Moss Garden: the secrets of creating decorative green masterpieces at your dacha
Moss is an inhabitant of humid and shaded forests, so we rarely encounter it in life and know little about this amazing plant. In fact, once upon a time he could replace a medical bandage and show the way to lost mushroom pickers. Adherents of environmentally friendly housing still use dried plants to insulate their homes. And we are more interested in the decorative side of moss: is it possible to use it in landscape design and grow it yourself in the country house.
“Velvet carpet” as a decorative decoration
Mosses are unusual in their structure and lifestyle. Unlike other country representatives of the flora - trees, grass, flowering plants - they do not have roots and flowers, however, outgrowths that replace leaves have a unique decorative effect.
A variety of colors, from bright green to red-brown, allows you to create unusual velvety lawns, decorate alpine hills and rockeries, "age" brick fences, tree stumps and stone framing of ponds
Japanese were the first to use moss in landscaping. They noticed that miniature thickets in a certain environment comfortable for them live and develop no worse than garden plants, and in some cases they outshine them with their appearance.
Back in the 14th century, Japanese monks created the Sahoji moss garden, which, having slightly modified, still exists.
The diverse species of mosses and lichens cover small islands, stones, tree trunks, and the soil with a thick multi-colored lawn, creating an atmosphere of peace and silence
The tradition of using moss in landscape design has spread to Europe, and then to other continents, to all regions where the climate has the potential for these special plants to grow.
The most popular decoration method suitable for a summer cottage is the creation of mossy stone, which is part of a stone garden or rockery. Half covered with green velvet, the stone takes on a completely different look - more ancient, mysterious, fabulous.
Mosses and lichens organically fit into the composition of coniferous forest trees: covering the lower parts of the trunks, they simultaneously protect them from drought and overheating
In terms of the possibility of decorating large and small forms, moss is universal. It perfectly “ages” statues, vases, fountains and garden sculptures located in the shade, but it also serves as an excellent additional protection for roofs of houses and arbors. And of course, as a cover plant, it frames garden paths, small flower beds, ponds and the banks of streams.
Secrets and rules of growing moss
If you are an experienced florist and have already learned how to grow flowers, care for lawns and harvest a rich fruit crop in the fall, you can safely start breeding moss and decorate a country decor or fence with it.
Beginning designers can independently grow mosses or lichens, having comprehended the basics of caring for unusual representatives of the flora.
Where is the best place to plant a moss garden?
As you know, moss loves partial shade and a large amount of moisture, so before purchasing decorative species in a store or by self-extracting them in the forest, make sure that your suburban estate has an area that meets these requirements.
For example, it may be a small area of coniferous or mixed forest in which pine, spruce, larch or fir grow.
As a rule, coniferous branches create the necessary penumbra, and the soil contains a sufficient amount of water. If the light pine grove is located on dry sandy soil, it is not suitable for growing mosses
The north side of the gazebo or building, where the sun looks early in the morning or late in the evening, is also suitable for creating a velvet carpet. A small amount of ultraviolet light can become useful - under the sun's rays, peculiar leaves change color and acquire many interesting shades.
A great place for the first landing of moss is garden soil. From small fragments of mossy sod, you can collect a surprisingly beautiful lawn shimmering in different colors.
Moss pads can be planted under the crowns of trees, and in open, but shaded areas - they form beautiful, unique in appearance lawns
If a wetland accidentally remains in the country house, it is moss that can become the main decorative element for decorating it. A small pond with aquatic plants is placed in the center of the plot, and the banks of the reservoir and the surrounding area are formed using various types of bryophytes and lichens.
The scattering of moss-covered stones, the mossy old cracked jug, and the decorative boat, which buried its nose into the soft mossy shore, harmoniously fit into such an extraordinary landscape.
Shadow and moisture are not the only conditions for the successful growth of moss. Experienced florists recommend a preliminary study of soil acidity. Ideally, the pH should be between 5 and 6.5 units.
