Category Archives: Moss Dish Gardens

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.

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.

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.

Mellow Yellow moss dish

 

As if butter and nutmeg were blended on stone, molded, then spread with lush, emerald green moss, this dish is worthy of a nosh.

David Spain’s Mellow Yellow dish came about by the proverbial, cart before the horse, philosophy.

Typically, David will let a piece of pottery move him to create moss landscapes as art in the shallow well of pottery or crevices of stone.

In creating of this piece, David was moved first by the moss. “I had a particularly beautiful colony of Polytrichum commune and Dicranum scoparium that were evenly mixed together,” says David.

Recognizing the rarity of these two mosses in such a large colony combined as one, David commissioned Marsha Owen Pottery to make this mellow, yellow pottery dish.

“As a moss cultivator, I am always looking for exceptional specimens and as this mixed colony developed, I knew I wanted to showcase the fusion of species and their exceptional size,” says David.

David carried the colony to Marsha’s studio where they made a cardboard template of the colony’s footprint. David says, “I asked Marsha to come up with a simple, elegant container to house this voluptuous mixture and I was not disappointed.”

Careful consideration was needed in making this pottery fit the moss colony. As pottery is fired, there is shrinkage. Allowing for this, Marsha and her husband Rick, carefully constructed the container, so once fired, the moss colony would fit exactly.

At first glance, this moss dish may seem to be lacking the detail of a micro-landscape David is so well known for; however, to David, “This dish epitomized the simple beauty of a moss dish garden.”

As ever, photographer, Ken Gergle, masterfully photographed this dish garden, Mellow Yellow. Often, Ken leaves the scale of the art a mystery. When I learn of the scale of some of David’s pieces, I often equate it to adding the last wiggly-shaped piece to a 500 piece puzzle, as Country Dish revealed.

So while Mellow Yellow, may only be made of two mosses, Polytrichum commune and Dicranum scoparium, it measures 22 inches across or about the size of my mondo computer screen or that of my first born at birth. Indeed, this is impressive.

In the wild, a colony of this breadth takes about 20 plus years to develop. David was able to grow this colony in just four years using the optimal conditions at Moss and Stone Garden’s moss nursery.

Mellow Yellow is a permanent part of David Spain’s personal collection; “I am happy to report, for five months, the colony housed in Mellow Yellow, has a healthy formation of sporophytes, signifying it’s content in it’s uniquely crafted sanctuary.”

For many more months, and perhaps years to come, I hope to learn of Mellow Yellow’s continued contentment.

 

 

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.

Dish this!

 

Sliding, sloping, and slightly off centered, with hills and holes adding rhythm and rhyme, this dish rocks.

Indoors or out, this dish is suitable as a tabletop centerpiece or as a focal point, raised on a pedestal, in a shady nook of the garden.

When I first met this dish, I mistook the wood’s growth rings as striations in stone.  I was even more intrigued, when talking to David Spain, co-owner of Moss and Stone Gardens, to learn the container was purchased from a local import store.  “I was inspired by the many contours which are so helpful in transplanting colonies to a new location,” said David.

Indeed, David Spain’s trademark, in my opinion, is his use of the cracks and crevices.  No opening is spared from being filled with soft, seductive green.

“For this dish,” David says, “I chose a uniform and lush palette, using a dominate application of Campylopus introflexus, for its radiant deep green color and sheen.”

The acrocarpus moss, Campylopus introflexus, can be grown in sun or shade, keeping it’s sheen, whether moist or dry.

Another acrocarpus moss used in this creation, is the charming chartreuse colored, Dicranum scoparium’s, adding depth to the design.

Also used in the design is pluerocarp moss Bryandersonia illecebra, a native moss, common to the Piedmont area of North Carolina.

Other plants in the dish design include the fern, Asplenium platyneuron, and mosses, Hypnum and Ceratadon purpureus.

While I like the idea of walking the woods to find a relic to create moss dishes, I’m also comforted to know  wonderful teak root “containers” are available for purchase, satisfying my need for immediate gratification.

I’ll keep this dish design in mind, when I’m out and about, shopping my favorite haunts.

 

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.

Country dish

Marrying moss with stone is the perfect match, but when moss is coupled with pottery, it becomes a creative pairing.

That’s exactly what happened, when David Spain of Moss and Stone Gardens collaborated with Marsha Owen, of Marsha Owen Pottery, to design stoneware containers for various  bryophytes.

Meeting David’s exacting specifications for profile and drainage, holes are included in this dish so water is quickly whisked away. David’s vision was to create a low profile piece, “To be in proportion to the bryophyte’s low profile plantings and minimal soil requirements,” says David.

Measuring a mere six inches long, this Marsha Owen oval pottery container, allows for a Lilliputian dish that begs to be picked up and held.

David’s selection of bryophytes included Parmelia and Cladonia rangiferina lichens and Cladonia rangiferina, Campylopus introflexus, Dicranum scoparium mosses.  The fern, Asplenium platyneuron, was also used as an added element to the design.

“My goal here was to compliment the beautiful cream glaze of Marsha’s pottery and to use as much diversity as I could for this very small vessel without becoming too busy,” says David.

The design offers the perfect pairing of the lichen’s pale colors, complementing the pottery and the vibrant glossy greens for contrast.

