Almost everyone in the Netherlands have probably sedum growing nearby. It’s a very common autumn flowering perennial. I don’t know which one I found in my garden, but it looked good for making a model tree.
The idea is to gather the plants at the end of the season when they’re brown and the flowers are dead and let them dry for awhile. If you have a copy of the November, 2009 issue of Model Railroader magazine you can follow along on page 32.
When dry, sedum plants are brittle. To overcome this, you dip the selected cuttings in a mixture of white glue and water or matte medium and water. The proportions aren’t critical. You just want a drippy solution that will cover the stalks and flowers.
I mixed up the solution in a plastic container and dipped the “trees” into the mixture for 20 seconds or so. Then I hung the stalks upside down over a 5-gallon container to dry.
I do not combine the stems to make a larger tree, I just use them as they come. Find ones that have the look of the tree I want to make.
Trees aren’t all the same height or shape. You can mix them together. For some reason odd numbers of trees look more natural than an even number. Plant three in a grouping instead of two.
After the latex caulk had set up I took the trees for initial spraying. Tree trunks and limbs aren’t really brown. They usually have a lot of gray in the bark. You can add highlights of brown. I didn’t bother.
Putting leaves on your sedum trees
The next step was to make a thicker mixture of matte medium. I used a 50/50 mixture of white glue and water. I just filled my half-empty container up to the top with matte medium. I then dipped one tree at a time into the mixture and let the mixture drip off back into the container helped along with my paint brush.
While holding the tree upside down over a plastic lid, I sprinkled on various shades and textures of ground foam. Even some old dyed sawdust I had. My primary colours were fine turf green and a slightly coarser turf blend. I rotated the tree in every direction to get a good coating of leaves to cover all the flower pods.
I ended up with about two dozen sedum trees for a couple of hours of work spread over a week. This is an inexpensive way to add a bunch of deciduous trees to your layout. It’s a nice change from the twine pine trees, bottle brush trees and puffball forests.