That workshop drew people from five states. Such was the rarity of the opportunity. We had a wonderful day for it, and all went home well satisfied with their prizes. So last year when I asked BNARGS, my local rock garden chapter: "What kind of programs do you want next year?" the response came - "Workshops in April." Thinking back to that previous wonderful day, I arranged for the return of Harvey and "The Tufa Crevice Workshop." Lucky for our chapter Dean, one of our NY members, was able to bring a truckload of Illion Gorge tufa. Wohoo Dean!
|Irene giving hints|
Harvey gave an inspiring lecture including how-to plus inspirational slides before the hands on session. So everyone raced to the tables the minute the lights came on to start picking up their ingredients.
Anne arrived with a couple of massive pieces of tufa for Rod to split or drill. So she set him to work right away while she picked out cuttings and plants.
|Rod splitting Tufa|
Oh yes, and Wrightman Alpines came prepared for plant lusting rock gardeners with many flats of deliciously exotic plants. Not all were to go into the tufa!
|Filling the holes with clay and cuttings|
|Well rooted cuttings|
|Rod preparing to mix up the clay|
|Hedi "fitting tufa"|
First I picked out likely fitting stone from Dean. It was childhood building with blocks: turning the rocks over and over until I felt a click. Turned out I picked out more stone than would fit in the trough, but no matter, it could go home with me.
The largest piece I had Rod split crevices in a couple of places. Then using the trowel, I smeared clay on one side.
Next I laid on the roots of the cuttings, adjusting the crowns exactly at the top, and smushed the sandwich closed. What a lot of clay overflow. And then I had missed some places so I tried to add clay. Nope. Open the sandwich back up and add the clay. Working the clay was a bit like dough. You wanted it to go on smoothly like icing, but not fall off the stone when you applied the crevice.
|Sandwiching the clay|
|Pushing soil into the crevices|
So Rod drilled a few holes. I pinched off a mound of clay, laid cutting roots on top, and shoved it in. Whew.
|Drilling the holes|
Have you ever looked at something you are working on and knew it needed more? This trough needed more green. I discussed it at length with Irene who reminded me all evergreens grow large. Successfully deconstructing a trough is always a feat. But I was reminded of a few in troughs at home that stayed no more than four fingers high. So though it gets big, I added one to the side, keeping my fingers crossed. Perfect.
I returned home with extra tufa, plants and my new treasure. Then I watered it lightly.
There was too much clay. So I began scraping it off but to no avail. Of course, the plants will overgrow it in time. But for my next adventure, the clay will be applied in a little more sparing method, maybe injected? Still - lots of fun! Do give it a try.
This trough will sit in the garden in a brightly lit area. It is like a tiny mountain filled with treasures. A pleasant reminder of past alpine hikes.