Cool and green describe the new Moss Green Roof at The North Carolina Arboretum located in Asheville, NC. It reflects the value of mosses in achieving year-round green beauty as well as exemplifying the tolerance of mosses that live in full sun exposure. Yes, SUN not shade mosses are featured in this innovative and creative expression of the WNC mountain landscape. In addition, rainwater harvesting is incorporated into a misting irrigation system to keep these mosses lush.
Green roofs offer many environmental advantages in reducing the heat index of a building and providing solutions in terms of stormwater run-off in urban areas. For most green roofs, sedums are usually the plants of choice. However, since mosses already grow on roofs in our mountain region, it makes sense to intentionally choose indigenous bryophytes (mosses) as a horticultural preference in creating this demonstration green roof on the garden shed located just outside the Baker Education Center at the NC Arboretum.
Utilizing bryophytes (mosses) that like direct sun exposure (Polytrichum, Climacium, Entodon, Hedwigia, Atrichum, Leucobryum, Ceratodon and Ditrichum), Mountain Moss has transformed a glaringly bright tin roof into a verdant expanse of moss art. With various shades of green and textures, the mosses will provide additional delight with brilliant reds, golds and bronzes when in sporophytic reproductive stages. When other garden plants are dormant or dead, the mosses will keep on giving joy, even in winter months.
Planted in 2012 during the summer heat wave while temperatures were in the high 90s, the Moss Green Roof has already been subjected to the stresses of extreme weather conditions. Yet, despite extreme heat, torrential thunderstorms, high winds, and hail, the mosses are in tact and adjusting to their new abode. With botanical characteristics that enable mosses to tolerate all types of extremes, these miniature plants are hardy. In the winter when temperatures drop below freezing, the mosses will not only survive… but grow!
Another aspect of the green appeal of mosses is that these non-vascular plants provide solutions to environmental issues such as stormwater run-off, water filtration and erosion control. Since mosses don’t require any pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers, there will be no groundwater contamination. To learn more about landscaping options featuring mosses, visit www.mountainmoss.com. If you’d like to see the entire production process of creating this SUN MOSS GREEN ROOF, check out these photographs that document the entire process: https://picasaweb.google.com/118327841512493525469/MountainMossNCArboretumMossGreenRoofJune2012
Annie Martin, known as Mossin’ Annie (that’s me up on the roof working) an environmental moss artist/landscaper and owner of Mountain Moss in Pisgah Forest, has spearheaded this moss green roof project. Other Transylvanians involved in the production of the green roof included Joe Bruneau, 7 Arts Coop Gallery Director, and Eric Stephenson, owner of Rite Angle Builders. With minimal structural modifications necessary to prepare the roof, the team has used EnkaDrain (produced by Colbond in Enka) as the primary substrate for planting. Kevin McRae of K2 Irrigation in Asheville, has connected the existing rain water cistern into a misting system for the mosses on the garden shed roof. Supplemental watering is a key factor in long-term success of any moss feature.
In keeping with the mission of The NC Arboretum to cultivate connections between people and plants through creative expressions of landscape stewardship, this moss green roof project promotes conservation and education through this groundbreaking garden demonstration. Funded by The North Carolina Arboretum Foundation Society, this MOSS GREEN ROOF, located in full sun, could very well be a FIRST in the Green Roof industry in America. It certainly is a moss milestone for me!
Be Cool and Go Green With Moss!