Miniature Gardens, Trough
If you have not been here yet enjoy the stroll. Turn your can'ts into cans and dreams into plants, plans. If you are visiting again enjoy the new additions.
Create your garden and take it with you when you move?
Unusual rocks, moss, alpine plants and miniature conifers are incorporated, a masterpiece in progress. Because all the troughs are uniquely different in size and appearance, I have found that when you commingle them together a miniature garden can take shape in the form of a small little village. The possibilities are endless.
Most trough gardens are assembled in hypertufa containers. These containers are light weight made up of a mix of cement, peat moss and perlite and sometimes sand. There are endless possibilities in the shapes, sizes and architectural design of the troughs. They can be named in accordance to their design or by the name of the plants you incorporate in them.
Once viewing garden troughs with varieties of alpine plants and miniature conifers I was hooked, but since I am frugal, I decided to create my own troughs. Some of the plants in this area planted directly in the garden. The miniature azalea isn't even noticed in this picture. Follow its life in the pictures to come.
Any left over cement from mason jobs became a trough, a unique work of art. Just pour the remaining cement on a pile of leaves and dirt mixed up on the ground and come back a day later to take it home.
Before decorating your creation with miniature plants, rocks and whatever, make a batch of mud and ground up moss and milk and smear it all over the top of the trough. This helps adhere the plants to the trough and allows moss to grow naturally filling in the bare spot over time.
As you are creating you will find that each masterpiece takes hold of you, draws you in. You find yourself meditating about the outcome, a place to play, a vacation retreat, a place where the animals wander. You find yourself searching for little items to piece it all together and eventually become obsessed with the outcome. This process is the best, a calming relaxing moment full of anticipation.
Using wood from a multitude of sources brings out the best in your landscape. This trough perched on top of an interesting piece of wood speaks to the butterflies. It manages to catch my eye as I gaze around. Periodically, I go scavenging for moss and dress these art pieces up till I can do no more. When they are finished they stay retired in my garden until someone falls in love with it and just has to have it.
On the job site, I would rake dead leaves and compost into a small pile and mix a little compost with the cement and drop the blobs of cement right on top and rub a mix of mud and compost on it to create a rustic appearance. I push a few sticks through it to create drainage holes. Once dry, firm and stable I flip it over and add a light mixed medium of mud, grit, sterile potting soil, moss and pebbles. It’s all creative from here on in. The only draw back to this recipe is that they weigh a ton. I use the ones I make out of left over cement on top of old logs and wood I find in my travels. Sometimes weight is essential depending on where they end up.
Succulents do not need to be in dirt to grow. They are happiest growing in virtually nothing. When you take them out of the container shake off the dirt from the bottom of it. Just leave enough close to the top. Slap on some mud and gently press on the plant making sure the roots are in the mud. You will find that the extra dirt will start piling up. Use it for the bigger holes to accommodate the miniature conifers, a perfect ready made mix. Just add a little sand and you are good t go.
If you don't have things on hand you can purchase miniature houses or better yet take a walk in the woods and find unusual pieces of wood that can be turned into a little house. While you are exploring, look for some moss to use for your design. A walk in the woods will never be the same again, always hunting and exploring for that perfect specimen. The finished results are fascinating, a town fit for the little critters.
Depending on how creative you are the sky is the limit. You can create troughs on sight to hide ugly drain pipes or use each independently for edging a garden. Like I said the possibilities are endless.
Once I found this wood I instantly knew what I wanted and so it began. I tacked a bling where I visualized the eyes should be. Mind you this bling came from my collection of broken jewelry. The focal point, center. This piece was assembled with three treasures found separately. A broken brick laying around so long moss changed its color and a small piece of wood/bark. They are the base to allow the bird to stand tall. Arranging your wood in such a way can create your own unique magical garden.
'SOMEWHERE OUT THERE'
Roots are a great way to turn your flat garden into three D. Elevation is the key to a mystical garden. This root has one live cactus. This cactus is not winter friendly and because of that this piece cannot be kept outside during the winter months. Although, I can switch up the cactus with something hardy. Since this is such a large piece I think this year I will so I can incorporate it in my garden year round.
See how every angle tells a different story.
This trough now rests on an old log I pulled out of the woods. It is a work in progress. The pink flower is called Thrift. The Moss, Sedums and Hens and Chicks are loving their home. The location is morning to afternoon sun, partial shade. It just keeps getting better and better with age. I'm loving it. Hate to see this one go.
