Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Artificial sphagnum moss

Members of the sphagnum moss family can hold large quantities of water inside their cells; some species can hold up to 20 times their dry weight in water.   Because of this ability, peat mosses are often used as a soil conditioner.

Sphagnum disperses its spores through the wind, but the tops of spore capsules are only about 1 cm above ground, and the wind is weak that height.   As the spherical spore capsule dries, the operculum or bud cap is forced off, followed by a cloud of spores.   High speed photography has shown that vortex rings (smoke rings are an example of these) are created during the discharge, which enable the spores to reach a height of 10 to 20 cm, further than would be expected by ballistics alone. 

I'm trying quite hard to think of an amusing link between recent posts with models and moss but I can't.   All I can do is show you images of fake moss with fake rocks.

Try performing a Google picture search for moss.   Is it just me, or does the collection of images induce a wonderful feeling of serenity.

Fake sphagnum moss 140mm diameter with artificial rocks
Real sphagnum moss

Artificial sphagnum moss

Monday, 9 April 2012

Pulhamite artificial rock

Artificial folly and rocks created by James Pulham.    Image from

Man made rock gardens have existed in Japan since the late 7th century.   The man made aspect of those gardens refers to the artfully placing of natural rock as opposed to the creation of artificial rock.

In Europe, archaeological evidence for early use of concrete is found from along the banks of the Danube River in Yugoslavia, where in approximately 5600 B.C. it was used to make floors for huts.   The earliest cultivated ornamental gardens were created by the Egyptians around 500BC and it is conceivable that early concrete will have been fashioned in to rock like shapes for decorative purposes.

The English landscaped garden style (as opposed to the formal, symmetrical style popular in the 17th century) became popular in the early 18th century.   Some gardens included the use of local stone, layered and positioned to form what appeared to be a naturally occurring feature.

While there were probably earlier, individual attempts to create landscapes using artificial rock, The Pulham family of Hertfordshire were one of the earliest to industrialise the product.   The Pulham family garden ornament business was set up by James Pulham I (1793-1838) and the firm was developed in turn by the eldest sons, all called James, in three successive generations. James Pulham I commenced his career with the Lockwoods, a family of builders in Woodbridge, Suffolk, manufacturing cements. Around 1806 James Pulham I created the architectural decorations for The Castle, a house built in Woodbridge for William Lockwood, and also built a grotto in its garden.

James Pulham II (1820–98) was quick to diversify, capitalising on the market for this new material. By the 1840s it was being used not only in the repair of buildings but as a building material. Pulham moved to Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire, in c1838, and shortly afterwards started work on his first artificial rock garden, for John Warner at Hoddesdon Hall.

The Pulhams went on to create large artificial rock landscapes at such locations as Buckingham Palace gardens; St.James’s Park, London; The V&A museum and Battersea Park.   These are just some of the London locations.   There are almost 200 Pulham gardens elsewhere in Britain and the rest of the world.

Close inspection of the artificial rocks nowadays reveal some deterioration as can be seen on this site: Michaels Bookshop.   There are companies that specialize in the restoration and repair of ‘Pulhamite’ rock such as  and

The images on the book shop site show detailed images and although the landscaping appears natural from a distance, closer inspection proves them to be man made.   Modern materials and technology allow craftsmen nowadays to create more lightweight and more natural looking rock and stone features.

Alan Bishop’s and Rockscapes’ services are for permanently installed features.   As a ‘lightweight’ version of the artificial rock industry:, we supply smaller portable rocks for landscaping use and we also hire rocks for stage, photographic and film use.   Although unconnected with the Pulham family, by coincidence we are a little over a mile from the Pulham site at Broxbourne and local roads feature the names of Pulham and Warner.

Rockscape created with fake rock panels
and lightweight artificial rocks.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

The big picture(s)

More images from Michelle George featuring swimwear by and rockscape by

Sunday, 1 April 2012

National Cleavage Day and

Even though this blog entry is dated 1st April, there really is a National Cleavage Day.  Sponsored by Wonderbra, Samantha Paterson, who is the brand manager, said that the day is intended to be lighthearted amusement. She also kindly mentioned that the gross revenue will be donated to charity.   Read more here:

There is no mention of National Cleavage Day on the wonderfully named website, a site dedicated to the supply of cleavage-enhancing bras and swimwear.   I mention this site on my blog as Maxcleavage hired a number of our artificial rocks for a photo shoot for their new bikini range.   The images were taken in a studio but the deft hand of Michelle George the photographer and make-up artist created images that appear to be taken on location.

Hire the rocks here:

...and buy the bras here: