Rock-plant surgery

Alpine Plants Weekend Study – part 1

Desperate to keep alive some seedlings from last year seed collection from the Carpathian Mts., yesterday I have performed something that I would call rock-plant surgery.  Inspired from the growing technique of the Saxifrages in small tufa pieces, seen at Wrightman Alpines, I drilled a few small tufa pieces, put my patients under anaesthesia and started the procedures.

Artemisia eriantha and surgery tools

Artemisia eriantha and surgery tools

Asperula capitata seedling

Sorry – Gypsophila petraea (it was given as Asperula capitata) seedling

Drilled tufa

Drilled tufa

And here they are later, in the recovery room. A bit pale but fingers crossed that a few will survive and thrive later in the rock garden!

In the recovery room

For more information on using tufa, please visit Wrightman Alpines website, where chief surgeon Harvey Wrightman gives more explanations about the procedures in a few videos.

While going over some images from the Carpathian Mts., this big boulder was chuckling at me: Try to reproduce this, if you can!

Granite boulder

Well, I like a good challenge anyway!

6 replies
  1. Rosie
    Rosie says:

    Just WoW.. that looks so neat.. now do you drill ALL the way through the rock? I can see this being an interesting visual with a few different plants.

    • diversifolius
      diversifolius says:

      Thanks Rosie. Planting alpines in tufa it’s not done on an ‘ornamental’ purpose, you drill a blind hole so that their roots will grow into the tufa matrix. On the same time if just to make some regular plants to look like growing ‘from a rock’, you may try to drill all the way and plant them into the hole (but actually in the soil).

  2. Rick Nelson
    Rick Nelson says:

    I am very impressed by the idea of using tufa as a plant pot, makes real sense. The only problem I can see is do you have to drill a bigger hole in your tufa wall to put the ‘pots’ in?

    • diversifolius
      diversifolius says:

      Hi Rick, if you already have a tufa wall (in which case I envy you) then it’s best to drill holes into it and plant right there. In my case, with a small garden, I’ll have to fit the small tufa pieces here and there, between other rocks. I’ll do some planting directly into a big tufa rock soon and I’ll show it. Meanwhile, have a look at the videos on Wrightman Alpines website, they are very explanatory.

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