Revisit: The Draped Hypertufa Planter

Were you looking for the Draped Hypertufa How-To?  I have seen searches for Cement Draped Planters, Rags Dipped in Cement, and so on….But I have some directions here on how to make them, And there are some videos to watch which will help you make your own!

I am revising a post I did in early April since there have been so many questions, and I have made some videos to help.

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How about a whole new look for a hypertufa planter? It is heavier on the Portland cement, and incredibly messy to make, but I am already planning to make more. I have seen some photos  on the internet, but nothing with complete directions on how to do it, so I have winged it!  And these are some of my creations!

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You can  use any fabric you have lying around. It can be an old towel, a blanket, leftover drapery material, an old padded quilt*  ( No, an old quilt is too heavy to handle and I learned the hard way.)

See the Page Tab “Videos and Tutorials”

These 3 videos are listed at the top

  1. Video Part One: Making a Draped Hypertufa Planter
  2.  Video Part Two: Making a Draped Hypertufa Planter
  3.  Video Part Three: Final Draped Hypertufa Planters

 My recipe that I had used for this project is  heavy on the cement.  And by that I mean that I use a lot more cement than I would in a regular hypertufa trough recipe.

I would use

  • 1 part Portland cement (I was using a 2 qt pitcher)
  • 1/4 part of peat ( about 1 pint)
  • a handful of vermiculite and mortar mix depending on how much you want it to be textured
  • water, about a 2 qt pitcher as above added slowly as you get it into a slurry or gravy

Cut the fabric into a circle, an oval, or even use it as a rectangle or square. Dampen it and hang it from your “tower.” This will be the support that you hang it on to dry. If you want the pointed edges, be sure your support is tall enough to allow them to drape/hang.

Your tower is your support for the project as it dries. I used a bar stool for my first one.  You can use a column of paint cans. or even a lamp shade.  (NO, the lamp shade didn’t work for me.)

It must be something sturdy to  allow your fabric  to “drape” and not let the ends of the wet fabric touch to floor. It will change the look of your project if the ends of the fabric touch the floor/table.

Cover your tower in plastic! The piece is a little pliable when you attempt to get it off, but it was a struggle with that bar stool. You don’t want your piece to cement itself to the tower.

t Revisit: The Draped Hypertufa PlanterCheck out how it hangs or “drapes” and pull it to one side or the other until you have  a vision of what you  like. The large one pictured at the top of the post  was made from an oval cut about 26″ by 39″. ( I had earlier made it bigger, but decided I just couldn’t handle fabric cut that big. It was a good decision, because that sucker is HEAVY after soaking it in cement gravy.

Once it is all mixed, and you have a consistency like meat gravy, not breakfast gravy ( I’m a country girl), put the whole piece of cloth into your mix and roll it around until it is all soaked with cement on both sides.

Wear gloves of course. I had to pick the mix up and smoosh it into the fabric on both sides, being sure to get it into folds. Did I lie when I said it was MESSY?

**Be sure to mix up enough slurry to get it all wet. Depending on the size of your fabric piece, you may need to double the recipe. If you have leftovers, have a few small  cloths ready to drape over a butter dish or bowl, or just pour it into those dishes to make  feet for a trough.

t Revisit: The Draped Hypertufa PlanterWhen you are draping it over your tower, it is easy to pull and adjust until you get the look that pleases you.

(BTW, I made the biggest mess in the garage floor. Oh my! But when it dries, you can scrape it off and the  ShopVac takes care of it. Whew!)

I left my creation for 2 nights in a cold garage covered with a plastic garbage bag, then pulled it off the bar stool tower support with difficulty. It is slightly pliable at this point, but did harden after the next step.  I put it back into the garbage bag and left it for 24 hours.

**Important Note: Some sources on the internet speak of setting it to dry in the sun. My advice here is NOT to put it in the sun, but in a shady area and be SURE IT IS COVERED BY A PLASTIC BAG. This is what effects the cure!

t Revisit: The Draped Hypertufa PlanterAfter yours is fully cured and hard, you may drill a hole in it with your drill that you use to put a hole in the regular trough. Since it is very thin, it drills easily. No problem.

If you want to use it as a container in which to set a plastic pot of annuals or other flowers or plants, that is fine too.

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These are the smaller ones and I have painted a few in different colors and I like them. If you like bright colors, then a quick stain or latex paint, even spray paint will give you any look you want.

Questions: Will it be ok in winter or rain?  Since I have only made these this early spring, I can report that mine have survived snow and ice storms this past spring, and mine has been in the rainiest spring and summer ever! They are fine.  Be sure to check the videos out. You may need to PAINT A SECOND COAT OF THE MIXTURE onto a finished planter if it doesn’t seem hard enough.

Remember, I have had failures too when the planter just did not get hard for whatever reason. Not sure why, but some just “flopped”, both literally and figuratively..LOL

Let me know in the comments if you have made one. I appreciate any comments you make.


Check Out That Shape!

Sometimes I see a shape in a plastic dish or form of some kind and I love it!  I just know it would make a good form.

This one is awesome, right?

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This particular plastic container was so interesting in its shape that I just had to have a hypertufa like that. I love the indentations on the side and they seemed big enough that they would show in the final product.

Making a Hypertufa Planter Check Out That Shape!

I finished this Project  about 10 days ago, and it will be ready to pot up shortly.  Express Leaching, right!

I will post some pictures on Facebook Page as soon as I get that done. I have some Sempervivum arachnoideum , cobweb semps, that I am anxious to plant in this one. They mat really nicely, so I think it will be a good match. Probably won’t fill in really well until next year, but….Oh my! It will look great next year.

But here are some photos of my process.

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After lining your form, you may want to line an extra form in case you have leftover hypertufa mixture. That way, it can be used for another planter instead of wasting it.

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For this size hypertufa planter, I used a one gallon measure unit. So I used 1 gallon Portland, 1.5 gallon vermiculite, 1.5 gallon peat moss. That amount was just perfect and I had no leftovers.

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Get all the dry ingredients measured and mixed together thoroughly, then add the water and mix.

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Press the mixture into all the bottom, edges and sides firmly. Tug on the plastic liner as you go to get the mix in all the edges firmly and to prevent a large fold occurring which might make your planter weak. You will make the bottom first then slowly build the sides by pressing large handfuls of the mixture along the plastic-covered bottom and walls. I make mine thick!

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When you are satisfied with your form, pull the excess plastic wrap hanging outside your form and fold it inside the form. You can compress more if you like, using one hand on the outside and one on the inside compressing between your hands. Firm is Good!

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This time, I didn’t need my extra form and since it appeared to be just the right size to use as an insert for this form, I placed it inside the form as a barrier. Most times this is not necessary, but if you had your mixture a little too wet, a form pressed inside may keep the mixture from “slumping.”

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I wrap this whole bundle inside a large garbage bag. Most of the time I am doing this myself. So put my container to the edge of the work table, slightly off the side, and pull the garbage bag on the edge. Then I tilt it gently so that I can slide the bag fully over my container. Then tie it closed and you are done. This little tent made by the bag is your “curing” tent. Just set it in the shade and leave it for 24-48 hours.

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After 48 hours, gently pull it out of the bag. It should feel as hard as cement! Turn the  whole container upside down, and then pull on the plastic liner, and it will ease itself out of the mold. Unwrap and do the happy dance!

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Some texturizing may be needed, but not much. Really like this one a lot.

After you get the look you want, place the new hypertufa planter back inside the garbage bag, and again place it in the shade. Leave it there for 7-10 days for curing. After that, you may drill holes, leach, then eventually plant it up!

Enjoy your planter! It is unique and no one has one exactly like yours, right!  Make some for yourself and let me know how they turn out. Don’t you just love hypertufa?


Mondays: Dishing Out More Dirt

It's Monday again, and here are a few helpful hints to use in your garden. Check them out and let me know if they help you.  I like the saucer or sled idea.....and I think I could make a hypertufa from it too!

Muddy shoes?

20140720 190247 1 resized 214x500 Mondays: Dishing Out More DirtI do get out in the yard and garden after ( sometimes during) rainstorms. Do you have one of those window scrapers for snow that you've put away for the winter? Get that out and put it by your back door. You can scrape a lot of the mud off, and brush off grass sticking to your shoes easily with one of these.

The long handle makes it easier to reach your shoes. This one is an adjustable handle and I had it all the way out.

Time to Tee Off!

Did you or your husband get a new golf bag? Don't get rid of the old one!

Make it a wheeled garden tote. It can hold various long handed tools, such as shovels, hoes, rakes. And the pockets can hold smaller spades, bulb diggers, gloves, garden clogs or anything else you may need including a water bottle.

It will maneuver around the garden and up steps and even stand upright for you. Perfect when you have a big garden.

Who Knew Some Birds Need Grit?

