If you follow my blog then you know that concrete work is no stranger in this garden. When we first began work on the garden we had to do a few small retaining walls. It was our first dabble into the land of masonry block, mortar and stucco. We bought a cement mixer. Then the real projects began.
"I can't find any pavers that I really like," I told David. "Maybe we could make some" ( By we I really mean David) And so began the making of 169 pavers for our herb and vegetable garden. I posted back in 2009 about this project.
Then we tried our hand at brick laying and patio making in the English garden. All those small flat limestone rocks I collected when they were building came in handy.
We worked together to make the circular patio. I won't forget mortaring in between the stones. It was back breaking but so rewarding. David completed the circle around the bird bath and made some round pavers to complement the circle theme.
Then, single handed, David paved the small garden off our bedroom.
It seemed as though there was no more need for the cement mixer and David was happy to have it out of the garage. He packed it off to Craig's list and sold it in a minute.
So what next. When Pam Penick, Digging, did a recent revue of the book, Concrete Garden Projects, I was reminded of all those articles I had cut out of magazines, over the years, on how to do hypertufa projects. It spurred me into action. Off I went to to buy a sac of cement and some peat moss. I already had the sand from a recent pool filter change.
I decided to use the mixture I had in one of my magazine cuttings. 2 sand, 2 peat, 1 cement.
Mix to the consistency of cottage cheese.
My mold was an old plastic planter which I oiled well. I placed a cork in the drainage hole. Packed in half the the mix reinforced with chicken wire ( that was the tough part) and added the rest of the mix.
Left it to dry and then tried to get it out. Disaster. I had a feeling that this mix didn't have enough cement in it, or maybe it was too dry. First I couldn't get it out, so i had to hammer the outside to try to loosen it. You can see what happened.
Not to be beaten, and with plenty of materials left I tried another mix. This time 1 peat, 1 sand, 1 vermiculite and 1 cement. More water and more success.
I felt that my English garden really needed some troughs. Every English garden has them. It seems I had just the perfect mould to make round troughs to complement the circular theme of this garden.
And I now have the book, which is loaded with wonderful ideas. I like the way that the authors have laid out the book. First come the projects with a link to the instructions for each project at the back of the book. Most of the time they use a fine concrete mix which I assume means that the pea gravel is very small. I think the ready mix bags may have slightly larger gravel. Certainly this would be good for making patio pavers. Wire reinforcing was used in our pavers to increase the strength.
The projects range from simple small pots to larger projects. I'm sure David is dreading my showing him one of these projects. For now I am content to make a few more pots in the same mould before moving on to some authentic looking rectangular troughs. When they age they look just like the real thing. I will let them sit over the winter before planting next spring. Ready to have a go? Today is also the last day to sign up for a chance to win this book. You can do so here. But hurry, the contest finishes tomorrow October 21st.
And if you haven't already signed up with me and my gardening friends, for the opportunity to win a gift certificate from 8 of our local nurseries, then do so now. Just visit each the blogs of each one of participating bloggers and comment on their post too. Mine is here.
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