The making of a tufa garden

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

David - many thanks for that advice. I have read yours and others articles in the Quarterly and found them very stimulating, especially since few growers describe their experiences here in the UK. I will do as you suggest, and I like the idea of incorporating a soaker hose. Once I get going I will put progress on this thread.

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.
 

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

Well, if all goes according to schedule, Phase II III of our tufa garden begins on Friday, with the delivery of materials... 4500 pounds of tufa, 10 bags of 1/2" tufa gravel, 5 bags of tufa sand, 2 yards of 7mm gyra rock, and a yard of topsoil (for contouring the subsurface).  (If more material is needed, it'll be acquired on an "as-needed" basis.  We'll see how this amount works out.)  I'll be trying to correct my beginner's errors of the first phase... better drainage, specifically.
Stay tuned... !

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

deesen
deesen's picture
Title: Guest
Joined: 2011-01-31

WOW, 4500 pounds of tufa!!

http://english-tufa-rock.co.uk/page9.php?view=preview&image=4&category=0

This piece £16.99 in England (about $27.0)

David Nicholson
in Devon, UK  Zone 9b

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

:o :o
Wow, I've got to figure out a way to buy it here and sell it there!   ;D

Edit:  Correcting myself, I guess this will actually be Phase III, not II... There may be a Phase IV next year... or not, maybe this will be enough tufa for us.

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 assume the English tufa is handmade?

David, can you use coke as a black substitute? You can afford painting it too!

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

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

For that price, one would hope it was handcrafted by skilled artisans, but no, I'm sure it's naturally-formed.

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

deesen
deesen's picture
Title: Guest
Joined: 2011-01-31

Hoy wrote:

I assume the English tufa is handmade?

David, can you use coke as a black substitute? You can afford painting it too!

;D ;D ;D

David Nicholson
in Devon, UK  Zone 9b

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

Work in progress...

There will be another slightly-lower mound to the right of the new one, to be put in place today, with a path in between.  The big path to the back gate is to the right of that.  There is more tufa laid out elsewhere in the yard.  (Actually, it turns out that we bought 7500 pounds of tufa, rather than the ordered 4500 lbs... it was available on the truck, and not spoken for, as it turned out, so...  :o)

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

Anne Spiegel
Title: Member
Joined: 2010-01-26

David wrote:

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.

Lori, I've found this to be true also.  We almost always seem to have a period of extended drought during the summer now.  I plant between pieces of tufa for a deep root run and have found that plants will also put roots into the tufa.  Another way is to drill a hole right through the tufa.  Some roots will extend into the sand beneath and other roots will still go inot the tufa.  There is very little I plant directly into the tufa anymore - the garden is too big to water, and during extended drought, the water isn't available from our well.

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

Thanks, Anne.  I am using a mix of tufa sand and gyra rock (7mm rounded gravel) as the planting medium this time... plus a little peat.  I have been using these beds more as a tufa crevice garden to date, as you suggest, with plants stuck in between the tufa pieces.  There are also some plantings into crevices in the pieces of tufa plus into some drilled holes in the tufa (for mainly saxifrages). 
Back to work now...  :)

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

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