Monday, July 23, 2012

Instant Mini Landscape

A group of troughs that I delivered yesterday to my fabulous friends' house.  Together we arranged the rocks and plants (mostly sedums and silenes, with a couple dwarf conifers), then planted everything in time for a yummy steak and some cold wine.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

'Tufa Tuesday

I can't complain.  The mold came off cleanly and I wire-brushed the surface.  It is what I wanted.  Why does it always have to feel so anticlimactic two days out?  I think it's the color, and the way that the perlite looks so bright.

The same morning that I cast the new tall, square trough, I also cast an Oslo trough and then a small round planter with the leftover mix.  This ugly photo reaffirms that my thoughts about combining shapes are correct.  This is the beginning of a nice grouping.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

New(ish) Square Trough

I made this trough last summer as an experiment in height.  Most of my troughs are under a foot tall.  This one's 17" tall.  It makes a nice counterpoint to a group of low troughs but I felt like it was too narrow.  Yesterday I set aside the short sides of the mold and made two more long sides.  Now I have a square mold.  

Here's the assembled mold (right) and its inner core.  I also had to make two new sides for the core.  The inside of the outer mold is coated with petroleum jelly to ensure a clean release from the concrete. The inner core is four pieces of wood held together with shrinkwrap, not screws.  

In this photo you can see the 1" pink foam board that will result in "feet" being cast on the planter.   There's a 2" piece of cardboard tube sitting on top of the foam.  This will be the drainage hole.

The first batch of hypertufa ready to go.  In the front left of the photo you can see the larger bits of the peat moss that I've screened out.

The bottom of the planter is packed and I'm ready to add the inner core.  That big metal float in the mixing pan is great for really applying pressure to the wet mix.

The core goes in so I can cast the walls.

The mold is fully packed with hypertufa.

I wrapped it up with plastic until I can demold it in 2 days.

It was pretty sweaty working in the garage today.  It's supposed to be 94 on Tuesday when I need to demold.  There's a reason I cast most of these in the early spring and late fall, but sometimes I just can't wait.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Drought Flowers

I guess there's a reason that purple coneflowers are so ubiquitous in summer.  They seem to shrug off the hot, dry weather and their hot pink flowers really pop in the harsh sun.  This one is called Magnus, and has a really nice dark pink cone.

It's pretty classy with the thug daisies and the Russian sage.

I like that spot of yellow from a helenium called "Sahin's Early Flowerer" (although everything's early this year).

The front yard has nice mass now.  It's full of tough customers who don't mind the hot afternoon sun and no watering.  Yes, we do live close to our neighbors.

This is a combo in my hellstrip between the sidewalk and curb...more coneflowers, verbena, eryngium, and carex.  What more could I ask for from plants that I ignore?

No rain in 3-4 weeks.  Not much to be hopeful about in the forecast.  It's going to get ugly.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Now Summer Begins

Hydrangea macrophylla 'Libelle' encroaching on the garden gate.  The gate side of her gets naturally pruned by all of the gate's openings and closing.  Still, she seems pretty happy with her lot in life.

This was labeled acanthus spinosus when I bought it, but it's not as wicked that plant.  The leaves are a little too wide for spinosus too.  Definitely not acanthus mollis, maybe acanthus hungaricus?  Gorgeous, none the less.

Hydrangea quercifoia 'Snow Queen'.  This panicle is by the path and I always feel like it would tap me on the shoulder if I stood still near it.

Delosperma cooperi.  The flowers are almost iridescent in the sun.  

Seems like those hot, dry summer days are settling in.  I have full rain barrels for spot watering, but for how long?