On your bird feeders:

20140720 190351 1 resized 209x500 Mondays: Dishing Out More DirtAdd a little gritty sand either on the feeder stand with your food, or scattered around beneath the feeder itself. This is especially important in the winter when birds may not have access to sand due to snow cover or it's frozen.

Some birds, such as pigeons and doves, swallow the seed whole and need grit to digest their food, so give them a hand!

So give them a hand in both summer and winter, right?

Old Lamp Shades

Do you have old lamp shades of all sizes? Or do you see them at garage sales ?

Collect some because frost season will be here soon, and then again in the spring. These stack easily in a corner of your shed or on a tall shelf out of the way when you don't need them.

Use them as a cloche. The fabric or other material will shield your plant and the sizes are so varied you can find one to work on the plants that need protection. Just place over the top of the plant. If you need to, place a small piece of fabric over the top opening.

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Move it, move it , move it!

Don't throw away  a child's small snow saucer or sled. Keep it for use in the yard and garden.

Make a hole for a rope or it may already come with a tether attachment spot.

Use this to place dirt dug from a hole, assorted flat of plants, bag of mulch, etc...anything you need dragged across your garden or yard.

If you dig a hole for a plant, you can put the dirt in the sled and it can even serve as your mixing dish, adding you compost and pellet fertilizer and mixing well before tipping it back into the hole!

And there you go! Til next Monday. Let me know how you like these ideas in the comments section.


Hypertufa – It’s Ancient When It’s New

How can one make a new hypertufa bowl or trough and not want it to look as if it was a hundred years old That’s one of the greatest points of interest  of these planters!

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The secret is in Texturizing, I think.

You need to use a rasp which is almost like a large and somewhat heavy nail file. Think of a big emery board made of metal with a spikey surface.  And when you use that thing, believe me, it scrapes the hardened cement off easily. ( Wear gloves)

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I usually make my hypertufa planters with a thick wall, and so when I round off the walls and tops, I like to use a rasp and a wire brush to scrape until I get it smooth-edged, not angled and sharp. I want it to seem like it has already been in the elements for a long time.

20140418 150349 resized 500x334 Hypertufa   Its Ancient When Its NewI have a short video which discusses the texturizing process. I think it is easier to learn when you see it visually. So check this out. And don’t you LOVE the whiskey barrel one!

If you have any questions, please let me know in the comments. We can all learn from that. Have a nice Sunday!

Baptisia False Blue Indigo

My Favorite and Easy Perennials

Do you sometimes feel overwhelmed by the need to tend your garden plants? Do you run out of time when you do get a chance?

I know the feeling. I try and tend my own garden, but it seems more and more that it suffers because I have also signed up through Master Gardeners ( because I have to volunteer a certain number of hours each year), which has me running to weed/mulch/plant gardens in my county. Then through my garden club, I tend some city gardens at the library and museum. Busy, busy, busy!

Pinterest71814 My Favorite and Easy Perennials

Meanwhile, my garden suffers. So I need plants that are easy and still look good with just minor upkeep.

(After all, I like to spend the majority of my time making and planting my hypertufa troughs!)

So here are a few of my garden favorites that I feel don’t need as much tending as some others.

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This Coreopsis verticillata ‘Moonbeam’  is such a reliable perennial, coming back each year and increasing in slow stages, getting bushy and full of flowers.  This is the threadleaf type and the flowers are such a sunny yellow and so cheerful! And you can shear it off after a heavy bloom period and it will come back with more flowers all summer long.

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Here is the Sweet William, Dianthus Barbatus . I planted these so long ago, I don’t remember the name. These are a biennial, so it reseeds itself from the first year and just keep coming back with fresh new plant and many new flowers each year. If I cut off all the flowers after the initial spring bloom, it continues to bloom through the rest of the summer. I like it scrambled among the stones.

I have planted it from seed to also border my hypertufa troughs. I think it will look nice.

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I also have some Siberian Iris which is a “softer” perennial than regular iris varieties. Its spikes are softer and more grass-like than blade-like as are the other iris. It is spreading for me  (my second year.) And I want to dig and move in the spring to put it against the fence.  Intense blue flowers and the foliage is nice throughout the year.

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Spiderwort ( Tradescantia virginana) is really a nice plant. I had not grown this in my garden until a few years ago. Never even heard of it. But I really like this plant. By midsummer, it is done and the foilage turns yellowed and ratty. But just take your garden knife and cut it to the ground. It will come back shortly, and even bloom a little.

