'Crocus' troughs

James Waddick jwaddick@kc.rr.com
Wed, 05 Feb 2003 07:01:54 PST
>Cathy wrote;
>	"I have been intending to do some hypertufa troughs myself 
>the last year ortwo. What do you use as a 'form'? Want to tell us a 
>little about the

Dear Cathy;
	There are volumes of info on this so I'll just give you a few 
tips that worked for me.
	Do this with a friend-another procrastinator helps. It is 
great fun together.
	Do not wait. I procrastinated for years. Then I made about 5 
or 6 troughs in 2 weeks  and plan on more this year.
	Keep the mix simple and BE SURE to add a coloring agent (We 
got ours at the local Lowe's store.) We like the terracotta color 

Forms; We both started simple by piling the hypertufa mix on the 
outside of stainless steel bowls (large kitchen mixing bowls for a 
fast round trough) and an old oval turkey baking pan

	We then tried piling the hypertufa an the inside of larger 
kitchen molds and liked this look much better. These included plastic 
storage bins, old enameled pans etc.

	Eventually we made some foam forms and these do look really 
good if you want classic rectangular toughs. We only used outer 
forms, no inner walls. That is we made forms for the outside 
dimensions and filled the interior surface. We did not add an inner 
form to keep the walls straight and smooth as some books suggest. We 
like the irregularity. In fact this irregularity is neat and can 
certainly be encouraged.

	We found it was fairly easy, but time consuming. Starting in 
mid morning we could each make a trough or two. The next day we would 
unmold and make a second set of troughs in a slightly longer time. We 
settled down to unmolding and cleaning and  shaping one trough and 
making a second trough in one 'day' (well 3 or 4  hours)
	Wear rubber/plastic gloves and prepare to get messy, dirty 
etc. Use lots of tarps etc.

	Please read up on the details and then just do it. The first 
was the hardest to do, but then it got routine and easy encouraging 
us to try more.

	We bought some cheap close-out hemispherical plastic lamp 
shades - pretty tacky, but when filled with colored hypertufa and 
pushed together the resulting "stone" sphere looks great in the 
garden. These sell in garden centers for $30 and took some left over 
hypertufa, minutes and cost almost nothing.

	Smaller troughs made in an old enamel dishpan are really cute 
even for annuals and such.

	John Lonsdale- these are all new and I haven't tried ANY 
Crocus (yet!) - or any bulbs even. Can you suggest the bulbs 
(including Crocus) that really do the best?

	BTW after less than a year, I did plant a couple small Viola 
pedata in one and they are looking far healthier than anyplace else 
in garden. And sempervivum and small sedum seem to love troughs

	Sorry I went on, but really Cathy just get a few friends 
together for a weekend and have fun.

		Jim W.

Dr. James W. Waddick
8871 NW Brostrom Rd.
Kansas City Missouri 64152-2711
Ph.    816-746-1949
E-fax  419-781-8594

Zone 5 Record low -23F
	Summer 100F +

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