THE TUFA WALL GARDEN
 
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    Tufa is a naturally occurring, precipitated rock comprised of nearly pure calcium carbonate. It is light weight, porous and is easily colonized by the roots of lime-loving plants. In a traditional rock garden, the plants are grown between the rocks. In a tufa garden, the plants can also be grown in holes bored into the rock. Alpine plants established in tufa grow very slowly and are as thrifty and compact as they would be in a natural limestone outcropping. The feeling of the tufa garden is at once sparse and charming. Our tufa wall faces north, exposed to the eastern sun only in the morning but open to the bright sky throughout the day.
    
Salix reticulata, dwarf form from Newfoundland
Sagifraga  ‘Your Success’
Portion of tufa wall built in 2003
Saxifraga oppisitifolia has begun to seed into the tufa
 
 
This simple retaining wall was built in 1986 with the idea of growing rock-loving plants in the sharply-drained crevices. The stones were laid up and shimmed in the traditional manner, but the spaces between the stones were then filled with sandy loam, allowing the plants to root into the moist earth behind the wall. The north-facing vertical aspect affords sharp drainage for the crowns of the plants and is a haven for plants that require bright light but would suffer from direct sun.                
After twenty five years, many of the original Saxifraga, Campanula and Androsace have continued to thrive and many other plants have seeded and spored into the crevices. These include a few delightful surprises such as Dicentra eximia, Asarum europeum, Athyrium niponicum var. pictum, Polystichum braunii, Asplenium tricomanes and Adiantum pedatum.
          
THE NORTH-FACING
   WALL GARDEN
Asplenium tricomanes  happily sporing
around in the north-facing  wall
Polystichum braunii & other fern volunteers in the wall
Androsace primuloides ‘Chumbyi’
The wall garden in late May
Cady’s Falls Nursery
Don & Lela Avery
637 Duhamel Rd.  Morrisville, Vt. 05661
802-888-5559    avery@vtusa.net
The wall garden in November. Larix ‘Steuben’ having
shed its needles and showing off its cinnamon bark
Saxifraga ‘Foster’s Red’ & Androsace primuloides
‘Chumbyi’, both 25 years old
Saxifraga ‘Jan Neruda’
Saxifraga  ‘Dana’
Primula allionii   ‘Wharfedale Ling’
To see
LIME-LOVING FERNS IN TUFA
please go to the fern page
Saxifraga  ‘Gloriana
Saxifraga irvingii  ‘Jenkinsi
January
Woodsi ilvensis volunteer in the wall
Polystichum braunii volunteers in the wall
THE SEMP EDIFICE
Several years ago, grandson Emmett and grandfather Don decided to pile up a bunch of rocks and plant some hens and chicks. They packed the spaces between the rocks with sandy soil and tucked in small rosettes of semps. The boy grew tall and thin and showed far more interest in snowboards and sailboats. Grandfather now tends the semp edifice.
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