The making of a tufa garden

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Hoy
Hoy's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-15

Thay's very good! Building mountains to have space for your plants (many special ones too)! I do something like it - buy interesting seeds or plants. And then lacking appropriate space having to make it. But I have not built any mountains yet. Have to do it, I presume!

Trond
Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers  (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!

RickR
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-09-21

I'm thinking my garden will be a mountain range.  ;D  I guess that means the walkways will be passes . . .

Oh my, maybe I am getting a bit eccentric.  I'm sure those of you living in the mountains are just rolling your eyes. 

Rick Rodich    zone 4a.    Annual precipitation ~24 inches
near Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27

Here I am, with astounding boldness, posting a couple of "completed" photos... as if anything in the garden is ever completed!

Has there been progress on the rock garden plan, Rick? 

Lori
Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Zone 3
-30 C to +30 C (rarely!); elevation ~1130m; annual precipitation ~40 cm

Booker
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Title: Member
Joined: 2010-01-30

VERY, very pretty ... !

Cliff Booker A.K.A. Ranunculus
On the moors in Lancashire, U.K.
Usually wet, often windy, sometimes cold ... and that's just me!

RickR
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-09-21

You should be proud, Lori. 

Ground breaking for my garden will be late Aug - Sept, when I can get time off from work. It will have permanent paths that double for water drainage, especially in spring before ground thaw, and to "match" the woodland garden nearby in the same "watershed."

Rick Rodich    zone 4a.    Annual precipitation ~24 inches
near Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27

Thanks!  I brace myself, however, for comments of a more critical nature, which one must always expect when "opening up" on a public forum!  
Re. tufa vs. other rock, I am surprised that we (DH and I) now seem to prefer the look of the tufa, as compared to the so-called "iron ledgestone" (siliceous slate) we used in the other bed.  Something of a change, as we'd both considered the tufa not terribly attractive, albeit very useful for alpine-growing.  Going forward, as we extend the ledgestone bed, we plan to build it up a lot more.  
We are (finally) in a stage of removing old, overgrown, not-terribly-interesting shrubs from various areas of the yard (gaining in each step an area equivalent to that of a modern subdivision back yard!), so I would not be surprised if there is not opportunity to extend this tufa bed soon, as well.  (I'd like to continue to build onto the backside of it... to even out those gap-toothed peaks a bit!)

Sounds like a well-thought-out plan, Rick.  

Lori
Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Zone 3
-30 C to +30 C (rarely!); elevation ~1130m; annual precipitation ~40 cm

Hoy
Hoy's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-15

I would not even out "the gap-toothed peaks"! They look like a mountain range and give more slightly variable habitats to fill with plants. Raising a second range behind seems very appropriate - making a valley in between the mountain ranges! I am jealous!

Trond
Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers  (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!

Tim Ingram
Title: Member
Joined: 2011-04-27

I've been thinking of doing this for a while and have at last found a source of tufa but haven't yet plucked up courage to go ahead (there is always so much else to do!). Finding this thread is quite an inspiration! Unfortunately I can't get hold of really large boulders which would be most dramatic. There are not too many gardeners in the UK using tufa in such a way and the latest and very effective 'fashion' is the crevice garden. Of course I would like to have both, in addition to sand beds!! A lot of construction in the offing!

Dr. Timothy John Ingram
Faversham, Kent, UK
I garden in a relatively hot and dry region (for the UK!), with an annual rainfall of around 25", winter lows of -10°C and summer highs of 30°C.
 

deesen
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Title: Guest
Joined: 2011-01-31

Tim wrote:

I've been thinking of doing this for a while and have at last found a source of tufa..................

Lucky man Tim. I recently discovered a salvage yard with quantities of rockery sized re-claimed limestone and granite but the £100 per ton plus delivery cooled my ardour!

David Nicholson
in Devon, UK  Zone 9b

Sellars
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Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-29

Tim wrote:

the latest and very effective 'fashion' is the crevice garden. Of course I would like to have both, in addition to sand beds!!

Tim:  Why not have a tufa bed built as a crevice garden using sand as the underlying material? After years of experimentation that is how I build all my tufa beds now.  Some plants like a longer root run so they are planted in the crevices between the tufa. I plant Saxes directly in the tufa. I have found that in our climate, sand is the best material to build with tufa as sand is well-drained and essentially weed free. In the last tufa bed I constructed I incorporated a small diameter soaker hose at the base of the sand and it seems to work well to draw the roots of plants down deeper.  Otherwise I have found shallower rooted plants in a sand bed can suffer from lack of water in a dry summer even with surface sprinkling.

David Sellars
From the Wet Coast of British Columbia, Canada

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