Category Archives: Moss Adventures

Moss Trending: The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert

The Signature of All ThingsFinally, moss takes center stage in the theatre of Earth–again. What’s old is new again, and it’s trending like a Broadway hit!

Martha, of course, has done a lot to enlighten gardeners to the allure of mosses, and we take our part very seriously (and respectfully) to educate people on the cultivation of a moss garden wherever they may live.  Now Elizabeth Gilbert is reaching the masses beyond gardeners.

Through Alma Whittaker, the protagonist in Ms. Gilbert’s latest book, The Signature of All Things, we are made privy to the nineteenth century world of botany and specifically to the science of mosses. (Of course, we here at Moss and Stone Gardens thought Eat Pray Love should have been about moss, too. After all, moss is worthy, but we digress.)Moss and Stone Garden

Moss LikeHaven’t gotten your copy yet? Or, want to give one as a gift or a loan but cannot bear to part with your own copy? Now’s your chance to win one! Moss and Stone Gardens has teamed with Ms. Gilbert’s publisher, Penguin Group (USA), and together we are hosting a giveaway. To enter to win, all you have to do is LIKE our Facebook page and leave us a comment.   Three copies, one autographed, will be given away. We  love hearing from you. Perhaps you have a photo of your own moss garden or an inspirational one that you have discovered and would like to share too. Please do!

The Signature of All Things follows the story of Alma, a brilliant woman, born in 1800. Admittedly, we may be ever so slightly biased as to our estimation of her brilliance as we are in complete accord with her decision to make moss her life passion.gilbert

Alma spent 25 years studying moss. Of course, this would be easy to do. Once you open the curtain to the mossy adventure, time flies. David Spain, Moss and Stone Garden’s moss expert, plans to reach 25 years learning about moss, and go for another 25 years and more after that, God willing and the creek don’t rise.

primitavemossAlma Whittaker was clearly ahead of her time. Today, moss is trending, but did you know that moss was Earth’s opening act? Alma, our fictional advocate, learned the role that mosses play on Earth and we at Moss and Stone Gardens are doing our part to keep them in the spotlight and hoping (and clapping) for repeated encores in gardens around the world.

Don’t forget to LIKE our Facebook page to enter a chance to win. Please share with your friends.

By: Moss and Stone Gardens

Post Script: For those curious to know, we asked Ms. Gilbert if she grows moss in her garden at home. Her answer? A resounding YES!

 

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

Growing a Greener World

In June of 2012 Moss and Stone Gardens became the focus of a fantastic television series, Growing a Greener World. Hosted by Joe Lampl’ and broadcast nationally on PBS stations, GGWTV has become known for it’s appealling coverage of a broad range of interesting and topical green subjects. Beautifully filmed in high definition, it is a treat for the eyes as well as the soul. We were contacted by GGWTV’s co-executive producer and resident canning expert, Theresa Loe, expressing interest in learning more about mosses and the possibility of their inclusion for an upcoming show. After a few communications it was apparent that mosses and our work with them would have enough interest to become a full episode. Naturally we were thrilled with the aspect of another chance to share our message of mossy goodness with a national audience!

We awaited the arrival of Joe Lampl’ and the GGWTV team at our Moss Farm nursery with great anticipation. The visually stunning camera work that has become the trademark of GGWTV series was accomplished for our episode by the work of a very talented team of brothers, Carl Pennington and David Pennington. Together, Joe, Carl and David have traveled extensively to cover so many interesting topics and locations that to sit and talk with them is an adventure all it’s own. The few days that we spent together was an unforgettable experience and eye opening as to the demands of producing a high quality television series. I should mention that GGWTV is also comprised of other very talented personalities and team members which we didn’t have the opportunity to work with in person, such as the uber charming celebrity chef Nathan Lyon.  We did get to know some of the other great folks such as the previously mentioned Co-executive producer and chicken aficionado Theresa Loe as well as the existentially provocative Social media director Christa Hanson, both of which we adore and appreciate tremendously.

