Jan 14, 2008
Mad for Moss
Maybe I've been watching too much NFL, but with Randy, Santana, Sinorice, and Jarvis all hogging the headlines, it's no wonder I've got moss on my mind. But I'm not thinking about the 200-pound, fast-as-lightning gridiron gods; I'm thinking about the tiny green stuff that ever so quietly blankets the masonry and glows emerald in the morning light.
And I'm thinking about it because it's time to give my urbanite retaining wall a little verdance of its own, and there's nothing like the green patina of moss to create a feeling of age and presence. But where to start?
Online, there's a lot of talk about moss, but fairly little detail. To create the slightly acidic environment moss prefers, some people recommend blending samples of moss along with some buttermilk, then painting the resulting slurry onto the desired surface. Others recommend using beer instead of buttermilk. Still others recommend beer and buttermilk. There's also advice to just lay the moss down like miniature sod, and even to use super glue.
Not wanting to introduce cyanoacrylate into my garden, I think I'll stick with the Osterizer approach. But which additive? How much? I certainly don't have a definitive answer, so I'm going to try a few different approaches and report here on the progress. I've also read that potter's clay or a water retention gel can help the mixture adhere to a rocky surface, so I might try either that (or perhaps some of my clayey garden soil).
My first step is to collect some mosses that are growing locally, in conditions and locations comparable to my intended target. It doesn't get much more local than the front walk of the house across the street, as well as the driveway and Quercus lobata next door. I'll use a putty knife to scrape the moss up, "roots" and all, then divide it up into portions and blend each into a different recipe. Then I'll use a paint brush to spread the mess onto my rock wall… and wait!