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And who wouldn’t love the Purple Coneflower ( Echinacea). It is sturdy, not floppy if you initially pinch it a little, and has a nice color attracting butterflies and bees to the garden. It comes back every year and you can pull or share the extras!

coneflower My Favorite and Easy Perennials

What would spring be without my Baptisia “Indigo Blue.” I love the intense blue and the foliage of this plant. The foliage is the gray-green color which goes so well with blue. It is not supposed to be moved since it has a long taproot, but I have moved mine several times. ( I don’t follow the rulebook sometimes…I am a Rebel!)

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These are only a few, and I could go on and on. But these are the easiest ones that I think every garden should have. I have only so much room for plants, as I have  relatively small gardens.

What are your favorites and what can you recommend for me?





Leaching Your New Hypertufa Pot

Get your hypertufa pot ready for planting?

Once you have waited and waited for your hypertufa pot to cure, (and it seems to take forever when you are waiting), then you have to wait for the alkalinity to be leached from the pot.

leaching means:
1.to dissolve out soluble constituents from (ashes, soil, etc.) by percolation.
2.to cause (water or other liquid) to percolate through something

Due to the alkalinity of Portland cement, it is necessary to leach your new pot to make an environment acceptable for your  plants .  It is felt that the planter needs to be “neutralized”  for your plants to grow their best.
Many hypertufa makers feel that leaching your new hypertufa pot needs to be done over a prolonged period of time, such as a few months or even over the winter.  I don’t feel this is necessary and I have never had a plant give me problem relating to alkalinity.
In fact, many plants prefer a slightly alkaline environment! Yes, that is true.

Check out this list.


  • Woolley Thyme
  • Soapwort
  • Sweet William
  • Saxifrages
  • Oregano
  • Pasque Flower
  • Hens and chicks…yep!
  • Pinks and Alpine Pinks
  • Dwarf Baby’s Breath
  • Candytuft

I advise leaching your hypertufa pots by:

Hosing down 3-4 times a day for about 5 days


Misting with a weak dilution of vinegar and water and rinsing as above

For smaller pieces, soak underwater in a tub, draining & refilling over a week.

Here’s a short video of the process.

Do you have any solutions for leaching? Have you had any experience which makes you think that it cannot be done quickly as opposed to waiting all season?  Let me know in the comments.

Now go make some hypertufa!





Mondays: Dishing Out The Dirt

These are just a few garden hints and tips

that I have learned over the years. Some of these came from my Mother or my Aunts, and some from fellow gardeners and classes I've taken. I hope you find them useful.

Covering Drainage Holes

Buy a roll of vinyl  screening .

It is perfect for lining the bottom of your planter, covering the holes to keep out (some) insects. You can use this with a  coffee filter also. Both will let water through easily. No rock or packing peanuts needed in the bottom of your planter. Why?  See this page.

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Oh my! Call these "plantie liners?"

Aphids Anyone?

Aphids on your plants? 

In a spray bottle, mix some water with chopped tomato plant leaves. Tomatoes are members of the nightshade family, and its leaves contain toxic compounds called alkaloids in their leaves. Don't tomato leaves smell like tomatoes?

Chopping up the leaves releases their alkaloids. These alkaloids diluted with water, make an easy-to-use spray that is toxic to aphids, but safe around plants, kids and pets.

Rusty Tools?

In your garden shed:

Put a pretty container  of sand on your bench , then pour a cup of fresh oil into it.  Use this to stand garden scissors and pruners to prevent rust. (or get that rusted one out from under the bench and put it in the can of sand to prevent more rust.)

Ready to Plant?

Test your hypertufa planter before you plant.


  Sprinkle some vinegar into the inside of the container. If it fizzes, the surface is still pretty alkaline. Flush for a few more days before you plant, then test again. Remember, some alpines prefer a slightly alkaline environment.


Tool Bar

If you haven't already done this,  try it.

Install a magnetic bar to the inside door of your garden shed or bench.  It is so nice to have all the little tools  needed stuck to the inside door of the shed. Easy to grab, easy to put back! Handy when you need them.

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Drying Herbs

A quick and easy way to dry herbs.

I heard this in  class at  Master Gardeners.  Use your car!

Put a sheet of parchment paper in any flat surface in the car.  Spread out  the herbs in a single layer, then leave them in the car all day, either while you are at work or parked at home.

In those few hours, the  herbs will be  dried to perfection. What's more, your car will smell great. ( If you don't like the scent of a particular herb, don't use this method!)

When dried, just give a slight roll to the parchment paper, tipping it into a plastic bag. Crush it in the bag, and voila! Ready to store in your herb container!

So have any of you tried these, or do you already use them?  Let me know in the comments. I would love to hear your ideas, and I can feature those next Monday.


