Rhubarb leaf bird­bath

Canadian Gardening Annual 2016 - - Excerpt -

ma­te­ri­als

Large rhubarb leaf Rub­ber gloves, pro­tec­tive glasses and a mask Re­pair con­crete Large bucket or wheel­bar­row Wa­ter source (hose or wa­ter­ing can) Old trowel Plas­tic drop cloth Cook­ing spray or veg­etable oil Stiff bris­tle brush Chisel and ham­mer (op­tional)

note: Choose a light­weight con­crete mix (less gravel) for a smoother fin­ished prod­uct; choose a heav­ier-weight con­crete mix (more gravel) if it will be in high-traf­fic ar­eas. The best prod­uct for small dec­o­ra­tive projects is re­pair con­crete, which has no large pieces of gravel in it.

in­struc­tions

1. BE­GIN BY CUT­TING a large rhubarb leaf off the stem. Choose a firm leaf with a strong shape. 2. WEAR­ING PRO­TEC­TIVE GLOVES, glasses and a mask, mix the con­crete ac­cord­ing to the man­u­fac­turer’s in­struc­tions. You will want a large bucket to mix a whole bag at once. An old wheel­bar­row is ideal as the height makes mix­ing a bit eas­ier. Add the con­crete to the bucket first, then pour the rec­om­mended mea­sure of wa­ter into the cen­tre. Stir thor­oughly and use im­me­di­ately. Add more dry mix if it is too runny. 3. BUILD A FIRM MOUND in the soil in the shape that you want your bird­bath to take. Lay the plas­tic drop cloth over the mound and place the leaf, vein-side up, on the mound. Thor­oughly spray the back of the leaf with cook­ing spray or brush with oil. 4. PILE THE CON­CRETE onto the leaf and pat it all around to com­press the con­crete and re­move air bub­bles. Spread the con­crete to half an inch from the edge of the leaf and gen­tly round the ex­tra half an inch of leaf over the edge of the con­crete. This will give the edge a more re­fined look. 5. WRAP THE CON­CRETE in the plas­tic and al­low it to dry for 12 hours if the out­side tem­per­a­ture is hot and dry, or 24 hours if it’s more hu­mid. 6. GEN­TLY PEEL off the leaf be­fore the con­crete is set, be­ing mind­ful that it can eas­ily break or crack at this stage. Gen­er­ally it would be prefer­able to wait un­til the con­crete is com­pletely dry to un­mould it, but for this project you are try­ing to avoid the pos­si­bil­ity of leav­ing too much plant ma­te­rial be­hind in the crevices. 7. AL­LOW THE CON­CRETE to cure com­pletely ac­cord­ing to the pack­age in­struc­tions, then use the stiff bris­tle brush to scrub off any re­main­ing plant ma­te­rial. You may use a chisel and ham­mer to re­move any con­crete that has es­caped the con­fines of the leaf, leav­ing a fin­ished but still nat­u­ral shape to the bird­bath. 8. SET THE BIRD­BATH up­right in the gar­den, on a raised wooden stump or atop some over­turned clay pots.

Cast in con­crete, rhubarb

leaves will live for­ever and sup­ply gar­den birds

with a wa­ter­ing hole.

Spread the con­crete to just half an inch from

the edge of the leaf. step 4

step 3

step 3

step 6

step 7

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