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Garden troughs become miniature gardens when filled with small plants and unusual rocks. The North Stonington Garden Club members built mini hypertufa troughs last fall to sell at their May Plant Sale, since it takes 6 months to prepare them for planting. What is hypertufa? It is cement, perlite and peat moss mixed with water – then acrylic fiber mesh added for strength and winter protection. It was invented for use in alpine gardens when antique watering troughs became too expensive and rare according to Wikipedia. The mixture is patted and molded inside a bowl or box or other shape. After drying the troughs are removed from the mold and a design can be carved on the surface. After the troughs have cured, they are left outside for 4 to 6 months so rain can leach out excess lime. They will be PH neutral before planting. The garden club troughs were made at a workshop given by club member Sue Vincent. The resulting hypertufa trough simulates the old stone water trough but is much lighter. Members of the club are growing small alpine flowers and small succulents and will plant them in the mini troughs in April for their May Plant Sale.
Look for the mini hypertufa troughs at the North Stonington Garden Club Plant Sale on Sat. May 11 from 9 to 1 at the N. S. Elementary School on R#2 in North Stonington, CT. You’ll also find thousands of home dug perennials, annuals, hanging baskets and herbs. Bring some soil samples from your garden or lawn for soil testing at the Master Garden Booth. See www.nsgardenclub.org for directions on taking samples and how to drive there.