Rhubarb leaf birdbath
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.
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