Loving My Hypertufa Planters

Guess what?  I have a lot of hypertufa planters!

I love them all and I am always looking to make another one,  so it is no wonder that I have so many.  As I write, I have more curing and waiting to be planted!

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It seems that I always have another idea of a shape or container to use as a mold.  Then when I use it and the shape is so awesome, I just have to make more. hypertufatroughJuly 300x300 Loving My Hypertufa Planters







I make some small ones.

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And then some that are very large.

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These troughs are so useful and around the garden, not for just sun lovers, but also really nice in shade. I love it when the moss grows on them.

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Since I have so many, I can put them all over the garden area, and I think they mingle well with the other plants.

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There are many shapes and size, and each time I make one, I think “Oh this one is my new favorite.” But later when I make more, my favorite list just gets bigger and bigger.

I don’t buy planters at all, because I don’t need to. I can make any size I want, and any shape.

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My draped hypertufa containers were really different, so I am trying new techniques. I hope to have some new things soon.

The hanging hypertufa planter has worked well this year. It holds the moisture well and just needs water like the other hypertufa planters. Doesn’t dry out like the previous coconut fiber liner did.

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I love the box shaped cubes. Another favorite.

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I am going to go out today and use another mold to make something different. Thanks for checking this out. And have a wonderful Sunday!



On My Plant List: Sedum “Coral Carpet”

Such a perfect sedum for hypertufa pots and containers.

“Coral Carpet” is mat-forming and  has new growth that is salmon-orange (hence the name coral), grows to bright green and can  turn reddish-bronze in winter or when it is stressed. Like most sedums and succulents, the most beautiful colors occur when stressed, which can occur from heat or cold.

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Clusters of tiny white to pale pink flowers appear above the foliage in early summer. This is the 6″ height in the description. Otherwise, it just hugs the soil, looking like tiny beads.

20140712 073359 resized 1500x1125 On My Plant List: Sedum Coral Carpet

Sedum comes from the Latin word sedo meaning to sit in reference to the general growing habit of sedums (sit and sprawl over rocks).

  • Herbaceous perennial or evergreen, depending on your zone
  • Family: Crassulaceae
  • Zone: 3 to 9
  • Height: 3-6 inches
  • Spread: 6-9 inches
  • Bloom Time: May to June
  • Bloom Description: White to pale pink
  • Sun: Full sun, can take partial shade
  • Water: Dry to medium, well drained
  • Maintenance: Low
This sedum “Coral Carpet” is a little carpet-like plant and works perfectly for  draping over the edge of a container. It just dangles and tries to find a rooting spot.  So it is very easy to propagate. Just stick a cutting into soil and off it goes.
Sedum Coral Carpetresized 495x500 On My Plant List: Sedum Coral Carpet
It is an option for paving areas, since it can be walked on.  But I would put it at the edge of a path. I just can’t step on a plant if I can help it.

This tiny beady low-growing plant is perfect for green roof plantings, or vertical wall projects.  Try it for your fairy gardens, or even a miniature railway garden.

Have you grown this sedum?  Why not add it too your list to find. It will become a favorite.


Deadheading Your Perennials

Many  perennials in the garden will bloom longer if you do one thing.


Pinching and deadheading are almost the same thing. But pinching is usually what you would do to a plant when it is starts growing to make it bushier. It creates more branches upon which to develop flowers . Deadheading is removing the spent flower before it tries to “seed”, or the plants thinks it has finished for the year and just starts to die back.

The plant will use its energy to try and make more flowers instead of trying to make that dried up blossom into a seed.

Here is a short video of me deadheading my Balloon Flowers.

When you have finished deadheading,  be sure to cut some nice flower to put inside on the table or windowsill.  It will cheer you up for the next few days. Or longer.

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It is especially nice to see a tiny vase of flowers on the bathroom vanity. It just brightens my morning. And a tiny vase in the powder room for guests!

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Deadheading and pinching work on most perennials, and you can also pinch and deadhead annuals. They will blooms longer and your garden will look better, because all the spent blossoms can look raggedy.

Most can be pinched/deadheaded with your fingers. Keep a vinyl glove handy to put in your hand and pinch away. That way, you don’t ruin your nails as you take the last look around your garden when you are ready to leave to go somewhere. Or grab your scissors that you keep in the shed. They work just fine.

In the fall, leave some spent blossoms to go to seed, and save them to sow or share.

Do you share seeds with friends or family?



Make a planter that looks like stone! For Your Sedum collection or Beautiful moss gardens!