I call it The Mossmaster 3000

The Holy Grail of moss gardens: The Bloedel Reserve. Photo by Corene Caley

There is a seventh layer to the forest, too; or at least in my opinion, there is:  Moss.  Not the creeping groundcovers like thyme, baby’s tears, or corsican mint–or even the ones called ‘moss,’ the Scotch and the Irish.  Those are actually also a low-growing, creeping plant.  I mean the honest-to-goodness, rooted on the ground (or log, or rock), feeding on the air, spore-makin,’ prehistoric moss. 

 In my old garden I’d just take some moist earth and rub it on a Japanese lantern or a rock, and after a couple of seasons, there it was–or in the case of my aggregate garden bench, one day of my daughter using it as a muddy play table means scraping and cleaning it for years so your butt doesn’t get soaked.  There is a lot of folklore about moss and how you can get it to grow.  Local gardening expert and radio personality, Ciscoe Morris http://www.ciscoe.com/ , regularly gives his recipe of buttermilk, moss, and water whizzed in the blender.  Just paint it on with an old brush.  

A couple weeks ago, I went to Goodwill and bought a blender to do just that.  There I am, walking through the thrift store with my stained and beat-up looking MixMaster.  People are looking at my blender and making yuck faces all over the store.  (Really? Your kid is licking toys at Goodwill and you are wrinkling your nose at my new old blender?)  It is pretty disreputable…but perfect for mixing up a moss smoothie.

However, I have a lot of ground to cover, literally, and I want moss everywhere.  I bought a book, THE reference on moss gardening ( http://www.amazon.com/Moss-Gardening-Including-Liverworts-Miniatures/dp/0881923702/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1303142100&sr=1-1 ).  From it I have learned that the best way to grow moss is to keep your shady ground bare,

This is not what my clearing looks like. Yet. Photo by Corene Caley

and in a decade or so you’ll be covered in moss.  I don’t have that kind of time

Eventually the city is going to come back, and I want my five large back.  I need moss now.

So I am going to take a shotgun approach:  I am going to use all methods.  Blender, harvestand transplant from elsewhere on the property, keep my dirt bare and w-a-i-t, maybe I’ll even order from here: www.mossacres.com .   It’s going to be like the Navy, except if it’s not moving, I’m not going to paint it…I am going to grow moss on it.

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7 Responses to I call it The Mossmaster 3000

  1. Heather says:

    Great article, and lovely photos!
    I too need moss and have started transplanting small hunks from a secret source 😉 But, I think I may give the blender method a whirl soon…

    • Calvin says:

      I have heard about it a lot, but I have never actually heard of anyone DOING it. We’ll see. If it works you can borrow the Mossmaster 3000. No use wasting $5 at Goodwill and having folks there pass judgement on you.

    • Calvin says:

      I am going! I’m reluctant to use too much buttermilk or yogurt based moss mixtures because of the whole ‘smelly foods attract unwanted wildlife’ thing. I have no idea whether that pack of coyotes I hear out back has a flavor for dairy. I am excited to test my theory of beer diluted in warm water…if I spray that around I don’t think it will attract animals. Party animals, maybe.

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