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Friday, April 16, 2010

Speed Bumps in the road

Plans were to open the garden to the public this Saturday, April 17th. Every now and then though you come across a speed bump in the road and need to slow down.

This past Wednesday I had a lump removed from my breast, it was more involved than I realized (or maybe more than I wanted to realize). Gardening is on a slow down for the time being. I can get out there and take lots and lots of photos (and be assured that I will do just that). I just can't dig or lift for a while so we are pushing the opening date of Melanie's Perennials to May 1st.

Hope to see you then!


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Sky High

Early spring isn't the easiest time to shoot photos in the garden. The soil is still bare, leaf and winter debris still covers many spots. So, for inspiration one needs to get down on hands and knees and look across the ground or even upwards towards the sky.

The emerging tips of the Polygonatum variegatum (Variegated Solomon's Seal) poke upright unerringly bending towards the sun. We'll be potting up lots of these lovelies for our friends.

Hellebores are at their peak, if I was staying at this house I'd be buying more and more of these lovely perennials. Incredibly easy to maintain, stunning flowers, no diseases that I'm aware of, unedible to deer and other wildlife and beautiful foliage...who could ask for more?

This is my favorite shot from yesterday's photo shoot, and yes, I had to lie on the ground to take it. The Epemediums are just beginning to put on a show, one of their nicknames is "Turk's Cap".

Another Hellebore, this one is in such a tough location... barren soil, massive tree roots from a large Maple, no water during dry season and yet it's still blooming away.

Four or Five years ago a gardening friend gave me a few Hellebore seedlings which I put out back by the shed. This is the most beautiful one, thank you Mary Kay!

One more Epemedium here. In the next week or two I will have several more varieties open. Eventually I'll dedicate a post to this plant, it's well worth adding to your garden.

The Pulmonarias are also starting to shine, I'll be posting about them on Melanie's Perennials later this morning.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Hypertufa day

Last Thursday was Hypertufa Day for a few women from the Nathan Hale Garden Club in Huntington, New York.

We gathered at Kim's house where her wonderful husband Paul had put together all the ingredients we needed to try our hand at making hypertufa.

Hypertufa is a product that looks like cement but weighs less. A woman can actually manage to lift containers made out of hypertufa. It's a mix of Portland Cement, Peat Moss, Perlite and fiberglass fibers.

Some other products needed are a spray-on oil so the molds slip off easily.

Gloves are a must to protect your hands and a breathing mask and goggles are also important!

This is the fiberglass being added to the mix. In a future post I'll give you the exact recipe.

Once water was added we had a nice crumbly product to work with.

Each of us chose a different kind of container to use as our mold. Nothing too large, we're saving that for the next time!

Simply press the mixture firmly against all the walls of your mold, making sure there are no trapped air pockets and that the thickness is the same all the way around.

Smooth off the top since that will be the top of your container once it is taken out of the mold.

Kim and I both chose to make ours out of 3 litter soda bottles (almost impossible to find). Kim formed hers by hand like you see here. I chose to use a beer can in the center as a second mold. We'll see which works out better.

Don't forget to poke some holes in the bottom for drainage.

Then, wrap your mold in a plastic bag and tie it shut. You need to wait for 48 hours before taking it out of the bag and slipping the mold off. Then leave your container out in the rain and elements for about 2 months in order to cure before planting in it.

Lots more photos to follow, Kim and I are putting together a whole power point program on this fun project.