Preparation of plant material
So, we found a site for the behavior of the experiment, it remains to acquire the plant itself. We will not deal with the cultivation of moss, but we will immediately find adult plants - at least in order to immediately see the result. We have two options available:
- buy several decorative types in a flower shop;
- go to the forest and get samples yourself.
The first option is good in that it will be possible to acquire different types of color and growth characteristics. However, there is no certainty that they will quickly take root on your site, so be sure to ask the seller where and in what conditions the proposed specimens were grown. Purchased moss is fed with fertilizers and processed from diseases in order to get better after moving.
Plants from the nearest forest are likely to quickly become accustomed to a new place of residence, if it looks like a different place of growth. Where can moss be found in its natural habitat? First of all, in the nearest coniferous forest.
Select the types that you will use: if you decide to decorate the stone, remove the pillows from the stones, wood moss will decorate the tree trunks, and the green carpet covering the soil will be useful for decorating alpine slides and lawns
Thickets of moss can be found in the city. Visit old parks and squares, ancient architectural monuments with high stone fences, overgrown ponds - somewhere you will surely stumble upon a thick green carpet.
Try to find as many different species as possible, differing in height, shade and growing conditions - experimenting with them, choose the most resistant plants that are suitable for your site
Choose mature, healthy specimens that are rich in color and density. Do not tear out plants or cut off only their tops. It will be correct to dig a pillow from all sides and gently separate it from the base.Recent entries In April, I process roses so that no pests encroach on my beauties
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Try not to damage the decorative upper and lower outgrowths. Carefully fold the collected pads (pieces of mossy sod) into a basket with a wet piece of cloth at the bottom. When filling the basket, be sure to cover the samples so that they are not exposed to direct sunlight and moisture does not evaporate ahead of time.
The nuances of proper planting of moss
To begin with, the moss planted in the fall takes root much better. You can try spring planting, and then analyze the difference in the results. Perhaps your conditions are ideal for spring work.
The filler soil is best prepared in advance. Make a nutrient substrate: mix black soil and peat in equal parts, add a small amount of clay and expanded clay. Peat and expanded clay will help maintain moisture in the dry period.
If moss is found in the forest or on the shore of the lake, take the soil in the old place of growth - it is ideal for adaptation in a new territory
Further we carry out the following actions:
- We take a bucket, a basin or a friend's convenient container, fill it with clean (preferably key) water and lay the collected or bought mossy sod in layers to nourish it with moisture before planting.
- If, during your absence, the place chosen for planting was covered with leaves or overgrown with weeds, we remove all that is superfluous so that a clean, “bare” patch is kept free from overgrowth.
- The soil that is suitable for the characteristics is simply loosened a few centimeters in depth (up to 5 cm, no more), in the opposite case, we dig a lot of mini-holes and fill them with pre-prepared substrate or soil brought from the forest.
- We plant moss pads according to a project invented in advance - randomly, in stripes, in a checkerboard pattern. You can use the same color pieces, collecting a plain rug, or you can use colorful fragments to form patterns and ornaments.
- For subsequent growth and renewal, it is recommended to leave small intervals between the planted islands.
- We make sure that the pieces of turf fit snugly against the soil, leaving no air gap. However, it is not worth it to press plants too tightly.
- After planting, a fresh lawn must be watered, and in the future, make sure that the humidity is at the required level.
As you can see, the landing rules are pretty simple. Let's look at a few more features.
When planting moss on an alpine hill, additional initial fixation is required so that pieces of sod do not peel down. To fix them on a slope, we just stick in thin sticks (toothpicks are also suitable) or pieces of wire. Later, when the moss grows, they can be removed
On old stumps, only those specimens that were taken from a similar surface — decaying wood — are well “nested”.
