Tuesday, March 13, 2012


The weather was mild and schedules were tight, but the Divas wanted to make up my missed summer date during November. That sounded wonderful to me but my friends had so many things going on that they'd have to pop in-and-out during the project day.

Divasofthedirt,Hypertufa day
Let's experiment with a Saturday in November as a kind of open house Diva Day of hypertufa. We'll figure out some dishes that can be kept warm, or maybe stick to coffee cakes, breakfast rolls and sandwiches so whenever you get here and are hungry you can hit the buffet counter. It won't be our usual kind of work day but it could still be fun!

Soon Diva reply emails arrived, insisting that the Hypertufa day should still include some work in the garden - yay!

I've been thinking about the "real garden day" part. Oz says the right way to do it is to mix and build the trough, then go do something else for a while, return to check the trough and make adjustments as the mixture settles, go do something else again for awhile, come back and make more adjustments, etc. So there is a lot of fine tuning involved. Instead of a big project, I have a lot of smaller gardening tasks that can fit into those intervals .... rubber/waterproof gloves are needed. We have a few pairs of disposable ones if you don't have any. Bring an expendable plastic dish tub thing if you have one. Also - wear old garden clothes.... concrete can splash! Coffee & baked stuff will be ready at 9 AM so just arrive whenever it works on your schedule. Guess I'll try to time lunch for around 1:30 PM or so?

Instead of a cooked breakfast on Saturday Oz made a fruit salad of Rio Red grapefruit, Satumas, fresh pineapple, seedless grapes and I used an old family recipe to bake several kinds of pastries including Lithuanian Bacon Buns, Raspberry Kolaches and some Sweet Cheese Bundles - a few are left on this tray near the flowers.Divasofthedirt,flowers and pastries
The Hypertufa Day went great! Oz has been making hypertufa planters since the mid-1990's and he was glad to pass along what he's learned.

He had mixing tubs in placeDivasofthedirt,mixing trough
He had cardboard forms made and work stations set up in our garage. Under the form is another piece of cardboard with guidelines for the thickness of the walls.
(over the years Oz has used plastic bowls, trash can lids, old hanging baskets and wooden forms. Here's a miniature rose in a planter made from a plastic pot)Divasofthedirt,minirose in hypertufa
The ingredients are equal parts of Peat Moss, Perlite and Portland Cement (not Concrete Mix!) and water. Waterproof gloves and mixing tubs, too. For some projects he's added masonry dye to the mixture, but today we're keeping things simpleDivasofthedirt,peat,perlite,portland cementThe first step was to sieve, measure and moisten the peat mossDivasofthedirt,moss through sieve
The Divas watch as Oz shows how to measure & mixDivasofthedirt,how to mix hypertufaIngredients are blended Divasofthedirt,blending ingredients
Soon each Diva of the Dirt has a batch of mixed ingredients ready for the next step - adding waterDivasofthedirt,ready to mix
When the mixture is right is should resemble cottage cheese. After the mudpie stage it will be time to cover the cardboard forms.Divasofthedirt,mixing fun begins
The aim was to keep a fairly uniform 1 and 1/2 inch depth all aroundDivasofthedirt,check depth hypertufa
Divas arrived, ate, mixed - sometimes left for a while and came back - and sometimes let their creation settle while they worked in the garden. I was thrilled at what they accomplished!

Last spring the whitebud (Cercis canadensis texensis , in the alba or white form of the Texas Redbud) in the big front bed had bloomed beautifully, but it never leafed out well, then dwindled through the summer and was dead before September. (BTW - both the birdbath and the container by the steps were made from Hypertufa)Divasofthedirt,whitebud, march 2011
Thinking that a crepe myrtle would have a better chance in that spot, I bought a 'Muskogee' in June and had grown it in a series of ever-larger containers, getting it ready for planting in fall.Divasofthedirt,Muskogee crepe in pot
Not only was the 'Muskogee' now planted - the entire front bed was cultivated, edged and mulched -Divasofthedirt,muskogee planted
Oz & I want to surround the square stepping stones in the path with decomposed granite but the grass had to be dug out first.Divasofthedirt,grass in path
Now the grass is gone - soon this will be granite!Divasofthedirt,path cleared for dec granite
I'd reduced the amount of Asiatic Jasmine around the yaupon but the Divas banished it and mulched the bedDivasofthedirt,weeded mulched yaupon bed

Some of the plants in the parkway survived summer well, but some were dead. I bought new plants of Flame acanthus/Anisacanthus quadrifidus for the parkwayDivasofthedirt,parkway after summer

After the Divas of the Dirt were done it is renewed and ready for a new seasonDivasofthedirt,renewed parkway

Somewhere in there we went inside for lunch - Red pepper & cheddar corn muffins, Chicken with Butternut Squash soup, and Salad with Avocado dressingDivasofthedirt,table set for lunch

And pie - it's been a long day and we deserve some good old Apple Pie. This one was not made with a time-honored, hand-me-down recipe - it was a hand-me-up recipe that came from my daughter.Divasofthedirt,Glinda with apple pie(photo taken by Diva Sugar)

After a few days the troughs were cured enough to go home with their makers - don't forget to drill drainage holes.Divasofthedirt,troughs curing
Thank you so much, dear Divas of the Dirt!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for saying hello!