This year I discovered a great way to create an edge dividing a garden from the parking area. I was cleaning out my fire pit as it was full of ash, nails, and small unburnt wood. I dove right in and the only place I had to throw the stuff away was a wheelbarrow which happened to be full of last rain's water.
Well, I looked at it and decided to play. I dumped the stuff into the water and began to mix it and it started looking like I could use it for trough making. With no mold ready. I got this bright idea to use the concoction to create a live edging. Well I poured it over a decorative stone wall I built with left over block years ago. I don't like that look, never did even when I was building it. I dumped the mix on the wall making sure I allowed some depth periodically for miniature plants. I added stray rocks collected throughout my days and pushed in burnt wood and moss to make it appear like it was already taking shape.
My fireplace is actively burning and producing a free mix for more edging ideas. No cost edging. Planting never felt so fulfilling. I will keep you posted as to its on gowing growth.
Let's say you manage to construct a trough, add all the plants, watch it flourish and get your husband to help you move it to a safe place. All good right? You never know what will happen in transport. Let's put it in a wheelbarrow on top of a garbage can lid he says. Lets just carry it, I say. I give up as long as he is helping I will go along with his ways. The wheel barrel wins. A weak spot is all it takes, oops. Oh man was I not lost for words that day. Relax, relax, think ok. I will name it 'THE END OF THE WORLD 2011' and retire it to my garden. It works. Anything goes with a little imagination.
FIXING WATER RUNOFF PROBLEMS WITH TROUGH
I was having a terrible time with water run off from my gutter leader drain pipes. Every time it rained the water would pour out so fast that it would take my garden soil with it and disburse it all over my pavers. I nipped this in the bud by digging a hole to accommodate a stainless steel container; (any container that holds water will do) directed the gutter drain pipe to the stainless steel container and covered the pipe with two long troughs.
I made some mud and wiped it all over the top the troughs and glued a variety of sedums and hens and chicks over the troughs. When it rains the water fills up the steel container and once full the water slowly disburses into my garden. I had no more problems with a muddy walkway after this fix and my garden took on a new dimension, a home for the fairies and little critters.
This same concept can be created by using a big drum, creating a raised bed water retention area. Build a wall around the drum with rocks and different blobs of cement. Leave 6 inches in between the drum and the wall. Fill the gap halfway with ¾ inch gravel and the rest of the way with a mix of sand and soil. Take it right to the top and puzzle the top with multiple troughs hiding the gutter leader drain pipes with a variety of things from rocks, moss, and unusually shaped troughs.
Use the mud to glue the sedums and moss into place. Plant a few miniature conifers in the deep pockets between the troughs. When the water fills up the drum it will leach into the space between the drum slowly saturating the soil and trickle through the gravel making its way out the bottom a a slow and steady rate of flow.
See the drain pipe on the right corner of the house? The result is fascinating, no more wash outs or puddles left behind. Every now and then throw some mosquito pellets in the drum to eliminate larvae from brewing.
An Innovative Way to Cover an Eye Sore
As you can see by now, the ways to use troughs are endless. The more creative you are the more you get out of these man-made masterpieces.
The plants used in these troughs are a variety of miniature or ultra-dwarf conifers, small head Sempervivums, creeping Thymes and specific plants:
'Flore Pleno' erodium - in the geranium family. Blooms pink flowers with dark pink veins. Blooms late spring through summer. Always has a few blossoms on it.
Sempervivella - blooms in spring. Eight inch tall stalks grow with white to yellowish blooms.
Ice Plant - blooms in summer with bright hot pink flowers with white centers. Forms low succulent foliage and grows best in full sun. I have found they are not hardy in zone 7.
'Bevan's Variety' Sea Thrift - blooms early summer, stemless alpine with pink flowers and grassy mounds. They love moisture. I have seen it submerged under water from flooding and live through the winter..
Try to buy a variety of alpine plants. Once you see them you will be hooked on them and will want to buy them all. Normally you will need at least three to one trough and one conifer.
This book is a classic reference book describing many varieties of Sempervivums (Hens and Chicks) and Sedums. Great for the collectors library.
I have all the pieces to this old wood stove but just haven't found the time to reassemble it. A trough that changes with the season, my nature and ideas.
Gardens can be living art. Hang it inside and breath in its progress.
Not done but surely garden art in progress. A chain and a place to hang inside is all that is needed.
Imagination is the key to gardening. Using jewelry, crystals, broken chains creates a trickling waterfall. No mess, low maintenance. A periodic spray of water on the cactus is all you need to enjoy this soothing uplifting place.