We began with a strategy meeting at sunrise – days always begin at sunrise when working with a television crew – and mapped out locations to film the script. We began filming rather quickly and wouldn’t you know it, I’m first up to bat with my close-up shots. Although not my first time on camera, I have to admit it was quite a challenge to condense my words within the framework of the script. Those of you who know me understand that I am not short-winded about my passion for moss! It was also hot as hades and impossible for me to not perspire. We were constantly running fans and wiping my face in between takes. I have to say that the patience of Joe, Carl and David in their determination to get the shot was phenomenal. Dealing with a sweaty, fumbling subject was only part of the ordeal as much of the challenge was constantly changing lighting and background noises.

After meticulous preparations we would be at the finish line of a segment only to have it interrupted by an amazing and seemingly determined variety of audio interlopers;  a plane overhead or a chainsaw or a car horn or a leaf blower or a lawn mower or a -I kid you not- crew of city workers with a bulldozer to clear a right-of-way at the bottom of our property!  Luckily for us they were PBS supporters and agreed to begin their clearing at the other end of the right-of-way.

Interesting to see, was just how seamlessly Joe could move from off-camera to on-camera. I suppose that after so many years of hosting television programs Joe has developed that skill but it is also apparent, watching him work, that  he is a natural talent. The really kind and enthusiastic person you see on the screen is what Joe is like in real life, but for that to be felt and seen by viewers, he also taps into his ease with the camera and keen focus on the subject matter. So what may look casual when edited and shown over a half hour program was really a grueling sun-up to sun-down schedule of scene set-up and shoots over a sweltering three and a half days.  Not once did I see Joe with even a bead of perspiration! That twit! Oh, did I type that out loud?!

Ken and I were fascinated by Carl and David’s expertise with the visual and audio recording of the events.  Obviously they are pros and it shows. Both Ken and I relate very well to the challenges of documenting our work with mosses but these guys were also capturing sound. Their commitment to high quality audio was very rigorous to accomplish and constituted most of the demands of the time needed for the shoot. We became attuned to the ambient sounds during filming but mostly kept an eye on David as he listened through his headphones. By the last day of shooting I could sense an approaching sound violation by the slight cocking of David’s head as the microphone picked up the earliest vibrations detectable to his trained ear.

Needless to say, all the work to make this episode happen was worth it and, thanks to Joe and his crew, we are one step closer to giving mosses their due and taking them off the list of weeds to spray with herbicides. With topics like this being examined on quality programs we can all learn how to work towards growing a greener world.

Visit Growing a Greener World’s website to see the Moss Gardens episode #319 from season 3 or look up your local listings and find when it airs on your local PBS station. While your there, be sure to check out all the other amazing episodes and connect with the GGWTV team and joe gardeners’ from around the world through their Facebook page.

David Spain a.k.a. Moss Rock

*remember to click on the images to enlarge and enjoy them at higher resolution 

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Follow Moss and Stone Gardens – Where Moss Rocks! on Twitter @Moss_Rocks and our Facebook 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 photos are credited to Ken Gergle.

Love A Fair

One of my favorite movies is Love Affair from 1939 starring Irene Dunne and Charles Boyer. It was remade as An Affair To Remember in 1957 with Deborah Kerr and Cary Grant and again as Love Affair in 1994 with Annette Bening and Warren Beatty. There is also the well known movie Sleepless In Seattle which borrowed heavily from this story’s plot line. Just like a really good story, some things can be revisited over and over again even though the similarities are obvious the freshness comes from the changing characters and contemporary elements.

This year Moss and Stone Gardens was invited to create an exhibition at the NC State Fair. Erv Evans, affectionately known as The Plant Guy for his encyclopedic knowledge of plants and their botanical names, is in charge of the Flower and Garden Show at the fair and when he made his enthusiasm known for our unique gardening style we could not resist.

The affair began with a visit to the garden grounds and a tour with Erv to see what locations were available. After consideration, Ken and I chose a corner booth anchored by a large White Oak. Little did we realize that this year was one of those off-the-chart acorn events that you seem to forget about until they occur again. By the time we broke ground 2 weeks before the Fair began, acorns were falling from the great oak at an astonishing rate and speed. Thousands fell into our booth and gave little if any warning before striking, if unlucky you became the stricken, if lucky you got to laugh at your partner getting a right painful lump on his noggin’.

