Moss is so lovely in moist, shady places in the garden and it is relatively easy to plant or transplant. Rocks and logs, near or on water features, gentle slopes, creek banks and between garden path stones are just a few examples of locations where moss can complete a look or solve a problem in the landscape of your property.
Moss plants can be purchased in nursery pots or flats or grown from “starts” gathered in the forest or in the gardens of friends and neighbors. Additionally, moss can be found in a surprising number of varieties and ordered from online
nurseries. Much of the moss ordered online will be shipped in its dormant state. Moss subjected to stress, such as drought or bright sunlight will go dormant for self-preservation. When ready to use, hydrate dormant (dry) moss by submerging in water for several minutes; just until moss is thoroughly drenched, then place in the shade location you wish it to grow and keep evenly damp until it is well established. Moss is ideal to plant in problem areas of where deep shade and poor drainage give the gardener few other planting choices. The soft, inviting texture of moss in its many forms will inspire you to create a special, shady place for relaxing on a hot summer day; slip off your flip-flops, your feet will love the treat!
Transplanting a “patch” or cutting from moss already growing in your garden or from neighboring woodland
areas to your desired shady location is perhaps the easiest way to start moss where you want it. Moss found locally will already be acclimated to your environment. However, there is a very real risk that you might also be transplanting “hitchhiker” plants and weed seeds along with your hand gathered moss.
To solve this problem I asked around and discovered a couple of secrets from a fellow landscaper which I will share with you. Using the simple recipe (below) you can spread moss as easily as frosting a cake. I will also divulge a little known technique for growing the “homemade” moss, on a medium that also controls weeds at the same time!
Although you can spread homemade moss mixture from the recipe (below) directly on any surface where conditions are correct for its growth) quite successfully, I prefer to use the following, simple technique as it is more reliable,
versatile and virtually no moss mixture is wasted:
Just a few of the many choices out of more than 1300 species of moss
you may be able grow in your garden landscape
Note: Landscape fabric is most commonly used to prevent weeds, particularly
under gravel or bark dust, in areas of high foot traffic or as edge stops for lawns
and garden beds. Due to its nature for blocking weeds from below it naturally
retains moisture well; lending itself as the perfect medium for growing moss.
After moss has firmly established* itself on the fabric, (Patience is required for this project to be successful), simply move the section of moss covered fabric to its final destination, secure if necessary and keep evenly moist. Soon you will have a shade garden with the look, feel and atmosphere of an inviting woodland or wetland. You will also have a virtually weed-free mossy area which is important because moss does not compete well with weeds for water supply, causing unsightly bare spots and rapid die off. Conversely, it is wise not to plant your new moss in places where its spread to surrounding areas is undesired or unwelcome... as under ideal conditions, moss can become somewhat invasive.
*Moss will begin to show signs of strong growth in 6-7 weeks and become
established enough to move to its new home in 3-4 months
These two photos are intended to inspire "moss" imagination
if using fresh moss gathered locally from your landscape or purchased from an
online or local nursery, Inspect the moss and remove and weeds and shake moss
briskly to remove small seeds leaves or other bits of debris that may have
fallen into the dense plant.
Frogs might agree that the soft, moist mounds of
moss are the best places they know of to croak!
Q: What do frogs do to moss?
A: "Rubbbbitt, Rubbbbitt" *Groan*
Well established moss growing on "mats" of landscape fabric are ideally suited to "Living Walls" and patchwork designs with pavers or other planted shapes. Doubtless, the possibilities are only limited by our imagination. From what I know of my new garden friends here on Garden Share,imagination is alive and well and I expect see original moss creations, and moss gardens in splendid photos from many of you in the future. I look forward to those pictures for joy of your shared experience as well as the new ideas I gleam from you.
The U.S Forest service reminds us to ask them for a "pass" given for a nominal fee to harvest certain products from national forests and BLM lands. Employees of the Forest Service struggle to protect endangered plant species, it is our responsibility to co-operate with them in every way to preserve rare and endangered plants, animals and all other living organisms and the forest products that sustain them.
I think I will go moss around in my garden now.