Moss, maple, mortar

The pairing of moss and maples melds together like moss on moist.  This antique Japanese teak rice mortar, inspired David Spain to go with the placement of a Japanese maple, nestled deep in the mortar base.  As David explains,  When I found this 100+ year old teak mortar, I knew it was going to make a very special moss container. The rot resistant teak wood is perfect for a long lasting and compatible material for mosses.

The placement of the Japanese maple, suited this piece nicely, With a piece of this size, adding a larger plant for height interest was possible, so I headed out to the Japanese maple tree farm.  After selecting a couple of specimens, with appropriately sized root balls, I chose this Acer palmatum ‘Toyama Nishiki’, says David.

Pleased with the pairing of the mortar and maple, David then chose three moss rocks, of appropriate scale, and placed them in the shadow of the developing bows of the cascading maple.  Then David added three Ebony spleenworts (Asplenium platyneuron) to balance the plateau offered by the unique shape of the mortar.

Several varieties of moss were added to suggest a miniature scape completeing the vignette.  Campylopus introflexus, Anomodon attenuatus, Anomodon rostratus, Leucobryum glaucum and a little Dicranum scoparium seemed to fit the venue, arranged with pleurocarps on one side and acrocarps on the other.

To finish off the design, David, Tucked and seeded mosses in the pockets and crags of the gracefully aging teak, giving them a head start on their inevitable pairing.


Moss Rocks! will be available in October.  Sign up today so you can be notified when Moss Rocks! are available for purchase.  Moss Rocks! will be sold through Independent Garden Centers and on-line including our own site, where we will also carry other moss-related products.

Until then, think moss.  Moss Rocks!

Words: 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

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

3 thoughts on “Moss, maple, mortar

  1. MA Newcomer

    My question exactly! What ARE the dimensions. Pretty piece. And I just happen to have a maple that needs a good new setting.


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