We have been on this property for two and a half years–exactly halfway through the five-year Mitigation Period–and I began my ‘Do Over’ in the clearing in February of 2011. Because of the naturally occurring native mosses here and there, I decided that a moss garden would bring the whole forest clearing ‘look’ together.
Using George Schenk as my moss guru, I began transplanting smallish pads of moss about the clearing, and cribbing a page from the spectacular Moss Garden at the Bloedel Reserve, filling in some of the blank soil with low-growing ground covers which resemble bryophtic moss; and also some other plants analogous to the native mosses and Selaginella (selaginalogous!). I had read that it could take years to fully establish a moss garden. It isn’t a gardening style for the impatient.
It is only two years later, and moss now covers 90% or more of the soil in the clearing and the surrounding woodland margin. The non-native groundcovers are being consumed, covered, and colonized by the native mosses. Even my Elongated Applications of Weed-Suppressing Mulch show the viridian starts of moss colonies–as I have previously confessed, they are NOT Elongated Applications of Weed-Suppressing Mulch, but are in fact the paths I was not supposed to have, where I covered the habitual track of deer through the woods with cedar chips. It is very difficult to grow many things in this clearing–plants, for instance–but moss grows like crazy. It was a good choice.
I have religiously kept the ground clear of weeds and competing vegetation, and no Zen monk-in-training ever collected leaves with greater thoroughness than I (Zen monks don’t use gas-powered leaf sucker/shredders, though). I relinquish ownership of the clearing next week, and who knows what will become of it; but I am extremely pleased with where I got to at just the halfway mark of the five-year plan.