My obsession with mosses is not a new idea. I have several damp areas in my garden that grows two types of moss. The only moss I have introduced is this dark green moss (below) that I found growing on a decommissioned bridge. This is one thing about moss you shouldn't take it from any wildlife refuge, park or private property unless you have permission. I figured that this bridge will certainly be taken down sometime in the near future so I helped myself to some of it.
The moss below is growing on the base of an old Redbud tree in my garden. These types of moss that grow on the base of a tree are called 'Apron Moss'. Of course these mosses each have a scientific name but that is where I get left behind. Those little red stems are the Sporophytes with capsules on the end. See I am learning.
This beautiful bright light green moss is what has started this whole obsession with moss. It is common as an old shoe because I see it everywhere now. It began growing in what can be a very wet place just outside our fence line.
I remember looking there after the rain soaked in one time and saw all the brilliant green moss shining and wishing it would come on into the garden.
I think it heard me. Because a couple of years ago I discovered a small patch of it growing along a path. I started removing the weeds and grass growing in it to encourage it and it grew. This spring my Idee Fixe (an idea or desire that dominates the mind; an obsession) sprung to life. I just had to get in there and do something with it.
I removed stones from a path that was never used and brought the stones around. I got a few of the stones set and moss around them. Rain was predicted for several days so I called in the big guns. I asked my DB to help me finish the stones so I could get the moss in place before all the rain.
He cheerfully (?) complied. From here you would be looking South to Northish.
I keep harvesting from the side lot.
Trying to fit in 'starter' pieces around the stones. This view is from the North to South.
Since the dark moss came off the old bridge which was concrete I thought I would try a spot of it on one of the stones. I can't wait to see if it grows. Since they have blocked off this bridge to traffic the moss has almost overtaken the bridge. It is quite a sight.
The stones are all tucked in with all the moss I could procure right now.
What I have to do now is wait.
As you see below, the rain has come. Before I could not have walked through here without boots but now I have a nice dry stepping stone path.
What I see from here is potential for more yet. More stones and more moss area.
I have been on two hikes this past year with people that know much more about this subject than I ever will. I have learned about some must have books if you are interested in this subject at all. These three books that I find are most informative and engaging.
The book Common Mosses of the Northeast and Appalachians by Karl McKnight, Joseph Rohrer, Kirsten McKnight Ward, and Warren Perdrizet is a great field guide for my area. At least as close as a book is to my area. There aren't that many field guides to mosses. Mosses aren't appreciated by everyone. When I finally decide which mosses I have I will update with the species. The field guide was suggested to me by my friend that is my go to wildflower expert in these parts. She told me that this was the best field guide she had ever seen or tried to use. I must agree because they tell you how to use the guide, the pictures are excellent and there is so much information.
The book Gathering Moss A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses by Robin Wall Kimmerer is a great read. She is a bryologist yet she also looks at moss through her Native American culture.
The third book The Magical World of Moss Gardening by Annie Martin is where she tells you all about moss gardening and even tells you of places to purchase moss from ethical gatherers and growers. Annie's charming stories and great advise will give you a good read.
There you have it. My Idee fixe that dominates my mind this early spring. Do you have an idea you are working on?
And no I haven't been paid to say anything nice about these books.I bought them of my own accord. I just happen to find them by looking for moss information.