The Moss Garden at Midsummer

If someone had said to me in the fall of 2010, “These next two winters are going to be miserably cold, wet, and long.  You should totally get out there and garden like crazy almost every day!’  I’d have been all like, ‘Nah, forget it.  Yo, Homes, to Bel-Air!’  Like most people, I like to be outdoors when it is pleasant.  Still, if I had been a soothsayer and thrown runes and divined a chicken  or said some other sort of sooth, I could not have foreseen a better time to begin a moss garden.

It has been dry for about five weeks now, which has forced me to water very frequently for the benefit of the six hundred or so vascular plants in my enhanced Mitigation plantings; the mosses appreciate it also.  They are at their most photogenic, I think, in the filtered morning sunlight.  I took all the photos the morning of August 10, just slightly past the midpoint of Summer.

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6 Responses to The Moss Garden at Midsummer

  1. croftgarden says:

    Green and pleasant shade. alas my moss garden shriveled before I could get a watering can too it. So I reverted to sedums which are set to take over my stone garden and the world!

    • calvincaley says:

      Moss loves humidity even more than shade, and I’ll bet any airborne moisture just blows away…to me that is the toughest part of seaside gardening, the ‘dessicating winds.’ Sedums and lichen are where it’s at!

  2. Would you believe it is so wet and cool here this summer that mosses rule, even in the open ? I have mowed my lawn at least once a week here for the past 7 years. This year I have mowed it twice. In Spring here which comes far later than your’s, it takes the grasses a bit of a while to get established as the moss is dense and thick. Eventually it warms up and mosses go into decline and the warmth and sunlight favour the grasses. This has not been the case this year. Very strange only having to have mowed twice the entire season. And it’s not a matter of lack of moisture, we’ve had rain almost every day. It’s cool as well. Two days ago I had to turn on my house heating unit. I hate temps below 70F or 21C. Last night it was 50F outside. Insane!

    I’ve written some on Biological soil Crusts. However I did an unusual article on mosses. lickens and bacteria in these Boreal and Temperate Forests where such rules as King. Though such Bio-Crusts are associated with drylands like deserts, they basical all accomplish the same thing, they make soil. Where we live in Sweden the soil is extremely shallow in many places even in most of the forests which are rather large. But they are only large in so far as they receive constant rain. Transplant this geologic environment to So-Cal and everything dies. Bio-Crusts break up this granite surface left over from ice-ages and create what soils there are. So i wrote it about a much more rapid growth of these varieties to illustrate just what all of them do no matter what part of the planet they live in.

    Beautiful pictures there. Over here the Magpies chrun up the mosses and lichens looking for grubs, worm and other insects. In the process these chucks fall off, degrade and become newer soils and the bare spots on rocks are again quickly covered over by these living thriving mats and the process starts all over again next year.


    • calvincaley says:

      We had near-record rains and much lower than average temperatures here until late July, so I know what you mean–it has been nearly identical for over two years now, though I am certain at your latitude ‘cool, wet weather’ is a different animal entirely.

  3. Nice! I love moss. I don’t have a moss garden per se, just some shady areas where the moss seems to like growing between my pavers. I’ve thought of doing something to get it to grow in more areas, but haven’t gotten around to it.

  4. Pingback: Didn’t see that one coming | A Thistle in My Sensitive Area

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