March 10, 2013

A little garden work

Going static grass crazy. I also added sedum bushes to fill in the underground on the edge of the tree line.
This weekend gave us a little hint that spring might be on the way.  I helped AW do some yard chores including harvesting sedum and miniature crepe myrtle shrubs for use as scenery on the layout. 

Shoe box full of sedum
We had one large sedum plant that made many, many seed clusters. Unfortunately, AW accidentally discarded half of the total in the compost pile. But I was able to get enough flower clusters to fill two shoe boxes.

The sedum flower clusters have an incredible amount of fine textured branches terminating in the seed pods. You must remove the seed pods by gently rubbing them with your fingers. If the plants are dry, most of the seed pods easily fall off. Some of the branch texture invariably also falls off too, but usually there is enough left if you are careful to make decent O scale shrubs.

You can not use the flower clusters as finished trees as they have a flattened shape that resembles trees on the African savannah. But the individual twigs make great shrubs. I used one shoebox-worth to detail the area between Accokeek and Potomac Creeks.
The seed pods can also be used as leaf litter. I screen them in a strainer to remove the twigs. Them I put the seed pods in a blender to grind them finer.

We had less luck with the miniature crepe myrtles this year. They have gotten bigger and as a result, the twigs are too leggy. They no longer have the branch structure to make good O Scale armatures. I was able to use a few of them in the tree line.

Since the sedum were nicely dried out, I decided to try out them on the layout. While I was at it I added some Silfor Goldenrod plants along side the sedum bushes in select spots. I put the goldenrod in foreground locations so they would be obvious.

Static grass and goldenrod help detail the paddock near the mill.

Conductor Bisgeier admires the goldenrod plants

The area in the notch in the fence by the mill was a good spot for a dense thicket of sedum shrubs.

Finally I added static grass to several locations. Since my layout represents early April 1863, some of the grass would be starting to green up.

This kind of scenery work is my absolute favorite part of model railroading. It really makes the layout come to life. The new static  grass and Silfor products combined with natural materials can really be effective.

Goldenrod and sedum detail the slope around the culvert. The dry sedum is fragile so placing it in
foreground locations can be trouble.

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