The making of a tufa garden

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

A thought occurred to me... I hope these photos don't dissuade anyone from building alpine beds, LOL!  I'm pretty much just making it up as I go, so rest assured that you will do a better job than this, if you are a beginner just considering it!   ;) ;D

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

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

Skulski wrote:

A thought occurred to me... I hope these photos don't dissuade anyone from building alpine beds, LOL!  I'm pretty much just making it up as I go, so rest assured that you will do a better job than this, if you are a beginner just considering it!   ;) ;D

Lori, it looks awesome... you've used tremendous restraint to not stuff plants in prematurely... observe the terrain, then make judgements about what should go where.  Keep us posted, it is great fun "watching" a new garden being built... please keep showing us the progress.

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

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

RickR wrote:

Trond, you are talking about hypertufa.  Todd is talking about natural tufa rock.

Yes, I know! But when you haven't the real thing, what do you do?
We have no tufa here in Norway either so people use other kind of stone or hypertufa.

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

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

Skulski wrote:

A thought occurred to me... I hope these photos don't dissuade anyone from building alpine beds, LOL!  I'm pretty much just making it up as I go, so rest assured that you will do a better job than this, if you are a beginner just considering it!   ;) ;D

Don't be afraid! Although the planting is the funniest, I like working with stone, tufa or not! It can be hard work but very satisfactory when finished.
Now we are awaiting your plant choises! And the mature result in years to come....

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

Doesn't look at all like a stegasaurus  backbone now, but the "bones" are certainly well placed.  It's gonna be a great garden!

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

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

Thank you.  Let's hope it grows plants!   ;)
Some views...
Excuse the plastic tags where you see them - I will remove these later when I map it out.

1) Convolvulus holosericeus (from Pavelka; 1500m, Bozkir, Turkey; dwarf compact cushions; silky silver short leaves,  solitary stemless white flowers, white to pale yellow; dry stoney places; 2008 seed) with rooted cuttings of Saxifraga cv., placed into tufa crevice.
2)  Dracocephalum heterophyllum, foreground - very attractive little plants - (from Pavelka; 4100m, Anyemaquen Shan, Quinghai, China; cushions, glaucous-green dentate leaves, 10-15cm, flowers white to yellow, stoney places, screes; 2008 seed) and Tanacetum tibeticum (from Pavelka; 5000m, Tanglang La Pass, Zanskar, India; dwarf suffruticose silvery-grey cushions 5-15cm; erect scapes with 2-5 yellow flowers; 2005 seed).

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 like your mountain! Does it have a name? How do you decide what plants to use?

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

Hoy wrote:

Does it have a name?

I wouldn't say that is so eccentric.  Some people call their cars by name, why not a garden feature?

Go for it!

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

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

As if I need to seek out ways to be more eccentric...   ::)  
Well, I suppose I could pay homage to a local landmark and call it Tunnel Mountain...   ;D ;D

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

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

Trond, so far as selecting plants, it is more the case of having to plant up all the seedlings I grew this spring... which I chose on the basis of things that were unfamiliar and sounded interesting!  Yes, pretty well-thought-out and restrained, I know...  ;D ;D
I ordered from the NARGS and SRGC seed exchanges, did a couple of trades, and then...  swooned at the seedlists produced by the Czech seed collectors, Mojmir Pavelka and Vojtech Holubec, and made wildly-adventuresome orders!  It was great fun to grow them, and it will be fascinating to see which species are able to winter over here.  I am hoping that our relative high elevation/cool summers will be favorable to some of the high alpine species from China and elsewhere.   Many of the seeds were collected from plants growing in limestone areas, so that may be positive for the tufa bed (though I admit it was not a factor in choosing the seeds).  

Some more views:
1) Rheum rhizostachyum, another very attractive little plant (Holubec: Tajikistan: Yazgulem Range, Pamir, 3800m, gneiss scree; caespitose perennial plant; 2 ovate ground leaves, 15 cm long, flowering spikes 15cm long, red prominent fruits; 2006 seed)  
http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=2&taxon_id=242343403

2) From front to back, Potentilla caulescens (Pavelka: 1800m, Alps, Italy; tufted plant 5-15cm, green leaves, many white flowers in dense raceme; limestone rocks; 2007 seed),
Saussurea stella (Pavelka:4500m, Shaluli Shan, Sichuan, China; dwarf tufted plant, stemless blue flowers, red-purple leaves in autumn; alpine meadows; 2008 seed),
Campanula dolomitica (bought from Beaver Creek), and
Achillea aleppica ssp. zederbaueri (Pavelka:1600m, Karaman, Turkey; very good dwarf silver-gray plant 5-15cm, linear leaves, yellow flowers in dense corymb, 2008 seed).

3) From front to back - Campanula ptarmicifolia (Pavelka; 2500m, Sipikor Dag, Turkey; dense tufts or compact cushions; narrow spathulate leaves, erect stems 10-25cm, blue flowers in spike, 2008 seed),
Campanula seraglio - NARGS seedex,
Lancea tibetica (Holubec; China: Litang, Sechuan, 4200m, eroded open soil; small caespitose plant, 3-5cm high , lanceolate leaves in rosettes, rose flowers in low racemes, black sessile berries; 2007 seed).

Yes, undoubtedly somewhat overplanted, but then, this is zone 3, with unfamiliar plants, among which a few are monocarpic or biennial, so there will undoubtedly be losses.  (And my preference, as I've mentioned, is to get them in the ground and find out about them, rather than to take care of them in pots.   :))

An aside... Bigger is definitely better with rock gardens.  Already, I need more space... !   ;D  

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

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