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I love moss. Flop down beside a trail anywhere (a thing I do often) and you’re sure to find a clump of moss. Which, on closer examination, is doing something spectacular. But really, really small.

The Audubon Society in New England is famous for building boardwalks all over their properties, so you can hike right out onto landscapes you couldn’t possibly reach on foot otherwise. Like great heaving waist-high landscapes of rolling primordial moss and fern, as far as the eye can see. Positively prehistorical. I loved those things. I would sit there for hours. It wouldn’t have surprised me a bit if a brontosaurus had come galumphing down the boardwalk.

I spent the nicer days last week relaying the low unmortared brick wall around the garden that had been knocked about when the new shit farm was installed. Some of those bricks have fine mosses on them. Fine mosses.

And I got to thinking how much I’d like to encourage mosses to grow in all the moss-appropriate places on Badger House. And I got to thinking how I’ve moved to the wettest, geekiest, gardeningest island on the whole planet (with the possible exception of Japan). So I wasn’t at all surprised Google turned up the British Bryological Society.

Mosses are simple souls, I gather. Keep them wet and keep them acid and they will…thrive, you hope. They are also unpredictable.

Anyhow, Project Moss is going to be fun! It’s sort of uncharted territory. Groups like the BBS are more about finding and identifying mosses in the wild. The few definitive books, like Fletcher‘s, are about keeping field-collected specimens alive in pots. Making existing mosses flourish with gay abandon is going to require original science.

Weasel science!


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: February 24, 2009, 7:02 pm

As I was discussing with bad cat robot in the thread below, the one definitive book on the subject is Schenk’s Moss Gardening. That and his Gardening on Pavement, Tables, and Hard Surfaces are winging their way weasel-wards as we speak.

Comment from blake
Time: February 24, 2009, 7:59 pm

Wait, the shit farm?

They have to grow it over there?

Comment from Dawn
Time: February 24, 2009, 8:00 pm

Can you eat moss?

Comment from Mrs. Hill
Time: February 24, 2009, 8:16 pm

Evil old Google, eh? Gotta love the innertoobs!

Looking forward to pictorial progress reports :).

Comment from Allen
Time: February 24, 2009, 8:17 pm

Hey, did I ever mention I could do an impersonation of the recorded voices of most of the subway stations in Tokyo? Valuable skill that. My favorite was Roppongi. RooooponGI!

Nevertheless, Moss supplies!

What? So I do bonsai.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: February 24, 2009, 8:20 pm

I’ve always wanted to do bonsai, but Uncle B calls it “tree torture.” Anyhoo, I bought one once and promptly killed it.

I really am hell on plants.

I have higher hopes for moss.

Comment from Allen
Time: February 24, 2009, 8:39 pm

Weasel, I’ve seen a bonsai specimen that contained only moss and rocks and a little gravel beach. It was really rather nice.

Give moss the same food you would give to Azaleas or Rhododendrons. Yay, is this a garden thread?

I think moss is part of the Musci class, aren’t weasels and badgers musky?

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: February 24, 2009, 8:44 pm

Beer, yoghurt or buttermilk I’ve seen mentioned as moss food. Powdered milk.

No tapwater! The chlorine makes it alkaline. Rainwater only. Or water that’s had a bag of horse manure soaking in.

Oh, this is going to be fun…

Comment from iamfelix
Time: February 24, 2009, 9:45 pm

mosses flourish with gay abandon

Moss is gay??????


Comment from bad cat robot
Time: February 25, 2009, 12:01 am

Yay, moss post!

I usually just have to remove grass and moss appears here. It’s like magic. Lots of pine needles so the ground stays acidic. I have sproingy moss, emerald velvet moss, and moss that looks like low-flying cedar. The best bit is moss is pretty forgiving. I dumped shingles n’ crap from the residing project all over, and it didn’t care. I especially like the idea of lawn care that involves sweeping with a broom instead of using a lawnmower.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: February 25, 2009, 8:26 am

But note that you have to remove the grass: moss doesn’t compete with grass. It can’t compete with anything; it’s too feeble. No root system, nothing. Make conditions favorable, and it may grow. Probably will grow. Make them unfavorable, and it will go away.

As near as I can tell, they can’t even agree whether it’s bad for rooves. Roofers universally say yes, because it holds moisture. Hippies say no, because it keeps the roof cool and protects it from sun.

Comment from porknbean
Time: February 25, 2009, 9:37 am

I’d go with the roofers on that one. At the rate a hippy bathes, I’d be surprised if there wasn’t some moss taking hold somewhere upon their person.

Comment from iamfelix
Time: February 25, 2009, 2:30 pm

Too cute.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: February 25, 2009, 4:05 pm

Awwww…that made Uncle B make a puddle, Felix.

Comment from porknbean
Time: February 25, 2009, 4:38 pm

Awww…lookit their adorable schnozzles.

Comment from Scott Jacobs
Time: February 25, 2009, 11:12 pm

Weasel science!

Well there’s a pair of words that strikes terror into my soul…

Comment from lauraw
Time: February 27, 2009, 1:32 pm

I plucked a gorgeous hunk of moss off a stone in a shady stream a few years ago and tried to keep it alive on my pond’s trickle filter.

Too sunny. It died. Oh, well. The Violet seedlings that were growing out of the moss-hunk did just fine.

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