Aesthetic Approaches

The magical world of mosses, with its myriad of textures, shapes and shades of green, touches each of us with its beauty. Mosses bring a smile to our hearts and delight to our spirits. The ambiance of moss gardens is renowned. The appeal of verdant green mosses is not new to gardeners, at least in Japan, where the magnificent moss gardens of the Kyoto temples have attracted pilgrims for 5000 years.

The subtleties and nuances of various mosses enhance any landscape whether featured in a Japanese Tea Garden or integrated into native restoration project here in America. Whether you desire expansive carpets of green mosses or want to emphasize variations in bryophyte types in unique pocket gardens, mosses create an extraordinary place of calm and relaxation.


Mosses offer year-round green with incredible hints of brilliant reds, bronzes and golds that occur at various times of the year. Even in the winter, mosses will offer their range of greens… that is, unless covered in snow. So, while snuggled warm in your house, enjoy the brilliant green of a moss focal feature that can be viewed from interior vantage points.

 

Spirits soar in moss gardens.

Veils of serenity encompass our souls when we take the time to reflect surrounded by mosses. Connecting with these intricate and delicate plants allows us to expand our own understanding of self. The aesthetic appeal of ancient mosses reaffirms our spiritual connection with our planet.

13 Responses to “Aesthetic Approaches”

  1. 1
    Sharon

    I have a 30 gallon fish tank that I want to create a woodland environment using moss and other plants. Can you suggest different moss that would work in an enclosed area? I would appreciate any ideas.

    Thanks, Sharon Ramsey

  2. 2

    Hey Sharon… You have many choices of mosses that will thrive in your aquarium/terrarium. Group those types that prefer similar conditions such as shade/acidic soil in the same container or vice versa for sun/alkaline soils. Consider the other vascular plants that you plan incorporating and their needs, then choose mosses with similar needs. Frankly, I’ve had luck with most of the types offered at our Moss Shop. Occasionally, the Leucobryum (pincushion) mosses get too much moisture exhibiting signs of deterioration or mold.

    I might suggest using the following types which will tolerate a range of shade/sun exposures and various soil pH levels. Climacium could function in your enclosed landscape as little trees. Thuidium and Hypnum mosses, which have the appearance of a carpet of tiny ferns, will thrive. Mnium types provide groundcover as well. Dicranum offers deep green mounds for additional texture. I can’t resist using Leucobryum pincushions for their contrasting light-medium green appeal and distinct round shapes. These types require very little soil substrate (1/2-1″) and may attach to rocks or forest “driftwood” features in time. In contrast, if you use Polytrichum, it will require a deeper depth of soil (1-4″). Best of all, the Polytrichum (haircap) mosses offer the most impressive of all the sporophytes reaching heights of 4″ in an array of changing colors.

    If you desire keeping a really moist environment, then Bryoandersonia, Bartramia and Sphagnum mosses will enjoy “wet” feet. Thuidium and Hypnum will thrive and grow in this moisture but not soggy conditions. Also, you might consider moss cousins — liverworts — such as Marchantia, Bazzania, Concephulum, or Trichocolea.

    Initially, water/mist your aquarium/terrarium plants thoroughly. Place near a window for morning or afternoon sun. If the container is enclosed, only occasional misting should be required. Observe your terrarium and when it stops creating its own moisture beads, it’s time to give it a drink… or squirt. If the container is open, daily misting could be required.

    Good luck and enjoy your miniature world… mosses always enhance woodland environments… whether in a container or in an outdoor landscape. Go Green With Moss! Mossin’ Annie

  3. 3
    Angie

    Hi Annie,
    I built a stone labyrinth in my yard, beneath a couple of black walnut trees. The area is quite shady. I’d like to get moss started in the paths. Is it okay to walk on it?

  4. 4

    Hey Angie,
    Water and WALK on your mosses is my moss mantra. Walking on mosses helps to establish the rhizoid connection. Recently a visiting professor commented on her observations during a field experiment. The research team was delighted to see the positive impact of walking on moss plant fragments and the corresponding growth. It was re-affirming to have this method confirmed by the scientific community.

    Don’t wear athletic shoes or hiking boots with treads. Flat-soled shoes, flip flops or bare feet are recommended for this function. If you want to encourage mosses, clear the area of leaf litter and debris. You can spread fragments throughout the area as your “seeding” process. If there is adequate daily rainfall or if you supplement watering, the mosses will grow in faster. AND,,, WALK on them when moist.

