Well done Herpst, those are georgous! I think you are a determined, patient person.
If not too bright. Notice the ground around them. This was previously lovely green grass. Oh well.
Not meaning to be critical or anything, but WHY did you make them?? lol
Come on Blue those are going to be filled with baby T-Rex's and placed near the secret garden. Ready to jump out and growl at the unexpected visitor. You haven't been watching "little and lewis"on the garden channel.
This message was edited Jul 16, 2006 8:25 PM
Good question Blue. I fell in love with these when I first saw a group of them, creations of Little & Lewis, in the vegetable garden at Heronswood. When the interior is painted black and the exterior tera cota or L & L blue or faux verdigris and they are filled with water, the result is kind of magical. Little & Lewis sometimes float a plume poppy leaf or a glass ball on the surface of the water in theirs. Check out their website & book "A Garden Gallery - The Plants, Art & Hardscape of Little and Lewis". I was determined to learn to make these. Now that only some more shaping on the larger one and painting both is left and I really don't know where in my crowded garden I'll put them, I kind of wonder myself why I made them. I guess the best reasons are because I love making things and to prove to myself that I could. And let's not forget the fact that I'm too cheap to actually buy one.
This message was edited Jul 15, 2006 11:32 PM
This message was edited Jul 16, 2006 7:03 AM
Ohhh, they are gonna be fish ponds, NOW it makes sense, lol. Sorry to have questioned your artistic views, ;)
Herpst, what did you use for a mold? I tried it with a beachball but the tufa wouldn't stick. hostajim1
I used exercise balls. To get the concrete/tufa to stick, you have to cut strips of hardware cloth & wrap the ball. Full instructions for this project can be found at
" I guess the best reasons are because I love making things and to prove to myself that I could".
Herpst, that's a great statement and so very true. It isn't so much the "what are you going to do with that" or " where are you going to put it" as it is just the "doing" of it for the sake of creating something. Your eggs are great. How about a cluster of smaller ones painted an off white with a large example of our State mascot, the Slug ? lol Do you have any thoughts on how to form an 'egg shaped' sphere ? Little & Lewis get from $1,500 to $2,500 for their spheres.
For an egg shaped sphere, one would need to find or make an egg -shape (sturdy cardboard? styrofoam?) & then do the wire armature. You would have to dig the styrofoam out after the concrete hardened. At DIG on Vashon Island, there are huge, hollow concrete with mosaic eggs so someone has figured out a system. Also, some pot shops (Bamford & Bamford) have relatively inexpensive large ceramic eggs that could be carefully broken at the top.
Blue, Thanks for the fish idea. Hadn't thought of that but against the black background, a few bright orange comets swimming around would be really cool and take care of the mosquito larve.
In some other pots that I've painted black inside, I've placed black glass discs with dichroic and irridized glass fused onto them in the bottom. The black part disappears & the sparkling dichroic seems to float in the middle of the water somehow - quite a cool effect. These are easy to make with scrap dichroic glass, a circle cutter and a kiln.
I've also considered doing mosaic on the outside of the spheres but I think that the simplicity of the form in a single color would be a little more restful.
Those are just fabulous, Herbst!! I've been following the 'construction' thread - forwarded it to my daughter along with L&L's web address. We are now planning a trip there later this summer. We both want to try to make a sphere - and for your same reasons. Because it just might work, and it'll be fun regardless! Kudos to you!
(and you have a lovely garden, even though some of the grass is a little ratty at the moment).
Herpst, these spheres are magnificent! The idea of mosaic work on the outside is genius. I'd love to try this myself!
Herpst, I tried the hardware cloth and didn't like it. then I tried drywall fiberglass seam tape, which worked well. I draped the tape, which is sticky on one side, until I covered the ball to the desired opening and then used packaging tape to secure the end of tape around the ball. then I skim coated the first layer of hypertuffa. as I skim coat I add strips of tape that I used to overlap in opposite direction. when it dries there was no cracking. also I put fiberglass mesh in water when adding to dry hypertuffa mix. I've been doing that to my earlier tuffa pots, which makes them really strong. I have never had one crack on me, I leave them out all winter. now I'm trying to figure out what colors I want them to be. I'm planting miniature Hostas cultivars in some, plus I have some that I hybridized that will be big enough in a year. and several Saxifraga that I collected from Heronswood. probably some sedums, thanks for your help, hostajim1
Hey Jim! I can't wait to see your spheres! I tried drywall patching tape but I was too hasty & tried to get the full thickness of concrete on at one time & the results were o.k. but not fabulous. I'll try that again & skim coat the first time. Thanks for the tip. I don't like to cut the hardware cloth & getting it to lay flat is a project in itself.
