Sunday, July 31, 2011


 Susan found a broccoli leaf in the garden and we cast it along with our other projects. The detail captured in concrete is amazing.  Susan plans to use this cast leaf as a serving platter for olives and cheese!  We will have a variety of these available at our Holiday Retail Event, Here Comes Santa Claus, coming in November.

 Kara and Bruce took the studio together but created separate projects.  Both proved to be very able craftspeople and turned out some really nice stepping stones, water basins and planters.

 Jessie and Susan add the finishing touches on their sculpted Grot heads.   "Grot" is a Danish term for a gnome and gardeners in Denmark love to bury them so they appear to be emerging from the earth.  The gnome is a symbol of good fortune and boy do we need some good fortune to make it through this terrible heat wave!

 Freshly made stepping stones.

Thursday, July 28, 2011


Your garden pathway visually and functionally directs viewers through your garden.  Adding plant interest here and there along the way helps to integrate the pathway hardscape with the plants in the garden. If you have an area in your garden that has a path or sitting area that is comprised of stone, brick or some other material that is not held in place with mortar, you can leave gaps between your paving material in which to have low-growing groundcovers.  Most of the plants you will use should be creepers that spread easily. These low-growing plants work equally well in “stones with holes”, stepping-stones with an interior space made specifically for this purpose. 

 Johnny Jump-Ups

Here are some good pathway plants for our growing area.
Sweet Alyssum  Lobularia  maritima
Moss Rose  Portulaca grandiflora
All Thymes, especially Creeping and Common
Johnny Jump Ups  Viola  cornuta
Star Cushion  Dianthus gratianopolitanus
Low-Growing Sedums
Creeping Speedwell   Veronica repens
Creeping Jenny  Lysimachia nummularia
Chocolate Chip Bugleweed  Ajuga reptans
Pennyroyal  Hedeoma pulegoides
Black Mondo Grass  Ophiopogon planiscapus Nigrescens

Dichondra micrantha.

My favorite for planting in and among walkways is Dichondra micrantha. You may even have one of its trailing cousins, Dichondra Emerald or Silver Falls, growing in one of your container plantings. Dichondra is a warm season ground cover that grows close to the ground. It has broad, almost circular leaves and when clipped low establishes a thick dense carpet. Originally a weed, it is now used in many ground cover situations where normal grasses may not do as well. It has a bright green color with a cushiony feel underfoot.  It takes foot traffic better than most of the “stepable” types of plants. The tiny lily pad-shaped leaves are as exquisite to look at, as they are easy to care for. Happy in sun or part shade, this plant reaches just 1 to 2 inches high, remaining neat all year. It spreads readily, with one pound of seed covering 1,000 square feet. The foliage ranges from 1/4- to 1 1/2-inch across, with larger leaves serving as a base for smaller and new foliage. In our area Dichondra is an annual though in warmer areas it performs as a perennial.  This is not an issue as it is easily started from seed.
Here's a good source for seed:

1.  Park Seed Company    

Dichondra micrantha.

Sunday, July 17, 2011


Now Hiring Studio Apprentices!
Know any 13 or 14- year olds looking for a cool job?  We are currently looking for a guy and a girl to begin as studio assistant apprentices to replace our out-going seniors this summer.  Email Steve with contacts:

Saturday, July 16, 2011


Hypertufa Studios

The Hypertufa Studio offers a collaborative experience where you learn to make Steve’s “green” version of HYPERTUFA, a mixture of cement and other earth-friendly materials. It is a fascinating medium with great creative potential. You will mix, mold and sculpt concrete and hypertufa into unique and functional garden art including planters, platters, bird baths, stepping stones…if you can imagine it, we’ll try to make it! Most participants happily take home 4-5 finished items from the two-day session. Each is made up of a Saturday and Sunday morning from 9:00-12:00. Cost for this studio is $75.00 with a $50.00 non-refundable registration.

July 30/31

August 6/7
August 27/28
September 3/4
September 10/11
September 24/25

Advanced Hypertufa Studios

The Advanced Hypertufa Studio offers a collaborative experience providing experienced HYPERTUFA makers the opportunity to create special projects of their own or involving advanced techniques building upon knowledge acquired in the Hypertufa Studio. This may include multiple planters coordinated by design, unique water features, garden sculpture and furniture, both functional and aesthetic. Output depends on individual concepts and rate of working. Each session is made up of a Saturday and Sunday morning from 9:00-12:00.Cost for this studio is $75.00 with a $50.00 non-refundable registration Additional costs may result due to special materials or equipment required for specific individual projects.
August 13/14

Hypertufa Lite

Hypertufa Lite offers the chance to get a taste of the process in just one session. You will learn to mix Steve’s “green” hypertufa , make a mold and cast a planter to take home, all in the same three hour session on a Tuesday or Thursday evening. Cost for Hypertufa Lite is $65.00 per session with a $25.00 non-refundable registration.

7:00-10:00 pm Tuesday or Thursday Evenings
Thursday, July 7/21
Tuesday, August 8/16
Thursday, September 9/15

Register and secure your spot in the Creative Workshops
and Studios by sending the registration fee to:
Steve Hess
8601 Barkley Street
Overland Park, KS 66212


Handmade Paper Studio

The Handmade Paper Studio provides the opportunity to explore the art and craft of handmade papermaking using natural elements from the garden and recycled materials. It’s fun to experiment in the creation of beautiful papers and to use them and paper pulp to make bowls, cast ornaments, books and paper mache items. You will not only learn how to make handmade paper, but will also learn to make plaster molds for casting paper pulp. Most participants happily take home 4-5 finished items from the two-day session. Each is made up of a Saturday and Sunday morning from 9:00-12:00. Cost for this studio is $75.00 with a $50.00 non-refundable registration.
August 20/21
September 17/18

Register and secure your spot in the Handmade Paper Studios by sending the registration fee to:
Steve Hess
8601 Barkley Street
Overland Park, KS 66212

Sunday, July 10, 2011


 Really nice stepping stones this time and not one "cowpie"  A "cowpie" is our clever term for a pile of cement with a bunch of glass stuck in it!

 Stephanie created a unique stone using canning lids.   This photo reminds me of the type that made the newspaper during fair days in Wisconsin.  Homey and newsy, they usually depicted the aproned house wife showing her prize blue ribbon jam.   In 2011, Stephaine's chucked the apron and buys her jam at the grocery store or From the Summer's Garden.  She's into making cool things to complement her garden.
 Nancy makes her stone "footable", safe to walk on with a barefoot.  She's usung a brick to smooth the sharp edges.

 Phyllis is an accomplished artist and discovered new ways to use her mosaic skills.  Here she cleans up her sculpted sleeping cat stone.

 Brenda arranged interesting leaves with deep veining on a sand hump mold. Then applied a layer of thick concrete to capture the leaf texture for her leaf platter.

 Here's proof that I actually do help mix up the tufa.  Usually studio participants are shown doing this hearty task.  

Tired, hot, but happy too!  Even though the extra warm weather can be uncomfortable, it is perfect HYPERTUFA-making weather.