On the contrary, if you find a beautiful effective specimen in a forest on a rotten stump and want to decorate it with a summer cottage, you will have to get an old stump, a dumped log or a piece of wood with traces of decay
Sometimes a flat mossy surface looks dull and monotonous. To revitalize the composition, we use partner plants. The inhabitants of coniferous forests are suitable:
- berries (lingonberries, blueberries, strawberries, blueberries);
- low flowers (e.g. violets);
- any types of lichens, including moss.
These tips are good for a mossy lawn, and now consider how to grow moss on stones. To do this, you need a mixture of pieces of moss, water and forest soil. The listed components are mixed in a blender, and then applied to the surface of the stone.
The first time will require additional care. You can cover the stone with a film for several days, arranging from time to time a short ventilation.
A stone placer looks beautiful and laconic against the backdrop of a green carpet, but it is better to pick up not bright granite fragments, but ordinary gray cobbles
Sometimes a mixture is prepared on a biological basis. A little sugar, kefir, water are added to the mossy turf, whipped and a stone is coated with a sticky mass. Products fix the plant particles and play the role of a nutrient mixture.
Instead of kefir, you can use yogurt or beer, instead of sugar - any sweet syrup. In this way, not only stones are decorated, but also stone fences, brick buildings, wooden fences.
With good growth of moss on concrete, stone and wooden surfaces, graffiti, ornaments and "live" drawings can be created from its fragments.
How to care for mossy lawns?
Like any lawn, flowerbed or rocarius, the brow man requires regular maintenance, which consists in moisturizing, thinning, updating and elementary cleaning. Moss grows rather slowly: the first young pads will appear no earlier than 4-5 weeks after planting. They will arise near the “parental” nests from all sides or in one direction that is most favorable for growth.
At this stage, you should adjust the size of the "rug" if you need it to be in a strictly limited framework. Until young shoots have grown, plantings should be kept moist.
It happens that plants do not take root and die. It’s not scary: pick up another look and drop it off in the same place. Sometimes moss dries due to lack of moisture or strong exposure to sunlight. Abundant watering may revive dried plants
Unlike a traditional lawn, bryozoans do not need a regular mowing. However, it is necessary to monitor its purity. Forest litter will not only spoil the aesthetics of the decorative coating, but will also cause the death of moss or the appearance of ugly “bald patches”.
It is very simple to protect a velvet rug from autumn leaf fall: spread a fine mesh over the entire area of the lawn, and then simply roll it along with the leaves.
Popular types of moss for country design
Soft green pads of a round, slightly convex shape form Leucobrius moss.
Plants of the genus Leucobryum take root well and develop in the shade, on moist sandy soils, although a small amount of sunlight will also not harm them
For decorating stone or concrete walkways, patios or low fences, Hypnum moss is used. Previously, it was in dried form that it was used to warm wooden huts.
The genus Hypnum feels great on stony, wood and brick surfaces, although it is often used to create lawns.
All mushroom pickers are well acquainted with Kukushkin flax - small vertically elongated columnar plants. This is an ordinary polytrichum, a vivid representative of Japanese moss gardens.
Plants of the genus Polytrichum commune prefer moist forest soil or wetlands. In favorable conditions, the plant reaches a height of 35-40 cm
Green moss Dikranum is a real find for decorating stones and concrete fences.
Small rounded pads of a bright green shade are characterized by a low height - up to 4 cm, therefore, they hold perfectly on vertical surfaces
Fern moss creates thick picturesque thickets and externally with its carved leaves really resembles a fern.
Thuidium simply adores the shady patches of the garden and loneliness, so beware of composing compositions from this moss and other plants that it will surely survive
Sphagnum is often used in indoor floriculture, and for the cultivation of ornamental plants in the garden. The stems of the plant are added to the flower soil to make it more loose and soft.
Peat moss has many bright hues - from pinkish red to deep green. The best places for its growth are the banks of streams, artificial ponds and natural reservoirs.
As you can see, growing moss is not so difficult. Breeding it does not require financial costs, and the benefits are incomparable: even in the dull season of the off-season, evergreen rugs will delight you with the brightness of colors.