Another great smaller project is a hypertufa wall pocket.
You can make this with a drain hole and plant it with hardy succulents such as Sempervivum, some smaller species of Sedum and hang it beside your door for an interesting and rustic focal point.
The technique is relatively easy, once you have some experience with making hypertufa.
I make a hypertufa mix with less sand in it, as your finished hypertufa wall pocket will hang on the wall suspended by two nails or wire, so it’s got to be light enough.
Curing this project is of great importance.
Start with a flat slab, approximately 3-5cm (1-2") thick. Take some crumpled newspaper and set it in the center, then start to build outer layer.
Make sure that the newspaper doesn’t get in between the layers or the top one won’t stick to the bottom one. Squish all around the sides and the bottom to make a seal.
Make two holes with a nail or other thin object on the back piece to hang it from, and make a drain hole. These can be cleaned out more once the hypertufa dries.
Cover with thin plastic film, and leave it for at least 24 hours. Test it after this time, and sprinkle with water to aid the curing process.
Don’t try and move it, as it will be brittle and delicate and will possibly crumble.
After 48 hours, it will be strong enough to move, and you can take the newspaper out of the pocket.
Cure completely by keeping it moist for a week or so, then immerse it in a water bath to take off the excess lime. Use gloves for this, as the mix and the water will be caustic.
Once your hypertufa wall pocket is cured, plant some special varieties of Sempervivum – my favorites are some of the darker kinds like Sempervivum ‘Delta’ or the tiny cobwebs like Sempervivum arachnoideum ‘Encader’, or even tender succulents.
Plant some Sedum pluricaule or other smaller growing varieties of Sedum to spill over the front and soften the planting.
Left empty, this will attract birds looking for a nesting site - how cute would that be?
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