Along with ducks, umbrella salesmen and water companies, mosses are among the few things enjoying this frightful spell of wet weather. The rain brings them out in all their spongy, hummocky, emerald-green glory. Above, I photographed a cluster clinging to the banks of a canal in Bruges, sparkling against the chill water.
Mosses are wonderful things, requiring no cultivation as such and occupying places where little else will grow. They abhor nutrient-rich soils, making them ideal for impoverished situations. Mosses are at their best clinging to walls and branches, or covering woodland floors with undulating carpets of glistening green. The Japanese fathomed this out many centuries ago, allowing moss to take centre stage in their gardens, covering lanterns, rocks and trees, and lending an instant air of antiquity. The UK and Japan enjoy similar maritime climates, so it’s perhaps surprising that we don’t utilise them in British gardens more. As a foil for spring bulbs mosses are second-to-none, providing insulation, decoration and protection from foraging animals.
Mosses can, of course, make a nuisance of themselves. In lawns they crowd-out grasses and quickly turn a fine sward into a trampoline. On roofs they look pretty but will block gutters when dislodged by birds, which love to pick them over in search of food. Nevertheless, mosses are incredible at surviving periods of drought, retreating into themselves but reviving immediately there’s any sign of moisture in the air. Even a prolonged sea mist can be enough to revitalise them. Mosses are proven to remove pollutants such as ammonia and nitrates from the atmosphere, synthesising these nasties for their own means. On balance, I view mosses as truly miraculous plants, deserving of a place in gardens traditional and modern.
19 comments On "Miraculous Mosses"
I love seeing the unusual places they grow and the various brilliant shades of green they display. We have them on many rocks, old concrete blocks, and in vary shaded area of the yard. 🙂
Our neighbour’s garage roof is a rippling sea of green – that is until the blackbirds and seagulls rake it all over for nesting material and chuck it unceremoniously over the garden paths. Moss and slate make quite a slippy combination!
I love this blog so interesting
Very kind, thank you!
I really enjoyed reading this blog. Great images. I was looking at moss on top of some tiles in the garden only the other day, thinking how beautiful this mini hummucky landscape was.
I would like to know if there is any type of moss you could put around potted plants to keep some of the moisture in during the hot summer
Hello Judy, I wouldn’t necessarily use moss to keep moisture in. I tend to use horticultural grit on all my garden plants in containers it keeps the moisture in. I hope this helps.
Very nice images – it feels green and moist! Nothing beats a moss covered boulder or a tree stump – plus a few mushrooms on the last one…
I love mosses! Oh, the smell is so nice.
Amy (my daughter) and I would say that was the fairies’ carpet, and the little mushrooms were their tables, and there was some plant that looked like elves hats, I forget which one.
Great photos, I don’t mind the moss in the lawn, its green and bouncy what more could you ask for!
ps why aren’t I on the list of blogs you follow, are you jealous of my disco balls?
Good question. I have been round and round trying to work that out myself. I think it shows the last 30 or so I followed, not the ones I interact with most. If you don’t mind I will try unfollowing you and then following you again and see if that gets ‘ontheedge’ back onto the list. It’s nothing personal I promise!
You’re back up the top of my list again Gill! As always 🙂
If I knew how to do one of those smiley faces I would x
I think you just type it and it converts? 🙂
Great blog…love the Moss post….I’m a great fan of moss, lichen and fungi….
Thanks Sue, happy you enjoyed the post!
Lovely photos. Mosses are so calming….I am forever bringing home mossy branches and rocks that I find on hikes near my house!
Wonderful. As always, nature does things best.