With some thought, it was decided to bring a little serenity to the energetic and colorful sea of blooms that enthralls the almost 1 million visitors that return each year. Hopefully, our exhibition would be seen as one of those contemporary elements that are welcomed in a recurring great storyline. We gave the installation the name The Serenity Garden and chose to use as many traditional Japanese style elements as we could tastefully squeeze into our 20′ x 15′ plot. The challenge was met by creating a 4 foot mound at the rear corner which allowed for some forced perspective. The temple on top of the hill and adjacent elements were kept to scale as though the distance from the viewer was greater than it actually was. The stream that originated from behind the temple gained some added mystique with a fogging machine and the washed pebbles in the stream graded from 1/4″ all the way to 5″ as it approached the Tsukubai fountain. At the base of the hill we nestled a dry water feature using screened gravel accented by bamboo and behind the fountain we added a Buddha statue to contemplate the peaceful setting.

As much fun as we had creating the Serenity Garden it paled in comparison to the joy we received by watching the flow of visitors stop and muse. For a moment, they stopped mouthing their cotton-candy or scanning ahead to see if the next attraction was more interesting, they pointed for others to not miss what caught their eye, took photographs, knelt down to caress the moss and most importantly came away with a new appreciation for one of the oldest stories ever told again and again, moss.

David Spain a.k.a. Moss Rock

*remember to click on the images to enlarge and enjoy them at higher resolution 

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Follow Moss and Stone Gardens – Where Moss Rocks! on Twitter @Moss_Rocks and our Facebook 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 photos are credited to Ken Gergle.

A Rock’n Party!

This past weekend Moss and Stone Gardens had the honor to assist Helen Yoest with the hosting of the VIP party for the J. C. Raulston Arboretum, which was a wrap-up event for the 10th anniversary celebration of the Ruby C. McSwain education center. After two days of ceremony and appreciation, Saturday night was all about the folks that make the arboretum vital today. Helen as usual was on task for this J.C. jubilee and she wasn’t about to just throw some “come over to my house and knosh on some celery and wine coolers” kind of gathering. No, she was set that the event would be as memorable as the efforts of all the great staff, volunteers and contributors that make the JC Raulston Arboretum the world class horticultural center that it is.

Helen’s Haven is well designed for large gatherings and it was decided that we would add a bamboo and burlap structure centered on the long rectangular lawn to create some atmosphere. Ken and I used two 30 foot bamboo poles to suspend large round paper lanterns, one orange and one white. They were to become symbols for the setting sun and rising moon. The moon was placed high overhead while the sun was hung low over the center of the garden. Paper lanterns were also used for lighting the tables since the party would stretch into the evening hours. To that we added Christmas lights around the structure and throughout the garden at key places, careful to not use too much. The Garden house, knick-named The Love Shack, was repurposed for a beverage station and as the point on the exclamation mark! Tiki torches were dotted about and the music backdrop selected.

Moss, of course, was the centerpiece at the tables and Moss Rocks! were placed to accent the simple and beautiful settings. Patricia, my wife, prepared abundant appetizers and the cornbread muffins that accompanied Helen’s famous white chicken chili. Cupcakes followed the main course, baked by Beth Jimenez and paired with butter pecan ice cream.

The guests arrived and settled in quickly to the inviting venue.  Food and drinks were passed around and everyone was soon partying with confidence. Honestly, I can’t remember a party that sported all the right ingredients so well.  As the sun set and the arbor lights danced into the night a glow seemed to surround the happy gathering.  We were all so enjoying the evening and the company there was no sign of anyone looking for an early exit. The food, fun and ambience combined to satisfy all of our desires for an evening to be remembered.

The J. C. Raulston Arboretum, if you haven’t been before, I highly recommend to visit. It is truly a treasure for North Carolina and inspiration for us all. As for the folks that volunteer and work there, you won’t find a better crowd to spend a evening with.

David Spain a.k.a. Moss Rock

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Follow Moss and Stone Gardens – Where Moss Rocks! on Twitter @Moss_Rocks and our Facebook 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 photos are credited to Ken Gergle.