    Although walking can be good, too much foot traffic could deter growth. Moderate foot traffic is fine but large groups walking in the area on a regular basis might harm mosses. Mosses would not be a good choice for a heavily-traveled path, basketball court or dog run.

    Speaking of dogs, I allow my dog to enjoy my moss garden. She finds the softness and coolness of the mosses refreshing. She picks out various spots as her lookout posts. She’s proud to have the BEST DOG BED in town. When she sometimes chases a squirrel and dislodges a colony, I just fix it back or let the fragments spread to a new location. She likes to hang out in my moss garden.

    Good luck to you. Mosses lining your labyrinth path is a great idea.
    Go Green With Moss!
    Mossin’ Annie

  5. 5
    Shailee

    Dear Annie,

    I write to you from Pune, India and was wondering if moss would grow sustainably in a tropical country like mine. During the monsoon which lasts from June to September one can see moss everywhere and then by October it has vanished. In the summers the temperatures go all the way upto 44 degress celsius. So does moss not survive in excess sunlight or is it the heat?
    Also could you tell me what kind of maintenance would be required if I plant a bed of moss on my terrace?

    Thanks
    Shailee

  6. 6

    Greetings Shailee in INDIA,
    Mosses and their bryophyte cousins, liverworts, live all around the world — roughly 10,000+ mosses and 8,000+ liverworts. There are only about 100 hornworts found anywhere. I am so happy to report that I found a hornwort in my own moss garden/lawn in North Carolina USA– Anthoceros laevis ssp. carolinianus.

    As you’ve observed in India, mosses thrive in the rainy season when they receive consistent hydration. Obviously, they must move into a dormant stage during the HOT temperatures and DRY times of your seasons… or they wouldn’t reappear when it does rain. It is testament to their ability to endure extremes in temperatures and humidity levels… amazingly stress tolerant plants.

    My moss gardening philosophy for success — provide supplemental watering and the mosses will continue to live in the other seasons as well. If you decided to plant mosses, start a watering regime of BRIEF yet frequent sessions. You may need to experiment with the length and frequency of the supplemental watering sessions. Basic guideline — if mosses are moist to the touch when it’s time to water again… extend the time between waterings. I provide overhead watering 3 times a day for sessions that last between 1-5 minutes each. When it rains, I suspend the watering sessions by delaying the sessions until the next dry day. Many mosses are sun-tolerant. It’s the DRY not the SUN that impacts the lush green appearance and growth.

    Please keep me informed of your progress. I invite you to join my Facebook group, Go Green With Moss, where you can post photos and participate in discussions. Thanks for contacting me. Good luck as you embrace the joys of moss gardening.
    Mossin’ Annie

    With all this said, I’m not sure which bryophyte types already live in India. It i

  7. 7
    sumit Gaikwad

    Hi,

    I stay in pune. I want to purchase live plants and moss for my aquarium
    Can you please tell me the prices for the same. And shops where I can get live plants and moss in discounted rates.
    Your help will be appreciated
    You may send me an email at sumit.gaikwad@hp.com

  8. 8

    Hey Sumit,
    International exports of live plants require USDA inspections and certification of each shipment. It is a laborious and time consuming process with associated fees. Unless you want to order large quantities or have a big budget, it probably wouldn’t be cost effective. I doubt you’ll find discount prices. Good luck in your search.
    Mossin’ Annie

  9. 9

    Hello, I check your blogs daily. Your writing style is awesome,
    keep up the good work!

  10. 10

    THANKS, Ceramic Flat Iron, for the kind comment. I’m in process of upgrades to my Web site. Look for more blog posts soon. Also, I’m writing a book on moss gardening so that I can share my expertise with others. Lots of practical answers to confounding issues encountered when growing mosses will be addressed. Keep on mossin’!!! Mossin’ Annie

  11. 11

    Greetings, There’s no doubt that your website may be having internet browser
    compatibility issues. Whenever I take a look at your website in Safari, it
    looks fine however, if opening in Internet
    Explorer, it’s got some overlapping issues. I just wanted to provide you with a
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  12. 12

    Hey Christopher… Thanks for your feedback. I didn’t realize this compatibility issue was happening. I’ll have my Webmaster address this issue next week. I appreciate you taking time to let me know. Tried to email you back but it was undeliverable to your address.
    Have a good Sunday afternoon.
    Go Green With Mosses!
    Mossin’ Annie

  13. 13

    Great post.


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