Monthly Archives: June 2011

When you’re feeling blue, dish

Nary a breeze to move summer air, sweat beads on the brows of even the most sincere southern sons and sisters.  Seeking shelter under the old oak tree, or carrying a glass of sweet tea onto the veranda to find your favorite chair, then rocking to a rhythm of the crick in the ceiling fan, waiting for the worst part of the day to end.

If you aren’t careful, you might start to feel blue.  The heat can take the glamour out of a southern day.  Instead of feeling blue, let blue rule your sweltering solitude.

David Spain, co-owner of Moss and Stone Garden needed a way to combat those hot and heady hours.  David’s inspiration for this blue dish, was to feel cool at the sight of blue, “Blue not only has a calming effect, it can also make you feel cool. I paired the blue bowl with Meehan’s mint (Meehania cordata). When Meehan’s mint flowers, purple-blue blooms add a refreshing complement to the blue in the dish. “

Mosses, of course, were added as a main ingredient to this dish, accented with a dash of the ebony spleenwort, for height and texture.

Mosses used included, Bryoandersonia illecebra, Thuidium delecatulum, Plagiomnium cuspidatum, Campylopus introflexus and Climacium americanum.

So the next time you feel blue, dish this up for a summer respite.

 


 

 

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 – squirrels, birds, and other moss meddling crittters

Dear David,

The squirrels have been digging up my attempts to grow a moss lawn.  What do you suggest?  I have so many unpleasant thoughts about ways to eat the squirrel.

Vance

 

Dear Vance,

I feel your pain. squirrels can be a troublesome animal in a garden.

There are several approaches to deter squirrels, and other moss meddling critters; you may need to incorporate one or more, to be effective. Once the problem is under control, the squirrel and other critter populations seems to remember the areas they are unwelcome.

The first line of defense is with netting. This technique is effective and is left in place permanently.

Using 3/8″ grid netting, (see above) sold as pond netting, you cut to size and cover the area being disturbed, pin down using landscape staples. I recommend cutting the staples and modifying the cut end into a hook. This is easier to install and it gives you twice the number of pins for the same price.

Start by pinning the edges, then pin the netting in the middle, especially where the terrain is lower and the netting is lifting above the surface. Contour the netting to the moss, making as much contact as possible. The netting will practically disappear after installation and the moss will grow through, and incorporate the netting into, the colony. This technique is also used to hold down newly transplanted mosses and in particular where water run-off or a slope is present.

I have also used a material called tulle which is used for wedding veils and such. It can be purchased at any fabric store. There are several weaves and the best is a 1/8″ size double threaded in matt black. Although not as strong as the pond netting, it’s more effective against birds. The installation technique, and it’s being left in place, is the same as with the pond netting.

The third option is again using the pond netting, but the netting is suspended 4 to 5 inches above the moss. This height range makes it difficult for the squirrel to get under or climb on top and push it down to gain access to the ground. I make stakes from non-pressure treated wood about 8 to 10 inches in length to stretch the netting from and allow the ends of the netting to drape down at the edges. Obviously this is an eyesore and temporary, but some squirrels are attracted to a specific area and will chew through anything even metal to access  their favorite spots. I have seen squirrels return to an area over and over, tearing up the moss and digging for their bounty. This method seems to be enough of an agitation to deal with persistent visitors.

I have also had success using animal repellent products, such as i must garden either by itself, or in conjunction, with the above methods.

I hope this information helps.

David Spain



 

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.

A couple of catchy moss caches – your new best friends

Cheeky, catchy, charming, cute, Moss and Stone Gardens’ Mexican earthenware moss caches are a gardener’s new best friend.  At first they seem like just another adorable way to befriend moss, but you soon realize, they are so much more. “These small containers were fun to put together, the rough handmade quality was just asking for playful plantings and texture,” says David Spain.

Indeed, I personally like the juxtaposition of the rough hewn pottery to the soft, moist moss.   Measuring a mere 3 1/2 inches in diameter, “These little ones are just begging to be picked up and admired, or taken for a little stroll,” says David.

