Monthly Archives: May 2011

苔と一緒に家で — At home with moss

Welcome to my home away from home.  Come, leave your cares at the steps; go west then north.  Tiny your size and imagine how clever I can be with moss as my muse.  Imagine, how savvy you will be, once mellowed by moss.

After our minds have synced, we can roll down the hill for the pleasure of doing so or just travel from moss to moss.  We can write poetry at Campylopus introflexus, doodle near Leucobryum glaucum, and perhaps share a kiss at Anomodon rostratus. If we have time, we can picnic under the western red cedar and pretend our day just began.  At the end of our time together, we can rest and reflect at Brachythecium rutabulum.

Leave your e-world at the foot of the blue dish.  It is not welcomed here.  Bring with you only your infancy — the  life before the world charged you.  You don’t know how?  You will, with the first step.  Let moss give you energy; let moss recharge you, preparing you for life’s re-entry.  It all starts with the first step.

David Spain’s inspiration for this moss dish began with a miniature aquarium decoration of a Japanese structure.  ”I wanted to design my

version of a fairy/miniature landscape using mosses.”

Using flakes of Tennessee flagstone, stacked and glued, with a gravel pathway of course sand, David ‘s design is sure to spur fantasies of your own.  Where does your imagination take you?

 

Order your Moss Rocks!  online today.  Moss is grand.  Moss is green.  Moss is good. Make the most of it; order Moss Rocks! today.

By: Helen Yoest
 

Follow Moss and Stone Gardens – Where Moss Rocks! on Twitter @Moss_Rocks and our Facebook Like page Moss and Stone Gardens – Where Moss Rocks!

To learn more about Moss and Stone Gardens – Where Moss Rocks!, please visit our website.  Or email David Spain at info@mossandstonegardens.com.

Unless otherwise noted, all photo are credited to Ken Gergle.

Making moss terrariums – or not…


When glass gathers moss , the glory is intensified. By night, glass glistens from the light of a firefly or the stars shining from above. Inside, glass glistens, too, as a reflection from candle light’s soft glow. By day, glass becomes a vessel, flattering all that resides, elevating the status of the moss garden below.

This covered dish, contains Asplenium platyneuron (ebony spleen wort), Dicranum scoparium, Leucobryum glaucum, Hypnym imponens, and Campylopus introflexus.

The dish appears to be very terrarium-esque, but mosses do not make ideal terrarium plants.

David Spain advises creating this type of covered dish garden for short durations, “To enjoy the beauty of the cloched moss garden for a brief period, like over a weekend or when friends come over for good conversation. When the moss dish garden is not on “show” remove the glass to better regulate the moisture content and air circulation.”

With a renewed popularity of terrariums, and the desire to be around mosses, many are using moss in their designs. The guidance below, may help your mosses thrive under terrarium conditions. For the best results, consider creating your terrarium like David did above; by day, uncovered, a lovely moss dish; by night, a glistening, globe of glass covering a garden.

KEEPING MOSSES IN A TERRARIUM
When we think of a terrarium, we envision a tiny rain forest-like environment, dripping with condensation, mimicking a constant rainfall. Many plants will tolerate this in a terrarium; however, mosses will not. Mosses need good drainage. In addition, mosses need air circulation.

As David explained, “Closed terrariums are a problem for mosses because they trap too much humidity and the lack of air circulation is a breeding ground for mildew.”

Not all mildew is a problem, just the ones that feed on the mosses and have a mold-like appearance. According to David, “Grey to black and powdery types of fungi, spell trouble in a closed container.”

“It would be nice if we could put some moss in a sealed container and have a complete self-sustaining ecosystem, never to be touched again, but this isn’t the case,” says David. “Opening the container to allow for evaporation is how you adjust the humidity level and it also allows for an exchange of gasses. Even when humidity levels are correct, lifting the lid for gas exchange is periodically needed.”

If you want to keep mosses alive and healthy in a terrarium, special care must be taken to achieve the proper level of humidity — one that is moist enough to hydrate moss but not so moist for mildew to thrive. If large droplets form on the inside of the glass, then it’s too wet. The optimal amount of condensate would have the glass looking slightly hazy or with no condensation present, at all.

As with any type of planting arrangement, group plants with similar needs together. This becomes a problem for mosses when trying to pair with vascular plants. “Vascular plants need water in the substrate to survive, but this amount of moisture will overwhelm the moss and create heavy condensation,” says David. “A solution is using plants that will tolerate low levels of light and moisture.”

To help mosses and vascular plants co-exist, David recommends, “Periodically, removing the lid, watering the vascular plants, and then replacing the lid a day or two later.  Once the lid is returned, check for condensation; keep this venting/sealing process going until you achieve the right balance.”

