At the February 2012 club evening our President John Trott demonstrated a completely different and rather unique way to create a very convincing forest on a slab planting.
First we were shown how the base would be created. No stone, slate or resin is used. It is simple plastic. The donor base on this occasion came by way of a discarded bread type basket; one may see this type of basket broken and thrown away as rubbish.
The majority of the basket is redundant; the area required is the base. John set to work cutting out a shape he felt would be suitable to mount on a Suiban when all was completed. This first image shows clearly the base that is to be cut out from the old basket tray.
Continuing to cut out the shape the next step was to cut the support struts back at an angle. With just a few snips it was done and when complete this will give an impressive ‘rollover’ appearance to the finished slab.
Once the base had been prepared the next step is to layer it in builders type scrim. This is oft referred to as tape by plasterers. Sticky backed and on a roll simply layer it across the base. The intention so JT explained is so that the roots are stable and have plenty of grip, and that most importantly no soil falls out and the exchange of nutrients, air and water can all take place. Immediately below the Chinese grown small group is being prepared. Good to see JT doing what many have done over the years … to the root-base; saw it down to obtain a more suitable thickness. Your blade does however need to be sharp; and no, it won’t stay sharp once you do this.
With the tape in place the edge to the slab is being constructed using a mix of mud, dung and other essentials.
With the edge in place it is now time to place the prepared group onto the slab. JT pointed out that this should not be dead centre and should be offset for maximum impact.
For the finished article JT completed installation of group, put soil onto the rest and then covered the mound carefully with a selection of mosses he had previously collected. In time the roots will grow through the scrim and base and JT explained it would just be a simple case of snipping them back at a suitable time.
All in all the members were treated to some really excellent work from their President.