Perfect for a tabletop setting where it can admire up close and personal.

 

 

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 and fern burl art

Time twisted, rounded, knotty growth, creates the base of this root burl, moss and fern planter.  Crevices and craters cover this found relic of an old oak tree, inviting moss and ferns to creep deep within.

David Spain, co-owner of Moss and Stone Gardens , created this moss art.  When talking with David about this piece, he says, “One of my favorite mediums for mosses is wood, and finding an interesting relic from a tree is pure gold.”

As you can imagine, these beautiful burl’s can be difficult to find but David’s dedication to moss art calls him to the woods in search of decaying tree parts.  According to David, “The trick is finding a burl root, or the heart of a decaying tree that is much denser than normal branches. They are often what’s left lying on the ground after the softer parts of the tree has decayed over decades.

The uniqueness of each piece of burl was made from exposure to the natural elements.  “These burls are similar to driftwood but have been developed by erosion and insects instead of wave action,” says David.

When David created this moss piece, his vision was to create what might be found in nature.  His goal was to create a piece, “Perfect to seamlessly blend with a native garden  or to bring indoors as a natural accent to a more formal setting.”

Moss and fern species to create this planter included, the acrocarpus mosses, Dicranum scoparium and Campylopus introflexus, and the pluerocarp mosses Hypnum cuppressiform and Entodon seductrix. Ebony spleenwort fern,  Asplenium platyneuron, also lays softly against the aged wood.

Prior to planting, the wood required no special treatment other than a strong spray wash with water to remove any loose material.

When David created this piece of moss art and in keeping with his unique style, he inoculated tiny colonies within the crevices and craters, to, as he says, “Jump start their natural spread over time.”

Now with added purpose, as I hike my woods, I will be keeping a keen eye to the ground in hopes of finding a piece of burl to build similar art of my own.

 

 

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.

Hypertufa dish garden

Ancient, primal, desirable. Moss evokes many emotions. When finding a moss garden, the desire to touch the moss is uncontrollable, wanting to walk it, feel it, stroke it.

This is how I felt the first time I saw a really well done moss garden. It was the home and garden of the late Richard and Barbara Urquhart, in Raleigh, NC.
I had heard of a moss garden in the area; the garden’s reputation preceded itself. I needed to see this garden. To experience it. To know it. When I first laid eyes on the emerald green, blanket of moss, my normal frantic pace slowed and within seconds, I felt peace.

This garden was to be a journey, not an ordinary garden visit.

Looking back on that day, I remember fondly how Mr. Urquhart spoke so highly and kindly of David Spain, the man who helped him create the moss garden as it was that day.
The Urquhart’s moss garden was later shared with Steve Bender, Senior Writer, with Southern Living magazine, who said, “The moss garden David created in Raleigh is simply one of the most amazing and beautiful places I’ve been.”

As I got to know David Spain and his business partner, Ken Gergle, co-owners of Moss and Stone Gardens, I learned more about the kind of work they did. Yes, they create beautiful moss and stone landscapes, but they also create art in the form of moss dishes. It’s these dishes that’s the focus of this blog.

Moss and Stone Gardens’ blog hopes to be your moss resource, to expose you, to entice you, to teach you about mosses, their uses, sustainability, and usherance of peace. We hope you enjoy your time with us.

So, without further adieu, meet this dish —

The Moss and Stone Gardens’ debut dish is set in a humble hypertufa trough planter. This commissioned piece, for a private client, was designed to accommodate medium to low light levels, in a dry environment.

Several moss species were used from the ticklely acrocarpus genus of mosses, including Atrichum undulatum, Campylopus introflexus, Ceratadon purpureus, Dicranum scoparium, and Luecobryum glaucum.

Acrocarps are generally identifiable as mosses growing upright, bearing capsules on the tips of the moss stems. The presence of these capsules adds another level of intrigue, through color and texture, to the design.

Soft flirty, mounds of pluerocarp moss, Entodon seductrix, is also used, adding value to the landscape.

In addition to mosses, this dish includes a fungus, Parmelia lichen, and a fern, Asplenium platyneuron (ebony spleenwort fern,) adding levity to the design.

When interviewing David Spain about this dish, I wondered about his vision for the design. “The design concept here was to combine different hues of green for contrast and interest and to take advantage of the hypertufa containers broad rim.

“The shape and material in hypertufa containers lends itself to encouraging the mosses to grow outside of the interior and it encourages the mosses to colonize the exterior of the container.

“In addition, I applied small moss colonies directly to the hypertufa for a jump start in this colonization process, which can take many years on it’s own,” says David.

I particularly liked the way David used a piece of moss-covered wood as an accent in the dish. It’s subtle, earthy, and I like how it softens the hard line of the hypertufa dish.

Making hypertufa troughs has become increasingly popular.   Making one for your own moss dish garden is a good project to do, especially this time of year, when most of us are itching to get outside. David cautions though, “When using newly made hypertufa, they should be washed with vinegar to neutralize the alkalinity before planting them with bryophytes.”

My empty, discarded hypertufa trough is looking like a blank canvas to me right now. My next email will be to David Spain to inquire about getting moss for my own usherance of peace.

 

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.

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