“This may seem like a lot more maintenance than a terrarium is supposed to receive, however, the truth is, few terrariums are carefree in the long run and mosses are not ideal inhabitants,” says David

Mosses need drainage and won’t tolerate sitting in wet soil. When making a moss dish, providing drainage is important. Without proper drainage, you can’t leave the terrarium outdoors where it will fill with rain water. When this happens, you’ll have to tip to drain.

With drainage, there is no fear of leaving the terrarium outdoors for a rain respite; something mosses appreciate. However many glass containers, such as those used in terrariums, are difficult to drill.

For non-draining containers, activated charcoal, properly rinsed and drained and mixed with gravel to absorbs accumulated pollutants, is necessary.

Be sure to supply bright indirect light. Keep the humidity level as low as possible and ventilate often.

There are opened top or vented containers that make the humidity balanced and gas exchange easier and there are plants that welcome these conditions, as well.

“Many of us desire to have our flora cohabiting with us indoors and mosses are no exception. Creating a proper environment can be a challenge, but control of a terrarium is one way, says David”

As a side note, this cloche and dish were not a set.  The cloche and dish were purchased separately, then paired up.  You may be surprised how easy it is to find cloches to fit over a dish, creating the perfect cozy for your moss garden.

From my perspective, I like the compromise of occasionally doming the moss dish with a glass cloche for times when I want to show off, errr, I mean show case, then removing the glass during off hours. This way, I have all the drama a terrarium provides, but with little maintenance and worry wondering if my mosses will thrive.

 

David’s recommended picks to use in terrariums or indoor containers.

Campylopus introflexus
Climacium americanum
Dicranum scoparium
Hypnum imponens
Thuidium delecatulum

 

Order your Moss Rocks!  online today.  Moss is grand.  Moss is green.  Moss is good. Make the most of it; order Moss Rocks! today.

By: Helen Yoest
 

Follow Moss and Stone Gardens – Where Moss Rocks! on Twitter @Moss_Rocks and our Facebook Like page Moss and Stone Gardens – Where Moss Rocks!

To learn more about Moss and Stone Gardens – Where Moss Rocks!, please visit our website.  Or email David Spain at info@mossandstonegardens.com.

Unless otherwise noted, all photo are credited to Ken Gergle.

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Country Gardens Magazine photo shoot of moss dish gardens


To be fair, I should have warned Country Gardens Magazine’s photographers about moss.  To our readers as well, moss be warned.   Having touched on the side-effects of moss in an earlier post, I now think it’s of the utmost importance to spell it out — moss gardens will seduce you.  Once seduced, the side-effects are too individualized to generalize.  I can only share with you my observations during a recent photo shoot at The Moss Farm.

With 2 days of photoshoots scheduled, Country Gardens Magazine’s Marty Baldwin and
his assistant Bekah Garrison arrived with a clear understanding of the tasks at hand.  What they didn’t count on were the side-effects moss would have on them.

Side-effects are difficult to predict.  Each person must deal with their own inner feelings at their own rate and pace.  Plus, the ability to resist temptation is subjective.  You know your own weaknesses.  Just know, moss melts muscle.  Even the strongest are unable to temper their inner quiet.

First time visitors to a moss garden will need to work out their own inner moss manners.

Owners of Moss and Stone Gardens,David Spain and Ken Gergle, have long learned how to work with moss in a professional manner, keeping moss seduction under control. To an extent anyway.  Both David and Ken will share with you that this is neither easy nor completely controllable.  They do the best they can.

Like most people seeing a moss garden for the first time, Marty and Bekah, trod lightly on the moss.  They didn’t need too, of course, but moss will do that to you.

Marty — strong, silent, stoic — was the first to step in.  I could feel his energy heighten to a red alert resisting the temptation to roll on the moss like a little puppy.  It appeared Marty was resisting temptation and I wanted to know how.  I didn’t ask though, it would be too personal of a question.  Later I realized he didn’t resist.  He merely acted like he did.  When I reviewed the photos he was supposed to take for the feature, I realized he photographed beyond the photo order.  I called him on it.  “So Marty, what are these shots.  Are you scouting this garden?  Quickly he replies, “No,” but then with a sly smile, he says, “Well yes, maybe.”  Even an incredible professional, photographing beauty everyday, was seduced.


I had a weak moment during the photo shoot, as well.  Even though I knew the powers of this seducer.  During one of the photo set-ups, I needed to lie on the moss to better view the angle of the shot.  As I lowered my body towards the ground, the seducer’s energy pulled me in.  Once on the ground, lying on my right side, I could feel the moist moss and it’s ancient wisdom, the moss was healing my hardened heart. Fighting the puppy effect, I did what I needed to do to finish and moved on.

