If moss companion plants could talk…Spring

Springtime arrives to The Moss Farm in Raleigh, NC. With spring comes the delicate wildflowers along with ferns, Mayapples, and other perennials. It’s been about a year since many have seen each other. Let’s listen to hear what they have to say….

Houstonia caerulea, Bluets.
Moss – Thuidium delecatulum

Down here, HERE, see me? Yoohoo Japanese Painted Fern.  Can you find us?  Over here…we’re baaaaccccckkkkk.  Had a good rest, you?  We are ready to bloom and blow our fool blue heads off.  Who all’s here?


Athyrium niponicum ‘Pictum’, Japanese Painted Fern.
Moss – Thuidium delecatulum

Under the spores, the Japanese Painted Fern mumbles,”ラット, they’re back.  They are so annoying.  Always too happy especially for being blue….be nice…be nice…be nice…Of course I see you, Bluet; welcome back”


 Epimedium, barrenwort
Moss – Thuidium delecatulum and Hypnum cupressiforme

Ah man, I need to stretch…


Epimedium, barrenwort
Moss – Thuidium delecatulum and Hypnum cupressiforme

…That’s better…


Athyrium ‘Ghost’, Ghost Fern
Moss – Thuidium delecatulum and Plagiomnium cuspidatum

Dad  (Japanese painted fern) is here.  I wonder where mom (Lady Fern, A. filix-femina) is too?  I wonder if they’re still talking…


 Asarum canadense, Wild Ginger
Moss – Thuidium delecatulum

Feed me, feed me, feed me….


Hosta ‘Blue Mouse Ears’
Moss Thuidium delecatulum and Bryoandersonia illecebra

This is the year I’ll prove size really does matter…as in the smaller, the better…


Mertensia virginica, Virginia Bluebells
Moss – Thuidium delecatulum and  Hypnum cupressiforme

I’m not English.  I’m not Spanish.  I’m American.  I’m not English-American.  I’m not Spanish-American.  I’m American-American.  OK, give me your best shot…


Hepatica, liverwort, kidneywort, pennywort
Moss – Thuidium delecatulum

Hepatica – Hi, I’m Hepatica.

Virginia Bluebells – May I call you Liverwort?

Hepatica – No, you may not.  Please, call me Hepatica.

Virginia Bluebells – How about Kidneywort?

Hepatica – No please, call me Hepatica.

Virginia Bluebells – How about Pennywort?

Hepatica – No please. I insist. Call me Hepatica!


Pulmonaria officinalis, Lungwort
Moss – Thuidium delecatulum

Please don’t judge all worts by their spots…


Heuchera ‘Tapestry’, Coral Bells
Moss – Thuidium delecatulum and  Hypnum cupressiforme

Does this pink make my hips look big?


 Stylophorum diphyllum , Woodland Poppy
Moss – Thuidium delecatulum

Don’t I look dashing in dew? Seriously, don’t I look good in everything?  You don’t think this moss is stealing the beauty from my showing, do you?  DO YOU?


Podophyllum peltatum, May apple
Moss – Thuidium delecatulum

Push, push, a little more, push….


Podophyllum peltatum, May apple
Moss – Thuidium delecatulum and Bryoandersonia illecebra

There, there, that’s better…


Saxifraga stolonifera, Strawberry geranium
Moss –  Bryoandersonia illecebra
(also a little, tiny, Galium odoratum, sweet woodruff)

I hope stripes are in this year…



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.

11 thoughts on “If moss companion plants could talk…Spring

  1. christine green

    Thank you for adding the names of flowers.I enjoy the pictures and add them to my I photo. Those pictures all are on a slide show that is on my computer screen 24 hours a day. My family and flowers.

  2. Jeff Ruhren

    I have about 10 acres of “lawn”. Right in the middle there is a very thick beautiful large patch of moss. It is the only place in the yard it grows. It is in one of the driest part of the land, with the exception of the spot right next to it. The spot next to it has these tiny check ear type plants accompanied by bright red tiny cactus-like plant and white lichen .