 

High Hopes

 

I spend a fair amount of time observing the small and tiny features in the landscape. I suppose that comes with the territory of being a moss gardener. To fully study mosses it is necessary to see them up close, to think in micro terms and to alter your perspective in general. Sometimes this micro-focus becomes so engrained that larger occurrences are missed. The other day I noticed a 30 foot line in the moss, it appeared as though a garden hose had been left on top of the moss for a week or two and had left a very noticeable impression. Knowing this was likely, I didn’t give it a second thought. A few weeks later I thought again about the still evident impression and why it looked the same, with no signs of the moss regenerating. I chalked it up to a normal slow down in moss growth during the summer season. Then, last week it struck me again that the line was not changing at all and the period of time was too great to not have seen repairs by now.

I decided it was something else happening and my mind opened up to consider other possibilities besides a water hose. The first thing that didn’t correlate with the water hose theory was that one end of the line was directly in line with the root flair of a giant White Oak. A water hose would not be easily laid to rest on this quickly vertical part of the tree trunk.  It would surely have been to either side of the flair and not perfectly aligned. I began to think about the giant Oak and the many squirrels that climb it and all the trees in the garden but knew it was impossible for the erratic squirrels to have made a consistent path to the tree. As I went through all the known creatures great and small that could have made this line in the moss nothing seemed to make any sense.

I sat down to ponder this phenomenon and stared blankly at the little trail through the miniature jungle. Then I noticed a carpenter ant.  You know, the large black ants that are often seen in trees. It was headed towards me and in the direction of the old Oak and I thought that was interesting but impossible as the answer to my query. I followed the ant along the miniature trail which it never deviated from and right up the root flair and into the tree. Still in disbelief that this could be the correlation, I watched longer.

One after another, the carpenter ants followed the trail in both directions and soon I was convinced. It may be that the ant can’t move a rubber tree plant but apparently it can move thousands of moss plants in order to make its’ daily travels easier. I looked closely and realized that by removing the moss in their path it saved the ants immeasurable distance of travel up and over all the irregular stems of the mosses. Moss looks to us almost smooth and velvety, but if you’re the size of an ant it is more like forging a trail through an understory thicket – think Amazon jungle!

By my calculations, this 30 foot trail for the ants was equivalent to a human size trail over seven football fields long! Even more impressive was the fact that the trail wasn’t just worn down over time but actually cut through. The stems of the moss were noticeably trimmed back and the leafy growth removed.

This is another example of the rich biodiversity waiting to be discovered  in the world of  moss gardens.  We’re not the only ones working hard out there!  While we are working to create our gardens other creatures are teaching us how to coexist with it.

David Spain a.k.a. Moss Rock

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Follow Moss and Stone Gardens – Where Moss Rocks! on Twitter @Moss_Rocks and our Facebook 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 photos are credited to Ken Gergle.

 

A day at the Beach

This past week I took a few days from my normal shady seclusion and spent some time in the sun at Holden beach. Located on the southeastern shoreline of North Carolina, Holden is a small island of about 3.4 square miles and also a turtle breeding sanctuary. A wonderful resort town for lazy vacations and strolling down the beach, it is known as “The Family Beach”. Aside from its family friendly shoreline, Holden is also dune friendly. Protecting the shoreline from erosion, the dunes are anchored by several species of plants adapted to this harsh environment.

Many of these plants are native to the barrier islands of North Carolina and some are introduced. It isn’t a surprise to know that Sea Oates (Uniola paniculata) are routinely planted and protected as a line of defense on the primary dunes that run parallel to the shoreline. Several other species however constitute the secondary dunes and create the unique and fragile eco systems.

Spanish Daggers (Yucca gloriosa), Saltmeadow Cordgrass (Spartina patens), Dune Marsh-elder (Iva imbricata), Largeleaf Pennyworth (Hydrocotyle bonariensis), American Beachgrass (Ammophila breviligulata) and the charming Fire wheel (Gaillardia aristata) all look the part of this desert-like scape. None of these species seem out of place or unexpected to the vacationing families, but a closer look might show a surprising pioneer plant that few would guess belonged. Yep, moss.