Herpst, the only way I know to send pictures is to private email. we have kodak easyshare, and it's on our earthlink site, so if you d-mail me I'll send picks of the start to finish. I had the same problem with the hardware cloth. and figured this out by trial and error. I've used the beach balls over several times and only poked a hole in one so far. if I continue to make them I'll get the exercise balls though. I went to Wall-Mart and they didn't have any smaller than 65cm or whatever they were too big. I need to find a few more of the small diameter if i continue. right now I have several finished so I'm going to experiment with different colors and natural looking finishes. like letting the moss grow on them. we have 2 1/2 acres and I have approx. 1 acre that I'm growing mostly shade plants under 2nd growth Douglas fir. with some Maples, and Cedar. I just cleared some boggy ground that I'm planting Gunnera and other wet loving plants also I have a hillside with trails that I'm moving some of my 100 plus Hosta species and cultivars, plus I started hybridizing Hostas last year, this year I made 500 hundred crosses, I'm also collecting Epimedium from Darrel Propst, now that Heronswood is shut down. several Helleborus, Hardy Ferns, Hardy Fuchsia, and Acer palmatums. let me know how you are decorating your spheres, I guess I could look on little & lewis's site. I've just been getting my ideas from Daves Garden forums. thanks, Jim
He Lives! Hiya, Herpst. Glad to see you 'out and about' during this busy school year. Are you going to the plant swap on Nov 4?
Hostajim, I'd love to see your pics. I've been busy in the leaf making department, experimenting with the fiberglass sheets and polypropylene fibers. The hardward cloth was intimidating in terms of making a sphere and I fear I didn't want to risk messing with the stuff enough to try it yet. So no spheres here yet.
Here's a question: how do you skimcoat hypertufa? I use a skimcoat in making the leaves, but it's just a straight cementious blend I'm using, no peat or anything else to creat 'tufa' out of it. So I can make the skimcoat nice and watery and brush it on. Tell me how you are doing this kind of thing with tufa, or did I misread your post?
BTW - your property sounds lovely!
pixydish, actually I'm using mortar mix to start the process, but not too watery because I do it by hand with latex exam gloves, I buy them by the 100's, for all my garden projects. I just glob it on and spread a layer as far down on the ball as I can without it falling off. some of the tape can bunch up but that's easy to fix just lift the tape and smooth it out. I also take some strips of tape and lay them crossways as I'm going along. this adds strength. you can just lay the tape on the surface of the mortar and smooth it into the wet mortar. then I let that first layer dry overnight. the next day I'll turn the ball around and finish with mortar up to what will be the open end. then let that dry. then keep adding layers until you get the desired thickness. also when the ball has two or three layers I deflate the ball and skimcoat the inside to cover the seems tape that is exposed. I shouldn't have used the word hypertuffa as I haven't used it yet. just the mortar. If I continue to make these, I will though. I have been using a mix on my other pots that I use a mold. I found a way to make hypertuffa really cheap. I order the Tagro mix that I spread out in my garden beds. it's $10 a yard. the mix contains 25% peat, 25%sand 50% biosolids. I use 2 parts Tagro to 1 part portland cement. so this will get the costs down considerably. I will sift the Tagro to get any lumps out. right now I'm out and will order 20 yards in the spring and save enough to make my pots. considering the cost of a bag of peat and perlite or sand. the savings are considerable if your making a lot of different garden pots and other stuff. well I just bought some acrylic paints at WallMart and I'm going to paint up some of my spheres. and see what I come up with. any artists out there? Jim
Wish we could get the Tagro up here. Too costly to have it delivered though. The thought of using a compost-like material in the hypertuffa is interesting. Cedar Grove Compost is only a couple miles away and has several products, one of which may be a substitute for Tagro. I'm anxious to see pictures of your process and hope there is a way to eventually be able to post them on DG. 2 1/2 acres is certainly a nice yard to garden in.
Thanks, Jim, that makes more sense to me. I use mortar mix as well, and buy those gloves by the box at costco. In the winter, I line my gloves with the latex type ones because I have yet to find a waterproof glove that I like to use.
On the tufa forum someone posted that they use white cement and white fine sand to make their castings. I'm going to go down to the cement place down in the tide flats and get some because I'm experimenting with different mixtures to make my leaves. I want a fine finish, but I want it a bit porous because of the type of painting I like to do on them. Maybe I'll try some spheres this winter, since I can cure them inside.
