Peach Pals learn about hypertufa

Peach Pals hosted its first class of 2018 at the Extension office on Sept. 11 and learned about hypertufa in the process.

Sondra Henley helped lead the group, as a master gardener and someone that has become familiar with hypertufa over the years.

“Hypertufa is a cement mixture that is part peat moss, part vermiculite or perlite and Portland cement,” Henley said. “When it dries and cures it’s not as heavy as a 100 percent cement piece would be.”

Each of the ingredients is necessary and plays a role in plant growth.

“The vermiculite holds the water, and the peat moss feeds whatever plants you have in there,” Henley said. “As the piece ages, the vermiculite and peat moss fall off and you get this pitted piece of cement that looks older and sometimes moss will grow on it. It’s the type of thing that you’ll want to keep outside.”

The class was designed as an introduction to the hypertufa process for the 11 children that took part. They made smaller pots, which Henley said would be perfect for succulent plants.

Once the hypertufa mixture dries, the children will have the opportunity to design their pots and make it their own. (Photo by Anthony Richards)

“It’s definitely a word [hypertufa] they won’t forget,” Henley said.

Henley searched for ways to make the class more conducive for children, which included mixing the hypertufa in plastic bags, because the cement is caustic and can burn if it touches skin.

Several precautions were taken to make sure that the class remained the informative and interactive exercise that it was designed to be.

Once the projects dry, the children will be able to use their creativity to put on the final touches.

“They can paint them, sand them, hammer on them,” Henley said. “They can do whatever they want to have that finished look and make it they’re own.”

Henley has been a master gardener since 2006 and also loves crafts. When she heard about hypertufa, she saw it as a way to combine two of her passions and was immediately interested.

She offers several hypertufa classes a year in her garage for those interested in learning more about it.

“It’s not everybody’s cup of tea, but I’m sure some of the girls will remember it as they get older and maybe be a hypertufa queen (one day),” Henley said.

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