If you follow this blog you probably know that mosses inhabit all seven continents and that they grow in extreme environments from the Sahara desert to the Antarctic. Their ability to inhabit the widest variety of conditions on earth, more than any other plant species, is unimaginable. But they aren’t supposed to be at the beach are they? Just as certain species have evolved to tolerate long periods of drought and scorching sun or the deep constant shade of the rain forest, some have adaptive talents for the shifting sands and salt spray of the shoreline.

Aloina aloides, sometimes called Aloe-moss is an acrocarpous species suited for coastal conditions. Even though its habit is perfect for the secondary dunes it is also equipped for duty in the city. Colonies spring up in sandy or poor soiled islands in parking lots across America. These islands in a sea of concrete aren’t much different than their home at the beach. Drying winds and salty spray from de-icing solutions welcome them into a place inhospitable to many other plants. Landscapers’ of these forgotten islands often resort to mulch and gravel to deal with these harsh conditions but mosses, as usual, can take advantage of the lack of competition. Strangely enough, humans inadvertantly  provide conditions for moss by their activity of clearing, building and maintaining of cityscapes. Disturbed soils are fresh territory for colonization, mosses can stabilize these areas and pave the way for other plants to take hold, as they do in the shifting dune sands.

So this fair skinned shade gardener enjoyed a little too much sun as he found himself taking a busman’s holiday at the shore with Aloe-moss at his feet.  Too bad it wasn’t that kind of Aloe!

David Spain a.k.a. Moss Rock

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Follow Moss and Stone Gardens – Where Moss Rocks! on Twitter @Moss_Rocks and our Facebook 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 photos are credited to Ken Gergle.

 

Fungi Frolick

One of the pleasures my wife and I share, is strolling through the moss garden after rain showers have awakened the fungi. Spotting the colorful but brief visitors and admiring their presentation in the ocean of green mosses.

When detected, I often ease their eruption by parting the dense moss growth which can be strong enough to disfigure the determined sprouts.

 

Sometimes their debut is over by the next day, their glory shortened by a hungry squirrel, but often their persistence is an allure lasting days as their hues shift with maturity.

Mushrooms are the fruiting bodies of mycelia, fibrous primitive soil dwelling hyphae. They are great contributors to the soils, increasing the efficiency of water and nutrient absorption for most plants and aiding in decomposition.

Gardeners’ are just beginning to appreciate the role of mycelia in their soils and even purchasing powdered mycorrhizal fungi as a soil additive.

Perhaps the long connection between toadstools and the folklore of Faeries and the Moss People are the most intriguing. Sparking the imagination of young and old is as important to encouraging good land stewardship as anything.

David Spain a.k.a. Moss Rock

 One had a lovely face,
and two or three had charm,
But charm and face were in vain
Because the mountain grass
Cannot but keep the form
Where the mountain hare has lain.
~ W. B. Yeats
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Follow Moss and Stone Gardens – Where Moss Rocks! on Twitter @Moss_Rocks and our Facebook 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 photos are credited to Ken Gergle.

Southern Living – My mossy roots

    This month we are celebrating being featured in a little magazine you may have heard of…Southern Living!  Be sure and check out “Roll Out the Green Carpet” (page 68 if you must know).   This is especially gratifying as this article and this garden are important milestones in my moss adventure.   Take a peek behind the scenes with me…

In May of 2008, one of our favorite garden creations was invited to participate in the Raleigh Little Theatre Garden tour. It was at the home of Richard and Barbara Urquhart, and it was then that my now close friend Helen Yoest visited their garden for the first time. Helen wrote a post about the garden for her blog, Gardening With Confidence and an edited version was published in September 2008 issue of Metro Magazine.

A few months later Helen brought Steve Bender, aka The Grumpy Gardener and Senior garden writer for Southern Living Magazine, for a quick look around the garden while he was in town.

Shortly after that, Steve contacted me with interest in doing a feature article on the moss garden and the work we had done there. Sadly, Mr. Urquhart, a great friend, mentor and my father-in-law had passed away peacefully on June 8th 2008, resting in his chair overlooking his beautiful garden. Even though I couldn’t share the excitement with him in person, there was no doubt in my mind that this great man was smiling along with me from his new home in the Garden of Eden.