Pixydish, the mortar I'm using is drying white. on the last coat I used a paint roller that I bought to roll out some drylock when I built my koi pond. it really worked well. now I'm working on the finish. Herpst, I definetly need to find better materials than beach balls. the exercise balls will work for some. I found one that's 55cm at big five. but I want to make some smaller than that. the beachballs worked for two times then they sprang leaks. they only cost $1.00 but I can't find any at the dollar store this time of year. I'll drive over to toys r us and there are some kids toy stores in the Silverdale mall that I took my granddaughter too,I'll check that out. Jim
Yup, I'm still alive and kicking but have been busy playing with glass and worrying about bringing the brugmansias and other tender lovelies in for the season. Note that I've not actually brought them in just spent time worrying about it :) I have one unusual brugmansia that I got from Bamford and Bamford this spring & I haven't seen them anywhere else. As usual, I've lost the tag but the leaves are beautifully varigated with splotches of gold, chartreuse, cream...gorgeous! When it budded, I was overjoyed to see that the buds are striped gold & green. The blooms are pink and are amazing against that foliage!
It was great to see you the other day, Pixy. Thanks for delivering the plants! You are one in a million!
Hey glad to see you are alive and well! Funny how time flies when you are working/having fun. I have been worrying about the tender lovlies myself. I'm a bit further than you in that I've dug 3 brugmansias and the persian shields and put them in front of the greenhouse. Note that they are not inside yet. The biggest brug I must grieve over before digging it as I have to cut it way back. I am assuming that I will just cut it back the way I would a small tree? Cut back to a growth point on the stems? It's just way too big to be in a pot like it is now.
I'm retrofitting the greenhouse with new shelving from the Closetmaid section of lowes and I am so thrilled I hardly know what to do. I'm actually going to have more plant space than before, and more floor space in the middle. I like for the greenhouse to be a pleasant place to sit during the winter months - all the fake sunshine and humidity. My DH calls it the Australia simulator.
Say Herpst, I'd be interested in trading you for a cutting from your brug sometime when it's big enough to do cuttings. The leaves sound so glorious that I wouldn't even worry if it never bloomed!
Here's a cement question: have you ever made a cement leaf, or other artsy thing, using fine poly-modified grout? I got a good deal on some of the pure white stuff in an open bag at Lowes and decided to give it a try. Any experience with that?
It's good to know that others are worrying about what to do - where to put - & when to do it, without actually getting it done. I have to force myself to choose a task everyday that I can accomplish just so I don't take so long thinking about it.
Herpst - how are you adjusting to the schedule change? And less light/heat? This Brug from B & B - if you figure out the name. let me know. Someday I hope to have an Australia simulator, but I would want to stay in there 24/7.
Onward to winter art projects: Pixy - what is this poly-modified grout? What's it made of? I'm curious - have you mixed it with anything to see consistency & how it reacts? Please let me know.
It's just the standard grout sold in the tile department of Lowes, but it has some sort of additive that gives it extra strength. It's a cementious product, and Im always game to try new things, so, who knows? It's a cheap experiment and I'm all about cheap and experimenting.
I've only used the poly-modified grout to grout outdoor mosaic projects. You still have to do the water seal every couple of years or so or things start popping off.
The name of the brugmansia has gold in it (it's not sutters gold but it's something gold) As brugmansias go, this was a fairly slow grower which is a blessing this time of year because I'll bring the whole thing in and if I keep it watered, I can enjoy that lovely fragrance all winter. I bought the only other one that B & B had because it was just languishing there in a small pot. I potted it up but it seems to be stunted. I'll try to get it to put on more growth because I would love to share cuttings. Several of my brugs seem to have been visited by mites so I'll throw some systemic insecticide on them & hope that helps. Anyway, I never throw anything out (still have those Japanese Iris that I forgot to bring to Lakewood - sorry Pixy - I'll be there again this coming Saturday) so when I cut the brugsmansias, I'll be happy to share the cuttings!
Pixydish - cheap experimentation at OUR age? Most people do that in college but I'm not here to judge. How you handle your mid - life crisis is your business. Really. I'm sorry I even mentioned it. Go. Do. You will anyway:)
Pixydish, the product that I use for added strength is called Stealth from synthetic industries. I finally looked on the bag. I bought 2 bags 6 years ago when I was building my koi pond, (it last a long time). I used it with the mortar that I skim coated on the sides and floor. I haven't had a leak yet. then I started using it in other projects. it looks like like angel hair cut up into 1/2" pieces. at first I would add it to the dry mortar and I had all these chunks of the stuff.( there were no instruction on the bag) then it hit me to add it to the water and stir it until they were incorporated. then I add the water to the dry mix. I also add additional portland cement to any ready made mortar or concrete mix for added strength. I got this idea from a independent contractor who builds custom homes . Jim
This message was edited Oct 22, 2006 9:35 AM
Herpst, is it really necessary to call me out on the whole mid-life thing just because you are very obviously younger than I am??? Geez! What do you mean 'our' age? I have at least 10 years on you, which means I know more than you and don't you forget it! But I will take your little dig about 'our age' as a compliment. Maybe your brug grows slowly due to your attitude. Ever consider that?? Hmmmm??? I find that my plants grow better when I revere and defer to my elders. Just a thought.....
