Tuesday, September 29, 2009

More Garden Projects

I've had some great inspiration during these past few years -
sources include gardening magazines, hgtv, and Frances at Fairegarden.
(Warning: Frances may inspire you, too!)

This was the summer to try hypertufa.

Some of my gardening friends who are game to try new projects and I got together a few weeks ago to try our hand at creating hypertufa containers. We were so busy mixing and creating (myself included) that no photos were taken during the process, and I can't provide you with photos of what they made because they took them home!

The photo below shows my first hypertufa planter. My mold was a squirrel baffle that I placed upside down on the work table. After creating the mix of portland cement, spahgnum peat moss, perlite and water, I placed a 2 - 2 1/2" layer over the top of the baffle and let it cure.

You will see this photo yet again during a garden whimsy post in the future. ;-)

The first photo in this post shows my second hypertufa project.

I received the inspiration to make concrete balls from Frances alone.
It's great fun and very easy. Please don't look for perfection!

The left-over mix was used for "bases."The Woodland Walk is home to both hypertufa containers and one concrete ball.
Another concrete ball resides here, in the backyard, and the third was a gift to my parents' garden. :-)

As long as I was "on a roll" (no pun intended! ha!),
I made a birdbath using a 'Sum and Substance' leaf for some friends.
I peeled off the leaf today and here it is!
I used concrete colorant to tint part of the mix and place it over the back of the leaf only. Then I covered the leaf and created the entire birdbath with natural colored concrete mix.

Again, there was enough mix left to make a stepping stone.

I'm not yet finished with hypertufa!
The next couple of photos were taken at a friend's home.
We made a hypertufa container two weeks ago and planted it a week ago Friday.

We then mixed a little more concrete.
She should have her own concrete garden ball by now!

I look forward to visiting her this coming Friday.
We're each planning to mosaic a garden ball.

Guess I'll be outdoors tomorrow, creating a couple more for us to work on! :-) (This will be the subject of a future post!)

Concrete projects are definitely not a shady subject - However they tolerate any growing conditions: sun through shade and hardy in every-zone. lol!


Anonymous said...


In The Garden said...

How beautiful!! It looks like you've put in a lot of time & effort. I love the leaf birdbath, and the stepping stone. I think the concrete balls are adorable. :) Rebecca

Kerri said...

The hypertufa sounds like such a fun project. You certainly made some neat things. I especially love the hosta leaf birdbath.
Now you're passing along the inspiration :) Thanks!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I have wanted to do this before and have never gotten around to it. I like your projects. If it wasn't so late in the year I would try it.

Anonymous said...

Hi SG~~ This was my obsession about three summers ago--the containers, the leaves and the balls. I never did embark on stepping stones. [pun intended]. I like your idea of what looks like a sand box area for your projects. I used my picnic table on my deck and made such a mess that I'm hesitant to ever do it again. Your sedums look right at home in your hypertufas. Nice job!

Shady Gardener said...

mothernaturesgarden - Thanks for stopping in! Perhaps you've already done some of these projects?

In The Garden, Somehow they look natural, don't they? :-)

Kerri, I hope you try some of these projects. You don't have to make the hypertufa mix to make the birdbath - any sand-type mix will work. I used Mortar Mix on this birdbath.

Lisa, You could still do this (if you have time!). I'm in Iowa and I just made two balls this morning! :-)

Hi Grace, I understand. I began birdbaths 3 years ago. But I waited on the hypertufa until this year. I think a kitty litter box with sand would be enough of a "bed" for a concrete garden ball. What do you think of the idea of adding mosaic? (Does that re-inspire you??) ;-)

Gail said...

Shady, You've done a great job and I agree Frances is inspiring! Like Lisa said ...this is a project for earlier in the summer. gail

Shady Gardener said...

Gail, Thanks! You're probably right... the projects I made today are most likely my last of the season. :-)

Rosey Pollen said...

I like the leaf idea. Now where can I find a leaf that big around here?
cool projects.

Shady Gardener said...

Rosey, Do you know anyone with large Hosta leaves? Or you could wait until Spring and look for a beautiful rhubarb leaf! :-)

Rosemary said...

Wow, what terrific hypertufa planters etc. In particular the leaf container is lovely........ Hum could I make some of these I wonder?

Frances said...

