Gardening is like Therapy and You Get Hypertufa

Gardening has a way of calming the mind, reducing the stress of the day, and exercising those muscles that were idle because you sat in front of the computer all day.  The collection of busy thoughts running around inside my head somehow settles when I am in my garden.  Whether it is pulling  weeds, deadheading flowers or just cutting grass,  an afternoon working in my yard  can leave me feeling physically exhausted, but pleasantly  relaxed.

There is some discussion that  It’s in the dirt ! More specific, a strain of bacterium in  the soil – “Mycobacterium vaccae, has been found to trigger the release of serotonin, which in turn elevates mood and decreases anxiety”.   

 As much as I like  working  in my garden (in the dirt) , I enjoy making accouterments  for my garden.  I have constructed  wooden planters,  trellis’s and  pergolas and a crazy garden gate but  making  hypertufa  is much more fun and does not require a circular saw.  Mixing  up the ingredients is like making a cake.  Making hypertufa containers does not require artistic talent, however  it will help you  find your creative side.   And the end result is a unique container and one more  reason  (like you need one) to buy plants.

So why do people enjoy making these stone like pots?  You buy a few basic ingredients, get a mold at the Dollar Store  and with a little instruction and some water you can create a you own really cool container. The design, size  and shape is up to you.   Although you are not digging in the dirt and  there is no release  of serotonin,  the good feeling comes because the entire  process was done by you. You made it!   

Hypertufa is fun because it does not require you to be a concrete artist.    Google hypertufa  and you will find hundreds of experts and just as  many recipes

After making a few of your own  pots you will get the hang of mixing the ingredients.  I tell  my classes  the consistency of the mix after you add water should feel like a  moist meatball (in the bowl!).   As you slowly work the mix into the mold, getting the bubbles out of the mix, also seems to release some of the frustrations from the day!   Removing  the firm but uncured  pot  from the mold,  then carefully working out the rough edges with the flat trowel and wire brush  transforms the concrete pot to an aged stone trough.

I used a childs kick ball as the mold for this pot.
Even if you make a  mistake you have the ability to create something beautiful.   Once when giving a demo at a Garden Expo,  I broke the side of the container (made the day before)  when putting it back into the mold to take it home.  After a few unrepeatable word.  I  took my square trowel  and careful carved the damp Hypertufa, smoothing over the  obvious break.  The pot below,  now has  lowered front ( broken part)  planted with some nice plants  and  I believe it  turned out to be one of my nicest containers.
Fine Gardening Web Site


In all my hypertufa classes I  show participants how to use a wire brush and a flat trowel  to  texture the sides of the uncured pot after it is  unmolded  and also what to do to fix broken sides.  


Once  the pot has cured for about 2 weeks it is ready to plant.   There are so many choices, however because the  size of the container, plants that remain small grow best. Succulents are the easiest to grow, but conifers and herbs also do well in these containers.  The key to successful containers plants is well drained soil. I use Al’s Gritty Mix.

Pots can be made in many sizes and shapes .  Just find a mold and you can create what ever size container you desire. The smaller pots were made using quart nursery pots.
You dont need a large yard,  or big deck, only a small patio  with  a little sun.  You can plant with one or two plants or a  combination of many plants.  If it does not look good one year, you can change it the next.  The containers are easy to weed,  add a little fertilizer and  require regular watering


Even a stay in the hospital can result in a usable mold. Its the small pink rectangular wash container  provide to every patient. 


Gardening has a way of calming the mind, reducing the stress of the day, exercising those muscles that were idle because you sat in front of the computer all day.  Making these pots is one more way you can  enjoy the beauty of your garden.
If you have never tried Hypertufa or if you have made a few pots and it did not turn out the way you expected  –  Use my “Hypertufa Instructions” on the blog and try it again.  I made a many  mistakes before I got it right.

Making hypertufa is  just like anything you do in the garden, it takes a little time,  some practice, and patience and the results can be pretty nice. The bonus is that you  will get to plant the container when you are done.  

And it is a great way to spend some time with your friends.

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