Moving on I did, however , reconsider going to Bamford and Bamford because of your exquisite taste in plants and gardening in general. I chose to 'forget' their little oversight that I witnessed at the Pt. Defiance Garden show whereby they planted sensitve carnivorous plants in totally unsuitable potting medium. The entire design would have been stunning... while it lived. I thought the place was very cool, in spite of the overpowering smell of fish in the air. The location is fabulous and I did pick up some good plants, although your brug was not among them. What they did have was an echium!!! Oh happy day!!! I ordered several species of seeds this year, but I wouldn't have blooms until the following year so this was a rare treat to find! No species on the tag, but the flowers will be pink, I believe. And this succulent from Heronswood. This baby will become part of my planned succulent gardens for next year. I adore succulents.
Hostajim, I too use the fibers for reinforcement and put them in the water first. I've never tried to do castings from a grout product and wondered how strong they would be. I'll just experiment a bit and see how they turn out. Meanwhile I have visited the 'cement store' down in the tideflats and come home with a 90# bag of white portland cement and a 100# bag of very fine white sand. Those are mighty big boys who work down on the flats! Glad one of them wasn't shy about hoisting these babies into the back of my beater truck. He was the huge silent type, but his curiosity got the better of him and he asked if they were for an art class. I countered with, 'No, they are for me to play with.". I love the looks I get when I say that!!
Herpst, I want one of the cutting too... the varigated burg.. .... where the heck have you been???
Dearest Ms Dish,
I believe you shared your age with me either in a public area here or in a Dmail. A gentleman would NEVER divulge such information but you are only 24 months older than I. My fat just blows out my wrinlkes ooops, I mean character lines.
Also just found out that I don't have to work in Lakewood tomorrow so I have a whole day to play in the garden. Yea!
Vizz, I'll let you know when the cutting begins! I've been working during the day and teaching or taking classes in the evening. While I haven't been here for a while, I think of all of you a lot!
Well......I've packed a LOT of living into those 24 months!! Have fun in the garden tomorrow! I've been spiffing up the greenhouse for the winter. I'm mighty pleased with the results so far. Nothing like a little remodel to give new life to a space. Still working on digging out one of the larger perennial beds to 'remodel' that, too. It's killing me slowly but surely. I forget how big the rocks are, and how densely they are packed down under the dirt. And I believe they have migrated closer to the surface than they used to be. What I can't understand is how I managed to actually grow things in that space! I must have been desperate to get stuff into the ground. But I can tell you that while my joints will continue to be very unhappy for awhile, my plants will be ecstatic! I'm digging in compost 1 yard at a time.
I know I need to continue the digging tomorrow, but I'm thinking it will be a nice day and we haven't gone for a sail in quite awhile, so I may make the ultimate sacrifice for the man I love and go out on the boat rather than playing in the dirt. You know it's true love when I give up gardening almost willingly! Almost.
Pixydish, I also bought Palmeri from Heronswood, but mine doesn't have the red tips, it's just all blue. I overwinter it with Topsy Turvy. and a bronze Echeveria ( forgot name ) under lights in my basement. let me know how your white sand and portland cement turn out. I said earlier mine were drying white, but my other half said they were gray. sorry, but they looked white to me. Jim
a bronze echeveria?? I would love to see a photo of that one. Maybe we can trade starts of the palmeri if you'd like some with the red tips. I have several echeverias, since I am a bit addicted to them. One of the many things I get addicted to in the plant world. Recently I found two miniature hostas and I don't even know where I will put them. but I had to have them anyway. Whatever. It's only money and I sure won't spend it after I'm gone.
I'm hoping to experiment with the cement this weekend. I did a couple of trials with the polymodified mortar and it does make a nice smooth finish when casting, but the stuff is as sticky as peanut butter and extremely difficult to work with, so it's a no-go in my book except perhaps for filling a mold. It is just too hard to work with in terms of casting directly onto a leaf..