Hi Shady, you certainly took the ball and ran with it! I love your containers, leaf and balls too. Isn't it fun? The ideas just keep coming when you have a little extra mix leftover. Thanks for the sweet words and link love. Well done! :-)

Deborah at Kilbourne Grove said...

You have really given me a push to try this, I had read Frances' post, and had thought that they looked fabulous, now I must try it too. All your "projects" have turned out very well!

Sande said...

Very nice - I don't get the point of the balls but I do like them and think they look great just sitting in the garden.

Northern Shade said...

You've been very creative, with such a variety of hypertufa projects. The little square planter looks great, so natural, and I like the little planting in it to match, with little stones. Is the base a stand for the planter or for the balls? The birdbath based on the Hosta leaf looks so detailed, love the pattern. Have fun with your next projects.

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

That's definitely the best use of a squirrel baffle, as the squirrels definitely aren't baffled by them. Frances is a great source of inspiration, but I've yet to try the hypertufa. I meant to do the leaf casting all summer, I have the most perfect 'Olive Bailey Langdon' Hosta leaf. But it probably won't get done.
I love the balls. Will you be leaving the concrete balls out for the winter?

Shady Gardener said...

Rosemary, Absolutely you could do this! It's a Lot of Fun! :-)

Hi Frances, I really wanted to place a little tiny container in the top of my garden ball today... to plant a little sedum. But I'll do that next time. ;-) I'm glad I passed the muster! lol.

Hi Deborah, the more you practice, the better you get. My first ones sometimes turned out well and sometimes not... ;-) I hope you get to try your hand at this type of thing!!

Hi Sande, I think that's exactly the point. Esp. with concrete garden balls. I'm not so big on gazing balls, myself. Perhaps the next time I make one of these, I'll leave a little hole in the top for planting a little sedum when it's finished. That would be cute, don't you think??

Hi Northern Shade! You would love to do this too - next Summer? Is it looking a lot like Fall up there right now?

Hi MMD! I think we need a work-weekend!! I'd love to help you make a couple of items! I know it's getting late in the season right now, so we could wait until Spring, I suppose...
I'm sure the balls could be left out all Winter, but I'll probably put them in the shed with everything else.

Kathleen said...

omg, Shady Gardener ~ these are all SO terrific. Hypertufa is something I've been wanting to play with for a while too but I've never done it. You inspire me. I love the round balls and the leaf bird bath especially.

Anonymous said...

I have always wanted to make one of these -- I just need the right leaves. Hmmm, I wonder if I could use one of my large pumpkin leaves. I just finished a mosaic concrete birdbath that turned out pretty well. This might just be my next project! Thanks for the details!

Rebecca @ In The Garden said...

The concrete balls do look natural, almost like the rolled in and settled on their own. :) Rebecca

Shady Gardener said...

Kathleen, Love that I inspired You! ;-) You'll enjoy this!

Meredith, Yes your large pumpkin leaves would be great! Will you post your mosaic birdbath?? That's a project I would Love to work on! (I have one waiting!)

Rebecca, I really like them, too. I agree with you. :-)

lynn'sgarden said...

SG, I earmarked France's how-to and can't wait to make me some planters! Love the leaf press ;) I'm thinking a long trough-like for alpines..but maybe that's too big for a first time attempt. thanks for visiting me ;)

Jan (Thanks For 2 Day) said...

All of this concrete makes me want to play, too! It's been a long time since I 'mixed up a batch' of it! You are so darned creative, SG...your birdbath came out beautifully! I love the idea of a mosaic ball...now that's something I'd like to try. Thanks for more inspiration (yes, YOU are an inspiration) :-)

Blackswamp_Girl said...

I LOVE the 'Sum and Substance' birdbath! That's so beautiful with the tinting in the concrete mix... what a great idea. Now I want to join you and Frances in some projects, too! :)

Shady Gardener said...

Lynn, Perhaps your first project should be a tad smaller (something square?), just so you get a handle on the amount of "mix" to make for the size container you want. Then you can try the long trough (which I would like to make next Spring!) ;-)

Thanks, Jan! I'm glad I can be an inspiration, too. Even more than that, I can be an encouragement... because if I can do it, YOU can do it! :-) Thanks for stopping in!

Kim, Thanks for your visit today, too! I assume you'll wait until next Spring - what with the number of things that need to be done this Fall... But whenever you create something, please post! :-)

cheryl said...

Was fun to see these projects in person the other week!

Shady Gardener said...

Hey! It was fun Having You Here to see these in person!! :-) Love you!