By that time I had had a 10 year love affair with this little plant’s charm and tenacity.  Could others be as taken with it as well? To have someone like Helen and Steve validate this belief in moss becoming mainstream was a great motivator, but there was much to be done before my dreams could be realized. The first task at hand was to prepare the Urquhart’s garden for a top-tier magazine photo-shoot. With the family’s blessing we began right away, the shoot was a mere 10 months away and mosses don’t move that fast.All through the winter and spring we worked to complete the unfinished visions Mr. Uquhart and I had shared for the garden.

As July of 2009 approached, Moss and Stone Gardens was on-site full time, tending every tiny detail and fighting the heat and dryness of that year. It was no easy task to make a garden whose blooming plants peak in early May, look just as spectacular 2 months later. Luckily mosses with their year-round glory came to the rescue!

The day finally came, July 14th of 2009 and Steve, Helen and photographer extraordinaire Ralph Anderson arrived at the garden. Friends and family had gathered at the grand home to celebrate the gardens preparedness and its’ honored guests. Ham biscuits, deviled eggs, tomato pie and iced tea helped to keep the crew working all through the heat of the day, preparing for the many different aspects and angles of the planned photos. We took advantage of anything to make the best of the afternoon while we waited on what Ralph called “the Soft Light”. He explained that just as the sun is rising or  setting, there is a period of time when the lighting becomes magical and it allows the camera to see what we do in person. This moment in time allows the photographer to capture the spiritual connection with the surroundings.

God was accommodating, no doubt with a nudge from Mr. Urquhart and the soft light came. We raced from place to place to capture the “gloaming” of the garden as Mr. U used to call it, and it was good. When the light proved too dim and much had been captured, Ralph’s excitement to capture one more spectacular shot hadn’t diminished, nor had mine. I shouted to Ralph, “I know one more angle we haven’t done yet,” and we grabbed the gear rushing to the backyard. Sure enough, the sun was providing a last few minutes of opportunity, and with the cameras exposure wide open, turning the waters surface to a glossy finish, it was done. The shoot over and crew exhausted, we shared a toast, to Mr. Urquhart and everyone that had worked so hard to bring this dream into a reality.

I will never be able to thank Helen, Steve, Ralph and all those involved enough, most of all my mentor that I miss dearly …here’s to you Mr. Urquhart.

p.s. Interestingly enough, the photo that made it into the article was that very last shot we took as the light faded.

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Follow Moss and Stone Gardens – Where Moss Rocks! on Twitter @Moss_Rocks and our Facebook 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 photos are credited to Ken Gergle.

Moss People

         I was very blessed to have made fast friends with the fiery, flirty and fashionably adorable Faeries a few weeks ago.  The insights that were shared about faerie culture was eye opening to say the least.  I will pass on to you now these other compelling bits of lore.

Under the spell o’ faerie dust and drams they shared secret knowledge of other wee inhabitants of the woods.  Were they telling tales and just bewitching me? The existence of Moss People was exciting indeed.  Could we cast a spell and bring them into our midst?  What would it take to entice the magical beings to visit?

They have been the subject of folklore for century’s, from Scandinavia to South America and even in common tales told in modern culture, but when the faeries told me the secrets to attracting the mischevious Moss People, (a comprehensive reference to Hobbits, Elves, Trolls and Wood Sprites) I was giddy with anticipation that these garden inhabitants were within reach. The faeries explained that over the centuries the Moss Folk had become more reclusive and less attainable in our modern culture, due to the homogeneity of our gardens.

You see, Moss People live by the rule that the gardens they inhabit must first embrace Mother Nature’s diversity and balance.  The variety of plants in a garden must be in harmony with the available resources and most of all the ratio of native plants to cultivated plants are equal or more. Hobbit harmony thrives where trees are cherished, not culled and dashing chipmunks are admired, un-scolded.  Where the water runs freely and the beehives thrive, that’s where you’ll find them leading magical lives.

I had to ask, now that the faeries were speaking, who are Moss People really? Their answer surprised.  Moss People are of an ancient civilization that long ago realized the benefit of preserving the antediluvian plant species as  humans were becoming agrarians. Their solution was simple, the answer easy, moss. The Moss People have insured the proliferation of mosses by planting colonies and reintroducing them again and again as man has raised and built, cut and cleared.

