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Hypertufa troughs

Frances and others:
There is a very good book about trough planting:
      HANDBOOK ON TROUGHS   published by North American Rock Garden
Think I got mine for about $6.00 through a local chapter of the NARGS. 
This puts it all together for you and will give you a much better
understanding of "what, why" and the joys of trough gardening.  Tells how
to build troughs, selection of plants, soil, etc.  Good book and a must
for the serious hypertufa trough devote.

The formula I used (was given to me):
2:3:3   Portland Cement : Perlite : sieved peat moss.
Use fiber mesh for reinforcement (burn off exposed fibers with hobby blow
torch).  Can "free form" shapes or use about any kind of form around
which you can mold the semi-dry mixture.  When finished with forming,
best to put in a garbage back, seal, and let cure for a 3 - 4 days. 
Check for hardness.  If you can scratch with your fingernail, let it cure
another day or so.  When your nail no longer can scratch the surface,
time to remove it from mold and then it is ready to be "distressed,"
using wire brush.  I nailed a couple of nails through 1" X 4" and scraped
along side - great effect.  Make sure to put in drainage holes.

For forms try:  Halloween plastic bowl; papermache over a balloon and
then varnished - cut in half (then put wet sand inside to give support);
wood or cardboard box; cut plant pot in half vertically and glue ends
together; hot wire special shapes of foam - do NOT hot wire styrofoam
except in VERY well ventilated area as it creates poisonous gases; free
form using wet sand.  Cover form with food wrap so that it releases

Charles Tuttle
Columbus  OH   Z5 and awaiting ~8" of white mulch tonight
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