By |2021-06-24T11:36:41+10:00June 24th, 2021|hypertufa planter, Plants, Uncategorized|

Make your own


By Rachel Gleeson

for The Village Observer April 2021

The term ‘hypertufa’ simply means ‘man made rock’. When making hypertufa planters we are attempting to mimic the look of natural porous limestone.

The three main ingredients you need to make your own hypertufa planters are cement, peat moss and vermiculite/perlite. Vermiculite holds water within its air pockets and also lets the pot ‘breathe’ so is a good option for making a ‘moss pot’. However, if you want to make a vessel for plants that like a dryer environment (such as succulents) a better option would be perlite which will make the pot drain more quickly.

Peat moss is organic, very light and has incredible water holding capacity. The combination of these three ingredients’ result in a very natural looking strong, lightweight vessel, which ages beautifully.



• 1 part cement
(sifted to remove any lumps)

• 1 1/2 parts vermiculite
OR perlite

• 1 1/2 parts peat moss

• bonding adhesive
(hardware store)

• water

You will also need

• Mixing tub

• gloves

• disposable face mask

• spray cooking oil or plastic wrap

• garbage bag or old plastic bags

• mould (pot/tub/dish)

• metal brush or course sandpaper

This is a messy job,
so make sure you wear old clothes!

Estimate how much mixture you need, according to the size of your mould, it’s best to make more than you think you will need. Have on standby an additional smaller mould, so you can use any leftover mixture on instead of it going to waste. Decide what side of the mould you are going to use (the inside or outside).Spray area with cooking oil or cover with wrap (to assist removal of pot from mould)

Add the three dry ingredients first and mix well. Add bonding adhesive (about 3/4 cup diluted with a couple of cups of water). GRADUALLY add more water to the mix to form a consistency of cottage/ricotta cheese (it should hold together in your hand when squeezed). Allow mixture to sit for a few minutes.

Start with the base & add a layer 3-4cm in thickness. Tamper down firmly with your thumb to remove air pockets. Work your way around the side walls (2-3cm thick). Use your finger to make a drainage hole in the base. Smooth off all edges. Once finished, cover your creation with plastic and place in a shady location for a couple of days.

Two days later: Carefully remove the pot from mould (your pot has not yet cured and is fragile). Use sandpaper or a metal brush to smooth or rough up the texture of your pot according to what type of look you are after.

Recover the pot with plastic and place back in a shady area for at least three weeks.

Three weeks later: Remove plastic and immerse your hypertufa pot in a mix of 90% water and 10% vinegar for 10 minutes (this will remove the excess lime from the pot and make it more plant friendly). It is now finished! Initially your pot will look rather ‘new’ however once planted out and regularly watered your pot will take on an aged natural ‘mossy’ patina.


By |2021-06-24T11:19:16+10:00June 21st, 2021|Plants|

Are you looking for a fuss free, easy going plant
to share your home or office with?

Airplants are
a great choice!!

By Rachel Gleeson
for The Village Observer June 2021

Tillandsias, commonly known as “air plants” come in lots of different shapes and sizes, grow inside very happily and are very easy to look after. Air plants can survive in low light areas and love the temperate humid weather conditions that we Sydney siders often experience! They make the perfect house mate for apartment dwellers as they do not need much room, require no soil….no mess! Tillandsias produce an assortment of striking foliage and stunning flowers. Most are quite small (around 5 to 20cm in length) and fuss free. There are over 400 varieties in existence, and range in price starting from around $10 for the more common varieties and a lot more for the rarer specimens! These plants make great collectables! The leaves of these little guys are made up of tiny scales, capable of absorbing nutrients and water from the air. Therefore, tillandsias do not need to live in soil. The few roots the plant produce are solely used for anchorage to their chosen homes, which are most commonly branches within the canopy of trees or wherever they fall. In our homes they look great in decorative vessels such as glass or shells or suspended from the ceiling/shelf in groups attached by string or fishing line.


Most air plants have strappy silver or green leaves that are formed in a rosette or round shape. Those with silver or “fuzzy” leaves occur naturally in sunny dry climates. Specimens with darker smooth glossy leaves are found in shadier situations with more rainfall, thus requiring more frequent watering. Your air plant will reward you with a stunning flower, from most commonly a palette of pink, purple and red. During or after flowering your air plant will produce on average between two and six “pups”. Sadly, your original plant will slowly die and be replaced by these growing young babies. They can be detached from the original plant when around 1/3 the size with a sharp knife.


● WATERING – 3 ways to keep you air plant hydrated

● SPRAYING – Use a water sprayer to mist every day or two to replicate rainfall and create humidity.

● DUNKING – in the sink/fish tank or a bowl of water. Use this method for a quick refresh or for those with leaves that are hard to mist

● SOAKING – The easiest way to know that your air plant has had a good drink! Submerge for 1-3 hours once a week, or after a period of neglect.

In nature air plants will receive nutrients through water that has absorbed nutrients from bird/insect droppings. To replicate this fertilise use soluble orchid fertiliser diluted in your spray bottle every few months. Tillandsias require good AIR CIRCULATION. A fan or gentle breeze will help it dry off after being watered. They do not like to sit in water or be permanently damp. Avoid positions such as lidded terrariums or wet areas. If you are looking for a fuss free, easy going plant to share your home or office with. these little guys are a great choice.

happy gardening!

Better Homes and Gardens Magazine Feature

By |2019-06-24T21:39:56+10:00June 24th, 2019|Plants|

Better Homes and Gardens Magazine beautifully featured Ivy Alley.

“If you’re the sort of person who can’t throw out anything, then be encouraged by this northern Sydney garden with its hundreds of plants in a zany, crazy collection of containers. Ivy Alley takes recycling to an exciting and eclectic extreme. But don’t think hoarder – everything is for sale”

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