes a picturesque break in a wall garden. If shady, plant ferns generously.

In most cases it will be found that some cement construction is necessary, but not a bit of it should show. This is easily managed by building a cement shoulder on the sides of the pool or stream a little below what will be the level of the water, and then setting rough stones on that. A cement bottom for shallow water may be disguised by imbedding pebbles and small stones in the cement before it sets.

FIGURE FOURTEEN: To conceal the cemented bank of a pool or stream, make a shoulder eight inches or so wide and about six inches below the water line. Then place small rocks on the shoulder.

Dispose the rocks very irregularly, but they may be so few as to be mere notes. Avoid stagnant water, and if mosquitoes are feared introduce some goldfish. They like mosquito larvae.

Water lilies and arrowheads, one plant will do if the pool is small, in the water and near it, but not in standing water, Japanese iris, yellow flag, globe flower, and rose loosestrife are good selections. Forget-me-not is one of the finest plants for the banks. Use the perennial kind everblooming forget-me-not.

The bog garden simply reproduces bog conditions. As a rock garden adjunct, it may be a small spot with the perpetually moist and moss-covered soil in which the native lady slippers and pitcher plants flourish. Eighteen or twenty inches of suitable soil, a mixture of leaf mold, peat, and loam, in which has been stirred some sand and gravel, must be provided. If an artificial bog, the bottom may be made of cement or puddled clay.

The End of Making a Rock Garden.

If you would like supplies for making a rock garden, the visitor centers on deck one and deck fifty-nine have rock garden kits that are safe to use on the Ice Cream Nebula Recreation Station.  These kits do not harbor invasive rock species. However, to stay in accordance with the protocols in The Galactic Guppy’s Handbook of Best Practices on Existing as Safe as Possible in the Milky Way (also known as GG’s Handbook), rock gardens must stay on the Ice Cream Nebula Recreation Station to protect planets, star ships, space stations or wherever you visit. We all know what happened to Star Ship Bonito near Lunar Station RX-7, none of us want to be responsible to cause something like that again.

GG’s Handbook can be found in your Shared Universal Space Transmission Unit, also known as SUSTU, is always updated to your current location in the Milky Way to prevent harm, or invasion in your environment, to yourself, and others. Good night, rest well in your space, and ignore all piles of socks. 

You can find Sleepy Reads in your favorite Podcast App, or wherever you listen to podcasts. 

Thank you for listening. Sleepy Reads is produced by Spicy Pony Design. For more information and transcripts, go to

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