Clueless -- but would like a rock garden
I am interested in a rock garden but am basically completely clueless as to what is involved. I live in New York State, Westchester county. I think I am in an unusual position in that I have the rock, lots of it! The bit of garden I am trying to rock garden on is about the lenght and size of 4 minivan's parked end to end (Honda Odessy size).
I ended up with this big chunk of rock after blasting to build my house. On one side is rock bits and dust which I am slowly removing and cleaning up (heavy going). On top is a mat of top soil from then the rock was part of a wood. And down the other side is a steep slopped drop of about 40 feet.
My questions are:
1) Are rock gardens high maintenance? Is there such a thing as a low-maintenance rock garden?
2) What sort of watering needs can I expect given my location?
3) How much top soil do I need for plants? I am trying to decide if in some areas if I want to remove top soil and rock bits which is about 1-2 inches and reach bare rock. Or should I add more top soil and make it a place to plant plants. Do I need lots of top soil to get past winter freezes, or else my plants will die?
4) My garden is like deer resturant central. Is a rock garden a non-starter because the deer will eat it? They seem to eat everything. I am in a high deer population zone.
Thanks for any comments / suggestions.
Warmest regards, Mike.