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Tufa Gardens

harvey's picture

We have acquired what every gardener needs – another garden. Actually it is an extension (a large one) to the much appreciated though small tufa garden which Josef Halda made for us in 1999. The extension was also constructed by Josef in April 2002, and he planted it with oversized stock plants and other oddities from the nursery.

It is set up as an outcrop in a ‘crevice’ style and makes a wonderful demonstration garden to show the features that may be so incorporated. The crevices Josef filled with so many mat formers that I asked where we would put the choicer specimen plants. “Put the collection to the tufa” was his response; and so, we spent a couple days drilling and planting the kabschia collection, daphnes, convolvulus, etc. into holes drilled into the tufa (or travertine as Josef prefers to call this particular material). The holes were done with a 15mm drill bit to a depth of ~4 cm. This blind hole forces the plant to make a myriad of fibrous roots throughout the tufa matrix. In effect the rock is both the container and the growing medium. For those saxatile plants that are harder to grow – it provides a much better environment. Even in full sun, the kabschia cuttings grew and did not burn.

The bare spaces were covered with a crushed tufa gravel, fusing the stones together and giving a wonderful, massive look to the whole construction. Of course, being in full sun, it had to be watered; but tufa retains ~25% of it’s own weight in water, so although it can appear very dry, the plants have an adequate water supply.

(2003 Catalogue Introduction)