I think David is on to something here.  Moss makes for great company and dished up in a cute cache, simplifies an evening stroll.  Keeping company with moss is nice since moss is naturally quiet, never tries to dominate the conversation, nor gives you a hard time about not mowing the lawn.

Although your cache can’t play catch, it can be considered a low maintenance pet just the same.   Just pull one of these little guys out of your pocket to bring a smile to everyone you meet.  Or carry a moss cache in each hand as you partake in your summer evening walk around the neighborhood.  Imagine moss as a conversation starter.  No doubt, a new friend will want to pet your cache, congratulating you on how well-behaved your ancient plant is.

In case you are wondering, there are no leash laws for contained moss in any of the 48 contiguous states.  The best part yet, very little care is needed to keep your cache happy.

Here’s David’s advice on the care of your cache:

When you get home, store your cache in indirect light and water when you think about it:

Spray cache with water when nearby or allow to dry, if you’re busy!

or

Spray cache with water when nearby or allow to dry, if you’re distracted!

or

Mist your cache daily, water thoroughly every week, and don’t worry if you leave town or forget; your cache can go without water for weeks, if needed.

Um, even I think I can handle that!

Mosses included in these sweet dishes, are Dicranum scoparium, Campylopus introflexus, Plagiomnium cuspidatum, Brachythecium rutabulum, Luecobryum glaucum,  Anomodon rostratus and a little Cladonia rangiforina (reindeer moss.)

Dish one or two up today to see where your conversations will lead 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.

The truth about moss – dispelling moss myths

Moss misconceptions abound.   Is it true a rolling stone gathers no moss? To better understand moss, I asked David Spain with Moss and Stone Gardens, Raleigh, NC, to enlighten us with the truth about mosses, dispelling many common moss myths.

 

Moss prefers acidic or nutrient poor soils. True or False?

False -Most mosses are not particular about the pH or nutrients of the substrates on which they grow.

 

It would be more accurate to understand that mosses thrive where there is little or no competition, which often occurs in acidic and poor, compacted soils, or for that matter, on stone.

Moss only grows in the shade. True or False?

False -Mosses have the greatest range of light exposure than any other land plant.

This doesn’t mean that all mosses can tolerate sun, only certain species can. Mosses are found growing in all climates and exposures, from full blazing desert sun, to almost undetectable amounts of light found in caves. Mosses can also be found on all 7 continents.


Moss only grows on the north side of trees. True and False?

False – Moss does grow on the north side of trees, and it also grows on the south, east, and west sides of trees, as well.

Moss may grow only on a north side of a tree if that’s the shadiest location as the sun tracks the sky. If there is something else providing shade (or moisture), the moss will grow in those places just as well.

 


Moss will invade my garden if I am growing moss on my property. True or False?

False – Moss spores are everywhere, even if there aren’t any mosses on your property. The spores travel on the wind to extreme distances, therefore proximity doesn’t mean density.

Moss will grow anywhere the conditions are appropriate for successful germination and can develop into a mature plant.

You can convert your moss-infested lawn into a moss lawn by letting nature take it’s course. True or False?

False - This is very unlikely to happen satisfactorily without intervention.

In most regions, the conditions necessary for moss to dominate vascular plants isn’t adequate. For example, in rain forests or areas like the Pacific Northwest, moss can over grow the under brush of existing plants; the abundant moisture gives the moss enough growing potential that it can blanket everything.

For other regions, something else needs to tip the scale in favor of the mosses, like abundant moisture, in this case I am referring to irrigation by man. To be more specific, one would have to water the moss lightly throughout the day in order to give it maximum growth potential, but not enough to give the existing plants (grasses, weeds) enough to sustain themselves.

Moss needs to be kept moist. True or False?

False – Despite this common impression, moss is actually one of the most drought tolerant plants. Also, there are a number of species that need regular periods of dryness to survive.

