Meeting September 20 2012
The new season of the North Lancashire Branch of the Alpine Garden Society opened with a lecture by Dr. Steve Furness from Derbyshire entitled ‘Tufa’.
Steve is a professional botanist, photographer and author of many papers on the growing of alpine plants. His nursery in Derbyshire contains over 3,000 alpine plants and can be visited. He started the lecture by describing how tufa rock was formed as a sedimentary rock from Calcium Carbonate and showed images of the extensive deposits in the Matlock Bath area of Derbyshire. Steve considered tufa to be the perfect growing medium which is easy to work and fashion into crevices in which many alpines thrive. Tufa mimics natural crevice habitats and has the advantage of good drainage. He compared the differences between Welsh and Derbyshire tufas, the latter being the best. Mention was also made of Hypertufa and its advantages.
The lecture concluded by Steve exhibiting many images of alpine plants which do well in tufa, these included Sedums, Saxifrages, Gentians, Drabas and Sempervivums.