Dear Moss Diary,
Today, May 20, 2010 was a FULL day of mossin’ fun culminating in a major creative flow. First, I joined other Transylvania Master Gardeners for maintenance work on the rain gardens at the library. We dead-headed lots of Black-eyed Susans. However, the only bryophytes present in the garden are the ones that have migrated by themselves. For some reason, even rain garden designers have not yet considered the value of mosses with other moisture-loving plants.
Off to a site consultation, I offered ideas on which mosses will work best in this formal garden. The addition of year-round green mosses will enhance this space and provide enjoyment throughout all seasons, especially when all the perennial flowers die back in the winter. The homeowner understands our spiritual connection to nature and her own delight was obvious as she proudly “showed off” her garden landscape. I left with a resurgence of creative energy as I began formulating my design plan in my head.
Since this new project will require a variety of moss types, I went in search of appropriate ones. My first stop was the local recycling/trash center. I’d gotten permission earlier to retrieve mosses growing behind the dumpsters. The guys working there are supportive of my moss passion and gently tease me about my obsession. The various Bryums retrieved will work well in the long crack in front of the door frame and in cracks of the paved sidewalk areas. They were dry and dusty but a good soak at home perked them back up. Obviously, sitting behind a dumpster in the hot sun, is not very romantic compared to harvesting/rescuing in a lush forest location. But, I go where I need to find the right moss plants for landscaping applications. These direct sun mosses need to be cultivated because they have great potential. I’ll include different Bryums and Ceratodon in my moss cultivation research project.
My next location offered a more serene environment. The birds chirped and the soft breeze caressed me as I scaled a steep bank to retrieve Ceratodon, Bryum, Ditrichum, Atrichum, Polytrichum and a bit of Leucobryum. This area has trees scheduled to be cut with mosses growing nearby subject to destruction. Many were in sporophytic stages. I saw a number of male cups in adjacent colonies. In my solitude, Gucci, my dog, runs around in a frenzy, occasionally checking back in with me as I trudge along with my moss sled in tow.
By the time I returned home, my creative juices compelled me to start transforming some ugly stumps and branches into my magical moss creations. They are magical for me, at least. I carefully choose the anchor flower or fern. Usually I use Downy Rattlesnake Plantain, Ebony Spleenwort ferns and Resurrection ferns. I made another magnificent piece to add to my Moss Pointelism series for an upcoming gallery exhibit at the Upstairs ArtSpace Gallery in Tryon, NC. Also, I made three moss fairy gifts for my friends who generously loaned me their EZ Up canopies for the Kenilworth Moss Garden Tour. I’ll have fun tomorrow delivering these “moss thank-you’s.”
As it starting getting dark, I decided to weed my moss fairy garden. Sun mosses require more weeding than other areas. And, those cute little weed flowers I let grow earlier needed to come out to showcase mosses once again. I staged magenta Impatiens at moss vignettes to plant later as my color accents this year.
My last communion with mosses was WATERING. Moss-as-art creations require frequent watering to maintain their beauty. In general, I advocate supplemental watering in moss landscapes and I have developed “an eye” for when mosses are thirsty. Also, it helps me wind down from an intense, yet invigorating, mossy day. Go Green With Moss!