Watching Bekah, on the other hand, was a different matter.  Bekah had youth on her side, adding to the puppy equation.  Although Bekah didn’t roll on the moss like a playful puppy (or at least I didn’t see her), she was extremely weak in the understanding, or perhaps not caring, about the side-effects of moss.  The first thing she did was take off her flip flops to feel the moss on her bare feet.

Personally, I was a little worried for her since the outcome was too uncertain.  When walking on the moss, she chatted more, laughed more, and twirled.  I thought this would be the worse of it.  But about an hour into the shoot, I passed out apples.  Apparently, Bekah was famished.  She took the apple and started to moan and groan with outward pleasure and, if you can believe this, she started to dance.  Her chatter turned into a lyrical song, as she danced and ate, with shameless abandonment.

Bekah’s side-effects were so bad, withdrawals were predicted, so David and Ken boxed some moss for Bekah to take home with her.

After the photo shoot, we headed to NoFo’s in Raleigh for a little lunch.  Everything tasted better, the conversation was engaging and entertaining.  Time stopped.  Even though Marty and Bekah had a plane to catch and I had kids to pick up, we lingered at the table a little longer, each with individual reflections of our magical moss experiences, and a bond only moss can make.

 

Order your Moss Rocks!  online today.  Moss is grand.  Moss is green.  Moss is good. Make the most of it; order Moss Rocks! today.

By: Helen Yoest
 

Follow Moss and Stone Gardens – Where Moss Rocks! on Twitter @Moss_Rocks and our Facebook Like page Moss and Stone Gardens – Where Moss Rocks!

To learn more about Moss and Stone Gardens – Where Moss Rocks!, please visit our website.  Or email David Spain at info@mossandstonegardens.com.

Unless otherwise noted, all photo are credited to Ken Gergle.

 

Moss melts a hardened heart

At the dawn of spring, dainty sporophytes form after a sexual encounter of a moss kind.  The lens captures what few will see; unless, of course, you are one of the chosen ones — chosen to grow moss, because you can.

Our old dish garden friend Mellow Yellow, sports sporohytes, ready to spew forth spores, allowing the moss to dance in the circle of life.

Imagine minute fields of sporohytes blowing their weight in the wind soon releasing the next generation of spores.  With this inch, you grow smiles.  Imagine, too, lightly touching the tops of these sporohytes, feeling the energy of the next generation.

Perhaps this picture of Polytrichum commune, will instill a desire in you; actually growing this moss, no doubt, will make a believer out of you.  Moss melts a hardened heart.

This moisture loving moss, Polytrichum commune, will acclimated to many shade and soil types.  Dished up, like we did with Mellow Yellow, it becomes a moveable feast.

Has moss melted your heart lately?

Moss and Stone Gardens’ photos are brought to you by Ken Gergle, with the following specs:

Camera – Nikon D3S

125 sec at f/4.0

Nikon 105mm f 2.8 lens (micro)

ISO 200

 

Order your Moss Rocks!  online today.  Moss is grand.  Moss is green.  Moss is good. Make the most of it; order Moss Rocks! today.

By: Helen Yoest

Follow Moss and Stone Gardens – Where Moss Rocks! on Twitter @Moss_Rocks and our Facebook Like page Moss and Stone Gardens – Where Moss Rocks!

To learn more about Moss and Stone Gardens – Where Moss Rocks!, please visit our website.  Or email David Spain at info@mossandstonegardens.com.

Unless otherwise noted, all photo are credited to Ken Gergle.

Undulating waves

Ends curl along the pottery’s edge, as if lapping the rise and fall of the ocean’s water, Marsha Owens Pottery provides a fluid vessel for moss to float.

Mounting, moss species of acrocarps Dicranum scoparium, Campylopus introflexus and Luecobryum glaucum, mesh well with small stemmed pleurocarpous moss, Bryoandersonia illecebra, where over time, the pleurocarp will intermingle with the acrocarps. Further adding texture to the scene, are the likes of Parmelia lichen and Cladonia cristatella, remaining moist nestled with the mosses.

A mere eight inches at the widest point, this low profile planter is the perfect scale for many mosses. Designed for shade, this dish garden mixes shades of green and interesting textures for visual impact, creating an oasis in a dandy dish.

Homed indoors or out, this dish will have you searching a prominent shady spot in your garden or on your desk for easy admiration.

Photographed by Ken Gergle.

By: Helen  Yoest

Follow Moss and Stone Gardens – Where Moss Rocks! on Twitter @Moss_Rocks and our Facebook Like page Moss and Stone Gardens – Where Moss Rocks!

To learn more about Moss and Stone Gardens – Where Moss Rocks!, please visit our website.  Or email David Spain at info@mossandstonegardens.com.

Unless otherwise noted, all photo are credited to KenGergle.