My Moss Phase

Historians Family Members I will look back on these cold, bleak February days of 2019 as the beginning of my moss phase.

(By the way, when writing "February" is it necessary to also write "cold, bleak" or is that implied?)

I don't know why it took me so long to start planting a few containers with moss.  But now I have started and it looks like moss and I are going to have a long-lived relationship.

For the historical record, we can call this little teacup "container 1" of my moss phase.  It is the first container I planted up with a bit of moss.

Then I planted up containers 2, 3, and 4.

No, I am not going to show all the containers to you. Wouldn't that be like putting all my cards face up on the table in a game of poker or euchre? Would you ever come back to this blog if I showed you everything all at once?

Initially, I was going to plant some moss in a tiny test tube-like container with a stopper in it. I carried around that fancy idea for several days while I looked for those containers which are around here somewhere. Then I happened to run into an expert on bryophytes (which is what mosses are) at my local garden club meeting. The Mad Botanist dissuaded me of the notion of planting moss in test tubes by telling me that I would primarily grow mold in such a closed container.

I most assuredly do not want to grow mold so I set the idea of those containers aside and went in search of other containers to grow the moss in. I've come up with four so far and am on the hunt for more.

Why moss? Moss doesn't need a lot of light so can really be put anywhere in the house. It doesn't need a lot/any soil to speak of which one can tell because my source of moss happens to be on some edging stones on the side of the house.  There is plenty there for the taking and I have no fears of over-harvesting it for my moss projects.

And if it dies, there is more for the taking in my side garden.

Dear Readers, please note that just because I am harvesting moss from my side garden doesn't mean you should go out just any place you'd like where there is moss growing and harvest your own. Stay off both private and public property but by all means, if you have moss in your own garden, go for it.

I have some major ideas for my moss phase, including a centerpiece that will... well, that's all I'm saying about that project as I want it to be a big surprise for my family on Easter.

In the meantime, while I search for more fun moss containers, I am also looking around my bookshelves to see if I have any books on moss gardening. My books are a jumbled up mess so as soon as I finish filing my tax returns, I plan to go through my books and get them organized. Then I'll see if I have The Magical World of Moss Gardening by Annie Martin or Miniature Moss Gardens: Create Your Own Japanese Container Gardens (Bonsai, Kokedama, Terrariums & Dish Gardens) by Megumi Oshima, Hideshi Kimura.

I know I have a copy of Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses by Robin Wall Kimmerer. I had the privilege and pleasure of hearing Robin speak in 2017 in Buffalo, New York when I was there for a GardenComm conference, so I'll find that book and put it on my stack of "read next". I hope it doesn't cause that stack to fall over.

Then later, when it warms up a wee bit more, I'll head out to harvest some more moss.

Want to see container #4?

I already had that little sheep figurine. It looks cute with the moss so now I think I need a few other decorations for some of my other moss garden ideas. Nothing too cutesy and definitely not figurines of garden fairies. They would be insulted and I just don't like those plastic replications of what someone else thinks a garden fairy looks like. I have my own ideas!

So yes, my next challenging project is to sort through all those coupons Michael's sends via email that allow you to stack discounts upon discounts but are somewhat confusing and you never know if you really got the best deal.

Anyway, welcome to my moss phase. Updates to follow.

Note:  Those are affiliate links above.

Another note:  Yes, thank you for asking, my third book, Seeded and Sodded: Thoughts from a Gardening Life, is coming right along. We are checking commas for appropriate tails and counting the dots over the i's.

Yet another note: Thank you to those who have listened to the podcast, The Gardenangelists, that I record weekly with Dee Nash of Red Dirt Ramblings. Please subscribe to us on iTunes and rate us if you'd like. Pass along the word to others, too.  I think long-time readers will enjoy it!


  1. Robins book is wonderful - you should read it if you are going to go into a moss phase. I love to go out where the snow is melting in my backyard and see the green moss doing just fine. Actually it is doing better than the moss I have inside - so I need to think about why that is. Hmmm??? any ideas? It is in a pot like yours but there is also a Christmas cactus growing in the pot. Maybe they don't like sharing a space?

  2. I am also nurturing some moss only mine is outside. I am trying to make a moss garden where it naturally likes to grow. I will be curious to see how your pots of moss do inside. Are you misting them daily? Have fun and keep us updated about your moss.

  3. If you are like I was, Robin's book will captivate you and you will learn so much that you want to know. For one thing mosses don't die, they dry. There are a lot of Mosses and lichens here. I love them both. It might have been better if I had started my Moss phase before I needed my glasses to see everything.


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