Welcome, Summer! The weather in Buffalo has been absolutely beautiful! Everybody, including myself, is soaking up the sun as much as possible! I am getting a little behind on blog posts because now that summer is in full swing, our calendars are absolutely packed. That’s what happens in Western New York when summer comes– you use up every single minute of it!


Meanwhile, I have added a couple of new plants to my garden, but next week I plan on doing a little update on new plants I have purchased, and also the other stuff that’s been growing in my gardens. I have also learned a few things.

Speaking of learning a few things– after going to my parents house a few weeks ago, I saw this really neat bowl that my mother had made. I asked what it was and she said, “Hypertufa”. I said, “What?!”

Here we go. Hypertufa is a sandy/concrete like-mixture that you make with Portland cement*. It is much lighter and porous than your typical terracotta pot or just plain old concrete, so that’s what makes it so good for growing plants in. This history behind it is really interesting. Hypertufa was invented for use in alpine gardens. It can withstand temperatures that dip to -22 degrees farenheit (-30 degrees celsius).

*This is very important. This is what makes Hypertufa different from regular garden ornaments you make out of just a mixture of sand, cement mix and water. Yes, it really is confusing.

How to make Hypertufa

If you go online you will find many different recipes, but this seems to be the most used amounts that I found:

-Three parts Portland Cement                                                                                                 -Four parts Sphagnum moss                                                                                                   -Five parts Perlite                                                                                                                     -Water

You can add sand, pebbles, or other anything you think might give your hypertufa more structural integrity, or strength.

**Make sure to use gloves and mask when using the above ingredients. The cement dust can be dangerous if inhaled in large amounts. The mixture should have a cottage cheese consistency before you put it in the mold.

  • Get two plastic bowls/molds- one big and one small so that it fits in the bigger bowl.
  • Spray the big bowl with nonstick cooking spray.
  • Once you have created the mixture, place it in the bigger bowl and mold.
  • Place the smaller bowl inside the bigger bowl. Spray nonstick cooking spray on the outside of the smaller bowl before you do so. Fill in the molds appropriately, and use a mallet to try to remove any air bubbles.
  • Put your hypertufa in a plastic bag for 24-36 hours to cure.
  • Remove the plastic molds and set your hypertufa in a dry place to finish completely drying out for 2-3 weeks.

Once you get more experience with creating hypertufa, get creative. Start thinking outside the box with it.

This will be what your finished project will look like:


Photo: Colleen Dietrich

Hypertufa has endless possibilities. This is also a great Christmas gift idea. I plan on making a few of these! You can use anything! And your garden will thank you!

To Every Season, Urn, Urn…

As I have said before, Fall is one of my favorite times of the year. I love the sights, smells, everything. I have apple pie flavored coffee, and “crisp fall leaves” smelling wax melts in my candlewarmer. I have four totes in my crawl space full of fall decorations that I put up in my house Labor Day Weekend. It’s funny how when you move into a house, you all of a sudden love to buy decorations for every season. I buy too much! The core of my fall decorating will stay out until Christmas, but I will swap out Halloween decorations with Thanksgiving decorations when needed.

This also goes for my decorations on my front entryway. You don’t have to spend a fortune to make a nice entryway. My decor has changed over the years, as it naturally will, because your tastes change and you finally understand how to make things look nice and put together! I have to admit I am still working on this, but I’m finally understanding more as time goes on. Like everything, including my home, it’s a work in progress!

And all you need are a couple of planters. Or urns, like I have stated in the title. And you can get pretty much use anything. Back in the Spring, I really wanted a couple of urns to put out on our small porch. Well, urns are expensive. And trust me, I like to splurge, but I really didn’t feel I wanted to splurge on urns. I knew better. But, lo and behold, I found two black plastic urns for $11.98 each. Yay! What a bargain! And, they were just the right size for my small entryway. So, as Summer came, I planted a few annuals in it. But now that it’s Fall, I wanted to decorate accordingly, and will probably do it for the Winter, too.

This is what I decorated my urns with, maybe this will give you some ideas on how to decorate your planters!


I have put some gourds, which are very inexpensive, in the urn, along with some fake grasses that I purchased at a craft store. Mixing real plants with a few fake plants to fill in the holes will add nice textures, along with improving the aesthetics of the planter.

  • Find something you really like to put in your planter and make it the “star” of the decor. Everything else you choose should enhance the main interest in the planter.

As you can see, my “star” of my planter are the brown, fuzzy corn-dog looking things called Cattails. What are they? Cattails are a marsh and wetland plant that are really interesting looking. Since I live so close to the Erie Canal, my daughter and I went what I like to call “stroller off-roading” one beautiful September day on the canal path and snipped some off.

cattails cattails canal

They are very fuzzy, and when they mature, the seeds float off into the air. They look like little feathers from a down coat! I have used cattails in my fall decorations for the past couple of years. I actually rode my mountain bike many miles one year to find them! I’m always up for an adventure!

Even if you don’t have access to cattails, you can use ANYTHING– tree branches, corn stalks, hay bales, pumpkins (orange and white), and fall favorite plant, mums! Anything can be used, it’s all in what makes you happy!


This is what I continued to work on. I love white pumpkins, so I added them and my daughter’s regular pumpkin ready to be carved, along with a yellow mum, and a bowling ball… yes I will elaborate on using bowling balls as decoration in a Spring post!

Outdoor decorating can be made into anything you want it to be. It doesn’t have to take a lot of time or money either. It all depends on what is right for you and your home. So, sit back and enjoy the wonders of the Fall season. Winter will be here before you know it!