Two gardens that felt a lot like “home” to us were the Xeric and Scree Gardens at J.C. Raulston Arboretum. They’re tucked away to the far edge of the grounds, and probably not as well visited as the lauded Color Trials or the Japanese gardens.
We scrambled through Scree at Mt. Lassen this summer. Scree occurs when rock has water seep into it, freeze and thaw repeatedly over time. The rock becomes jagged and gravelly. Water won’t settle into a scree field like it would in soil, and the plants must be heartier, and often succulent. Xeric—dry—habitats can be found worldwide. Whereas in California xeriscaping was used as a practical means of saving water, and thus was very common, people who wish to plant in this way in wetter climates, like the southeast, must build mounds or berms and amend the soil with sand or gravel to encourage drainage. Either way, plants in both gardens tend to have a broader range of colors and tough or waxy leaves.