Tuesday, March 20, 2007

North American Rock Garden Society

The Manhattan Chapter of NARGS met last night - my first meeting! There was a very exciting slide lecture given by Mike Slater about Dry Sand Plunge Beds.

(not all of the slides were upside down!)
As a city dweller with no terra firma, I will be casting my own hypertufa planters. Trough gardens were originally made out of old feeding troughs for farm animals, before steel. These mini landscapes were micro-climates for alpine, succulent, drought tolerant plants where you can grow almost anything even more difficult plants... The constant theme is dwarf or smaller plants. Dare I say "cute" (a word I have been banned from saying in my household due to overuse and abuse) plants...

These are hypertufa planters. You mix up:
2 parts Portland cement
3 parts of coconut fiber or peat moss
3 parts of perlite
This cottage cheesey mess is smushed between 2 boxes, sometimes reinforced with chicken wire, and dries into a super great lightweight trough!
So, in about a month, when it's actually warm out, I'll be spending my Saturdays cranking out a bunch of these babies! And where, are you wondering, in my urban oasis will they reside??? The fire escape of course! It gets beautiful bright western light!

I will also keep a shady one in the front, purely because I must have hosta "mouse ears" which could easily become lost in the "big" garden. At work I spend all day designing, installing, and maintaining meticulously stunning gardens in very restricted spaces. So when I come home... It's good to know yourself as a gardener, your habits, etc. My compulsion is to over-plant my personal gardens. This is partly because I obsess over and fall in love with new plants daily and must have them. Then I irrationalize any spacing advice given on tags, in books or by my own common sense and cram them together. This is "cottage garden style", no?


renee said...

These are so cool. I want to make one. Reminds me of the trusty balcony I had at my last condo. Between the two of us we had that thing booming with plants. It was my own little burglar alert. You couldn't get in my window without knocking over a potted plant.

Xris said...

Just wanted to drop you a line. I'm a fellow Brooklyn gardener & blogger. Just discovered you through the Gardening Blog Directory.

I went to the opening of Gowanus Nursery on Saturday. They had some nice pre-planted troughs there.