Moss harkens back 450 million years holding reign over the earliest of plants. As mosses covered the globe, their solitary eden for 70 million years, they created the first organic soils. Moss was the cradle of plant evolution and diversity. So you see, if you plant a little patch of moss, you will have a colony of hundreds or even thousands of individual moss plants and the balance of natives and cultivars will be quickly achieved. Do so and your garden will be happier and a haven for Moss People.

The iridescent faeries are always the first to occupy a garden. A tiny offering of moss is enough to attract them. But as the moss grows and begins to restore the equilibrium between native and cultivated, Hobbit houses will soon be spied! While Moss People aren’t shy, alas you will never see one. Like the hummingbird, their size is so small that their relative speed at which they move is undetectable by the human eye. Even if they were to stand still for an Hobbit hour, it would only equal a fraction of a human second. This would be impossible anyways as Moss People are very industrious, always working, playing pranks and famously hiding garden tools. They proudly announce their presence with enchanting Hobbit homes which seem to magically appear overnight, when in fact, for them, it takes many weeks to construct.

The welcome mat of moss has been proffered, Hobbit houses constructed and the rewards of balance bestowed. Ah, but a wee word of caution – as of this morning I am missing a hoe, my favorite by-pass pruners and a trowel.

David Spain, a.k.a Moss Rock

 p.s. you may click on the images in this post for a larger view!

 

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

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Follow Moss and Stone Gardens – Where Moss Rocks! on Twitter @Moss_Rocks and our Facebook 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 photos are credited to Ken Gergle.

Fun Faerie Facts


Faeries are famous for being known as fickle. It’s the price they pay for being beautiful or at least that’s the general assumption among the humans.  They are indeed beautiful. But to a Faerie, they are not fickle; rather, they are fiery, flirty, and fashionably adorable.

Because Faeries are so often misunderstood, they felt it was important to teach humans some fun Faerie facts. Needing a human to speak on their behalf, they turned to me. I was flattered, of course, and honored at the same time. As it was explained to me, I was the perfect choice since there are so few of us who fully understand Faeries. It takes someone who regularly communicates with Faeries to know how they live, and since they make their home at the Moss and Stone Gardens’ Moss Farm , we’ve had plenty of time understanding each other.

So let’s spread some Faerie wing and learn a few things about being a Faerie.

    • The lifespan of a Faerie is one-thousand years.
    • Faeries are monogamous; they mate with the same male, but prefer living with the girls. The males don’t like this arrangement, but they have no say. Faeries dominate.
    • A male “Faerie” is called a Folly.
    • Little is known about Follies since they are mute and have no other way to communicate. Faeries prefer it this way.
    • At one time Follies could communicate, but over two millenniums, the Faeries selected out the vocal males until they were left only with a non-speaking species.
    • Faeries are fiercely independent.
    • Faerie babies, also known as wee Faeries, are born in the dew of the fern. The mama Faerie is able to delay birth until conditions are just right.
    • Each Faerie has a litter of about four wee Faeries, and can reproduce four times a year for about forty years.
    • It takes 140 years for a Faerie to reach puberty; 14 years before they can walk.
    • All Faeries prefer flying over walking.
    • Faeries wing span is 1 inch.
    • Faeries weigh a little less than the weight of a  postage stamp.
    • Faeries are vegan.
    • They live in Faerie houses, and sleep on beds of moss.
    • Though they can confuse one with their words, fairies cannot lie. They hate being told thank you, as they see it as a sign of one forgetting the good deed done, and, instead want something that will guarantee remembrance.
    • To attract Faeries to your garden you must allow moss to grow somewhere.
    • You must have permission from a faerie before their image can be captured with a camera.
    • Faeries think pallet gardens are over-rated.

Stay tuned to Moss and Stone Gardens. Since the Faeries now call The Moss Farm home and feel comfortable here, they have decided to share some tales about their tiny lives. Those tales will be shared over the next few weeks. ~David Spain

David Spain, a.k.a Moss Rock

 

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

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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.