    Anyway, I am really curious, this moss it so dry, it is almost all year long. Crows are always around it. They pack at it and after a file pull out a big white baseball like object. They never let me get close enough to see

    Do you have any ideas on why moss is growing in the dry spot. What type it might be, Also do you have any ideas what anything else is I mentioned??


    Jeff Ruhren

      1. David Spain

        On second thought, you may be referring to a bother type of fungus referred to as pig’s ear. There are many types so i.d. is difficult, but if you google it, I’m sure you see reference photos to help you.

    1. David Spain

      Hey Jeff, as you may learn from this blog, there are over 1,200 species of moss in the U.S. alone. Many acrocarpous mosses grow naturally in dry shade, it is likely an atrichum species in your yard. Shreck like ears doesn’t help much with an i.d. but the red cactus like plants are likely actually a lichen (often called red soldiers) Cladonia cristatella. These are fairly commonly found in dry shade close to mosses and fungi. The white lichen is exactly that, maybe (reindeer moss) Cladonia rangiferina or parmellia. As for the crows prize, this is likely a (puff ball) false truffle or other similar species.
      Thanks for writing and keep curious,
      David Spain

      1. Jeff Ruhren

        I would never have thought moss was so interesting, took it for granted, and it was just “there”.
        Having visiting your site with just one question, you have inspired a new interest as well as a positive diversion from the mess that now surrounds all of us.

        Its rare to find such a knowledgable expert and professional in any field who actually encourages the curiosity of someone that is clueless

        Thanks sharing your wisdom

        Jeff Ruhren

      2. Jeff Ruhren

        I will get photos of the “Shreck ears” I am referring to. I would like to share this curious,tiny and cute little plant (perhaps a form of plant (for lack of a better word) that might fit into the scope of their interest and of this site). Iff you saw the movie Shreck, shape like a horn, they look exactly like his ears, in topology and color, only they are about a quarter inch in diameter.

        Oh,I forgot to mention that the dry moss I am referring to is in the bright sun (absolutely No shade at all 24/7) all year. When you walk on it, it is softer than any deep cushion carpeting ever made. It encourages me to just lie down on it and sleep. Truly amazing. I am curious as to why it pick this particular spot to grow?. I am interested to know if there some type of soil that could be different than the rest of the yard, or a huge rock
        below the surface. It is very strong, about 5″ deep and difficult to remove especially because of a spinal condition I have. Otherwise I’d did through it.

        We have lots of this puffers elsewhere , so that must be it. My dog found one and ate it before I could take it from her.. Is it safe to eat for the dog? I thought puffers only grew above ground?

        This area is said to have natural gas, although I haven’t seen any evidence of it could this be a factor?

        All of these species are extremely healthy, very beautiful, on a miniature scale. My daughter and I made it tiny terrarium with them and it was REALLY pretty.

        One other point of worth mentioning is that all the species I have mentioned (with the exception of the puffers) thrive even in sub- freezing weather. Truly amazing!

        Is it possible that those puffer could be real truffles (I wish)? If so I’ll put up a scarecrow!

        Thanks Again,

        Jeff Ruhren

        1. David Spain

          That sounds good Jeff, why don’t you post your pics on our Facebook page , it’s easier and everyone can enjoy them from there. If the “plants” are as described, 1/4 inch tall and shaped like a miniature iron, is is again likely a lichen species such as Cladonia coccifera, often called pixie cups. As you can learn from this site, mosses are cold hardy so freezing temps are no problem. Kudos on the terrarium with your daughter!

          David Spain

  3. Pingback: Moss People | Moss and Stone Gardens Blog

  4. Carol B. Russell

    I am Chair of the Youth Division of The Garden Club of Shelter Island, NY
    and would like to learn more about Moss Dish Gardens and Terrariums.

    There are many mossy sites here on Shelter Island, NY..and 1/5 of our island is
    a Nature Conservancy called The Marshomack Preserve. My students range in age
    from preK through High School; there are 260 students at the SI School; and I have
    been youth chair for our Garden Club for 15 years. Thank you for your kind help.
    I think that the students, their parents as well as their teachers would be very
    interested in your Moss Gardens.


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