This photo by Michael Larkin, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.  It's a Beauty!

This photo by Michael Larkin, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. It’s a Beauty!

It was this time of year when I met  four friends for a special project.  Like the witches in Macbeth, we knew we would be toiling over mysterious brews.  But, instead of bones, blood and magical herbs, we worked with cement, feathers and sand. We didn’t chant to create spells either (well, maybe silently) but were intent upon creating Hypertufa planters for our gardens, patios, walkways and front steps.



I Made This One With My Own Two Hands!

I had no idea that “tufa” is actually a volcanic rock.  It was used in England in the 1800’s to make troughs for feeding livestock.  But smart gardeners of the times began to use the troughs for garden planters.  And lo’ they were beautiful, so they learned to make clever imitations called Hypertufa.


HYPER-tufa (Fake Tufa) is still sought after today and can be very expensive ready made.  You can buy it in good garden centers or you can make it yourself with a mix of cement, peat moss, sand and a few other things.  The end result is an artificial rough textured, aged looking stone in almost any shape from any mold.

Do you want to try making your own Hypertufa?  Doing it with friends is fun and is much like making mud pies, so be sure to wear old clothes and rubber gloves!  And doing it in a garage or shed is good too.  You do not want to try this inside and it is certainly not a kitchen project.

The recipe below worked for us, but of course there are no guarantees. 


My Own Backyard Beauty for Succulents


  • Mold(s):    Can be of anything sturdy enough to support the weight of the mixture (even heavy cardboard).  The bottom should not be larger than the top.
  • Lightweight plastic sheets like dry-cleaning bags, or garbage bags cut open
  • Small lengths of wooden dowel  1/4  inch in diameter
  • Scoop(s) – One and two quart capacity
  • Rubber gloves
  • A Wheelbarrow


  • 10 Quarts Portland Cement
  • 15 Quarts of Vermiculite (or Perlite)
  • 15 Quarts of Peat Moss (sifted to remove twigs)
  • One large handful (about 1 cup) Fibermesh
  • About Three Gallons water

hypertufa-pots-lineupNow What?

-           Measure  the dry stuff and mix it up (with gloved hands) in the wheelbarrow.  Add enough water to make a goo that’s wet enough to work but not drippy (texture of cottage cheese).  Keep adding water to the right consistency. Now, place the mold upside down on a sheet of plastic.  Cover with another piece of plastic and smoothly tuck it under at corners.

-           Starting at the bottom (which used to be the top), press the goo firmly onto the mold.  Make it about  2 inches thick, covering the top (used to be the bottom) last.  Pat to a smooth surface.

-           Now insert dowels into the top (which will become the bottom) to provide drainage holes.  After about 4 hours, wire brush the surface to desired texture.

-          Cover your still upside down planter loosely with plastic, and for a few days, keep the surface wet by lifting the plastic and misting.  In about a week remove the plastic and let the planter sit 4 or 5 more days uncovered.  Then carefully remove it from the mold.  Voila! You now have an Old English Garden Trough or a special garden pot made of Hypertufa.

My friends and I now have various versions in our gardens.  They not only look beautiful, natural, and can be left out all winter, they evoke happy memories of a bewitched party of grown up friends playing in the mud.






Weekly Photo Challenge:  Containers

Boxes, tanks, wrappers:  for this week’s Photo Challenge, show us something that contains something else.

More Shop Art

It was the container of all containers somewhere in a courtyard in Arizona.

And it was around Halloween.

And I have never forgotten it.


Dor and Mom  Hanging Sheets Long Ago

Dor and Mom
Hanging Sheets

Daily Prompt

Nosey Delights

From the yeasty warmth of freshly baked bread to the clean, summery haze of lavender flowers, we all have favorite smells we find particularly comforting.  What’s yours?

Often there is time

for drying bed sheets on a line,

one just like the one Dad built.

And the air and sunshine linger,

 in a sweet scented pile of

heaven in my arms.

And there it is again as I drift away to slumber

 wrapped in memories of home.

 There’s Mom, and I remember

the wind in our hair,

singing, giggling and sharing 

amid  white percale billowing. 

Now all the store bought laundry add-ins,

softeners, purifiers and natural herbal infusions

can’t  fool my nose for it surely knows

there are no man made substitutions

 for sunshine, fresh air, and

memories of home.


Weekly Photo Challenge:  Relic

Share a photo of what “relic” means to you – it could be your still running 1979 Honda Accord Hatchback, an historic building in your town, or an old, rusted farm implement poking up through the long grass in a field.

Roots Cling to Life

Touch me.

I was once alive

and real.

Try to remember.


I am leaving the computer now and may not return for many hours!

Signs of the Times

Reflections on Cedar Creek

Reflections on Cedar Creek

Sometimes the only thing to do is listen

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And sometimes the only thing to do is marvel

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Mossy Ledge

Maybe if I crouch down low enough she won’t see me!

I See You

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. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . I'll still have something to say! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


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