Moss makes me curious. I like it; I want to touch and feel it. I even think it holds some ancient wisdom. I never thought of growing it, though. After all, my sunny wildlife habitat, Helen's Haven, is, well, just that, sunny -- and everyone knows, moss doesn’t grow in the sun, right?
From there, I continued to learn about moss, and I’m fascinated with what I’ve learned.
Learning about moss
As a plantswoman, I wanted to know more about moss. Available literature was limited and, more often than not, the same information about moss was just passed around like a passalong plant. At that time, there was no information available that allowed me to fully understand moss.
In moss’s defense, though, it’s complicated.
I met David Spain when scouting gardens for our area’s Garden Conservancy’s Open Days tour. One day, I found an oasis and worthy candidate -- the moss garden of Richard Urquhart. Mr. Urquhart’s gardener and son-in-law was David Spain.
David and I became fast friends. David took his time to teach me about moss, to explain things in several different ways until I understood. For almost a year now, he has been teaching others, as well, with his mossology and online educational posts demystifying moss.
Moss is trending in a big way; and I don’t see it slowing in the near future. It’s also helpful that at the same time moss is trending, someone like David Spain comes along to teach us about moss in a way we can understand. Even Martha Stewart -- or should I say, especially Martha Stewart, given that Martha is a moss expert herself -- recognized David’s talent and enthusiasm and invited him to be a guest on her TV show.
Growing moss in a cute container
David Spain’s goal is to reach out to people to educate them so they will appreciate moss. Beyond his teachings, he created a gift item with instructions on how to meet moss’ cultural needs. Moss Rocks! can be enjoyed at home -- inside or out; on your desk or deck.
Doreen Howard, garden guru for the Farmer’s Almanac, says, "The minute I saw Moss Rocks! I knew I had to have one. They are so cute, furry and green! And, they're terrific houseplants for someone like me who travels often on business. I live in a frigid climate (along the Illinois-Wisconsin border in Zone 4b), and winters bone-chilling, gray and endless. Moss Rocks! are like green sunshine."
I’m with Doreen, the first time I saw them, I had to have one....or two.
As passionate moss experts, David Spain and Ken Gergle have established themselves as a pioneers in moss cultivation, working to educate gardeners on the perils of wild harvesting mosses and to, instead, help develop sustainable propagation techniques. At the same time, they show you how to have a little piece of moss to care for in your home.
David and Ken, all I can add is, “Mossome!”
Helen Yoest lives in North Carolina and writes about Gardening With Confidence. She's a garden writer, speaker, and garden coach. She's also a field editor for Better Homes and Gardens and Country Gardens magazines and serves on the board of advisors for the JC Raulston Arboretum. You can follow Helen on Twitter and Facebook. To read more by Helen here at Diggin' It, click here.