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Ok, at long last, I can share some pics with you guys of the project that basically started last year when we got a microburst that wrecked my garden with hail and took down a large pine. Several kind DG'er sent me hosta to use in a new bed that would be where the tree fell. Unfortunately, getting the tree out of there took all of the summer and into the fall, so the bed had to wait to be built til this Spring.
I designed it with two tiers to go up the slope. Because I have neither the money to buy lots of stones to build the walls, nor the talent or patience to stack them all nice and secure, I devised a plan to make my own faux rocks using a foam covered concrete block I cast, and then used hypertufa on the face to carve the "rocks". I just wanted it to blend in with the other areas of natural stone, which I think it does nicely. It took a while to figure it all out, but I'm happy with it, though it's not entirely done.
Here is a pic from last year, with the fallen tree. It was massive.
Closer shot of the first tier. I may have these too tightly spaced but will leave it for now.
In there is Shimmy Shake (gift from IC conifers- great serrated edge and cool purply red scapes that really show as you walk up the slope and see it from underneath
the blue one is one I picked up last year- Silver Moon. Increased phenomenally in just one year. I think I have only the second known photograph of it, lol. Seriously, google it and tell me how many different pics you can find! All the info I find about mature size varies widely. It will probably be too large for this spot, ultimately, judged on what I'm seeing in my garden.
Green and white is Risky Business (gift from LeBug)- Love the crispness of this one! This is one I may keep dividing to keep it smaller..not sure.
Far left behind the green one is Popcorn, from Rose-
All green is Worldly Treasure, which I've had for a few years
And the minis are my languishing Pandora's Box, Dragon tails (gift from Beaux!) and BLue Lollipop.
The upper bed is to be planted with larger varieties.. I want this whole thing to just be a dense cascade of hosta when it's all done:
Pineapple Upside down cake (gift from Eleven. Eleven also gave me some Astrantia which I am super excited to see bloom- I think I have a bud on there. I think the Astrantia will go in the upper tier, too.
Plantaginea from Pirl
Whirlwind from Frank
Lady Isobel Barnett from Bellie
Brother Stefan from Beaux
and Krossa Regal from LeBug
It may be a week or so before I get that upper tier in...lugging the soil up the slope is a killer.
I absolutely love all the plants that people sent me last year and am so grateful to have them. I will keep you posted as I go along with this.
That looks soooooo nice. Your faux stonework is incredible. It is really nice to see the new addition to your garden after what you went through last year. What do you use on your rockwork to make it look aged like real stone?
Frank, the after I do the hypertufa part, I let them cure and dry a little bit, then I spray them with concrete acid stain...that makes the color blend really well with the natural rock. Ideally, they will grow moss in time like a lot of my hypertufa pots have, if they get enough shade.
Ann, I did not photograph the process, but I still have a couple more to make-- I loved them so much that I want to revamp one of my earlier stone walls around my dalylilies. That will probably be the last project for the year. I will take pictures of that whole process and post them. The hardest part was figuring out the mold for my cast form and thinking three dimensionally after working out the design on my computer. Carving the rock shapes was fun and became easier and better as I went along. The less I thought about it, the better they looked.
Eleven, yes, these blocks are much lighter than real stone!! They have a hollow channel in the center that we drove a piece of rebar into for support, since the lower wall is 17" high at the highest point. My wonderful Father in Law helped me with some of that part.
I used some of my leftover blocks to refine the shape of this small bed and add some white Hakone grass
I am sorry for your loss, (tree). I love the new beds you have created, you have great friends who share their plants and you have worked hard. I absolutely love the stones you have created, what a great idea! They say 'Necessity is the mother of invention' and you sure have proved that. I cannot lift the real stones either. I think I would like to try and make some stones myself do you have any suggestions on where to start, what do I need besides Styrofoam and concrete. How did you shape them without a mold ?
It was sad to lose such a mature tree, but it did give me a nice shot of morning light and open the door for more hosta! I'll try to post some tutorial pics soon- I think I will make some over the weekend and I'll photograph all the steps.
Yes, That morning sun will prove to be a plus. I like the way you put the three blues together. How is the Hakone Grass working out, have you used it before? Does it like the shade or did you do this after the morning sun showed it's face?
Bellie, I think Noreaster said in another thread that the real stones are from the surrounding land. I'm lucky enough to have a lot of real stones that the previous homeowners bought. Of course, they also shoveled in gravel by the truckload that I'm still digging out of some beds...
That's amazing! We had a microburst here about 10 years ago so I know how devastating it can be to a garden and trees. But that's the beauty of nature and gardening, you've made something amazing out of a tragedy! And I hope you got some free mulch out of that poor old tree. ;) love your gardens. Great inspiration for my new gardens. I'll have to see about hypertuffa classes, they were having some at my local nursery
Noreaster, that all looks incredibly cool--talk about triumph over tragedy! I love your faux stones. They seem like they must be a lot of work, but man are the results ever worth it. Absolutely amazing.