Mosses need moisture to reproduce sexually, but not asexually. Water is needed for photosynthesis, but not for survival. Moist areas allow for faster growth, but isn’t necessary for existence. Acrocarps mosses tend to be more drought tolerant than Pleurocarps.

 

Spreading or spraying diluted yogurt, buttermilk, beer, or manure tea will promote moss to grow. True or False?

False -The key here is not what substance will create moss in an area, but what allows moss to develop. The most important things to allow mosses to develop are moisture and lack of competition. Competition can be other plants, debris, or loose and irregular surfaces. Moisture is always needed to begin moss establishment. When mosses are beginning to colonize in an area, moisture is what allows the young mosses to perform photosynthesis, which in turn allows for growth.

Leaf litter, pine straw, twigs, loose stones, and such, make it harder for moss to find a stable substrate on which to attach. Moss prefers to have direct contact with whatever it is spreading onto; therefore, a smooth substrate will allow the mosses easier contact.

Mosses do not draw nutrients or sustenance from the substrates they are attached too; therefore, anything you apply to the substrate is not utilized by the moss since it does not have the root structure necessary to benefit from such applications.

Blending moss and buttermilk into a slurry is the best way to grow moss. True or False?

False -Although widely reported to work effectively, this technique is usually met with failure and a moldy mess.

The best way to grow moss is by division of a colony or fragmentation, buttermilk is not needed.

 

 

 

Moss spores will add to my seasonal allergies. True or False?

False -Moss spores may be as common as mold spores or pollen at times, but they are generally non-allergenic.

You can be allergic to anything, but the likelihood that moss or it’s spores will give you allergies, is extremely low.

If you walk on moss, it will die.  True or False?

False – Most mosses tolerate foot traffic, but it’s a question of how much foot traffic?

As a non vascular system, mosses don’t need protection from being compressed. With some foot traffic, their cellulose remains flexible, allowing mosses to be compressed without the kind of damage that occurs when vascular plants are trod on. The key difference is that their flexible structure and small scale are susceptible to breaking, if stretched. As such, walking flat-footed is greatly tolerated, while running or shuffling isn’t.

Moss is a parasitic plant. True or False?

False – When moss grows on trees, wood, or shingles, moss does not feed on the material it attaches to.

Mosses may keep substrates they are growing on damp for longer periods of time, and thus, this moisture retention is capable of deteriorating some non-living materials.

If you have moss growing on your property it means you also have molds. True or False?

False – The misconception that moss and molds are related isn’t true. Moss and molds are rarely found together, except when molds are attacking the moss as they might anything organic. With molds present, moss dies or decays, as does most anything else it attacks. If you have heathy moss, you do not have mold.


Spanish moss, Reindeer moss, club moss, sea moss, Irish moss and Scotch moss belong to the Phylum of Bryophyta. True or False?

False – Including moss in the common name, does not mean it’s a true moss.

Spanish moss is an epiphyte, Reindeer moss is a lichen,club moss is a lycophyte, sea moss is an algae, Irish and Scotch mosses are vascular plants that look similar to mosses.

Growing moss is beneficial to my garden.  True or False?

True - Moss is a beneficial addition to the garden in many ways: it retains moisture content, similar to mulching, it is superior to mulches in that it is a living layer that processes nutrients and contributes organic material, it does not become compacted, and doesn’t need replacing annually, and it provides a healthy habitat for beneficial insects and promotes the evolutionary symbiosis of
mycelium
and plant roots.


Moss attracts ticks, fleas, and mosquitos. True or False?

False – Ticks prefer tall plants, where they can perch to better position themselves to catch a ride on their next meal. Fleas don’t dwell in moss, and mosquitos need plants to provide shelter from wind and sun. Mosses are too short and dense to support resting mosquitos.

 

 

And finally, I needed to know –

A rolling stone gathers no moss. True or False?

True – A rolling stone gathers no moss. If the stone is rolling, moss grows too slowly to get started on it and the friction of rolling would abrade or wear off any mosses that were on it.

 

 

 

 

There you have it! If you want to learn a truth about moss missed here, let us know!

 

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.