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How to grow a moss garden?


 
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Shar D
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 16, 2009 5:37 pm    Post subject: How to grow a moss garden? Reply with quote

Hi All,

We have a large garden backing on to a wood, which makes the back of the garden shaded & prone to moss. We are just about to get the garden done properly for the first time... we will have a large lawn to the front, so would like to do something interesting with the back and, having looked up Japanese moss gardens, are completely hooked on the idea!! Only problem being, the only info I can find is on how to remove moss, not encourage it!

Anyone know if & where you can buy moss seed? Or would it have to be transplanted from somewhere? We could have a ready supply from the woods but don't want to be doing anything illegal!!

All suggestions greatly appreciated Very Happy

Great site by the way!

Shar D
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Liparis
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 17, 2009 1:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Most mosses are protected by law. In fact, it's illegal to dig up any plant from the wild without a licence, unless that plant is on your own land and is not protected under CITES (Convention for International Trade in Endangered Species), which prevents any country digging up a plant on Appendix I, II or III. I think with Appendix II and III you can collect seed only. CIES apart, most countries have their own laws prohibiting such things.
I believe there are some US companies selling (legally) Irish Moss seeds. If my information is correct, you should be able to purchase and import this without a licence, but check with the Dept of agriculture and Fisheries at Maynooth.
Try googling Moss Seeds, I'm sure it'll turn up something.
Bill.

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Shar D
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 17, 2009 11:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for your reply Bill.

Thought it might be illegal alright! Had seen those Irish moss seeds before I posted here.... am a bit afraid of checking how much shipping would cost me!! Also, would prefer to spend my money here if at all possible Very Happy

Struck me as funny that you can buy Irish moss seeds in America, but no-one I've spoken to here has ever heard of them... Confused

Thanks again,
Shar D
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Liparis
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 17, 2009 3:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's a typical kind of thing, Shar. It's highly unlikely that it's actually an Irish Moss, but likely one found in the US resembling a type found in Ireland. It then becomes a good selling point calling it Irish moss.
I'm really not sure where you'd get such an item, here or in UK, it's a relatively new form of gardening.
Sustainable forest might be the place to find and take mosses legally because they are going to be cleared eventually. Just a matter of getting permission then. They cleared a forest here about 500 yrds from where I live, it's ideal to stroll over and collect a few small branches and twigs with moss and lichens on for mounting my orchids onto. Usually a landowner won't mind you going over such a site as long as your behaving yourself.
sorry, can't think what the equivelent of the Forestry Commission is here.
Bill.

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Shar D
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 19, 2009 2:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

They cleared a forest up the road from me alright a couple of months ago, worth checking out...

I asked the guy who's going to do my garden about growing moss...he got advice & told me that I should plant grass seed, wait a year to 18 months, then burn the grass off, repeat & moss should start growing in. I'm just wondering should I not just do that now, rather than plant the grass at all?

Shar
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Liparis
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 19, 2009 2:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It certainly seems a logical type of step, but eventually you're going to have difficulty clearing out the grass, perhaps a few years. Your moss species may also be very limited, but I suppose you could introduce other mosses as time goes on.
Paraquat weedkillers, like Gramoxone, were notorious for encouraging moss, unfortunately it's off the market since last year with nothing to replace it. One of the things you will have to do is find a way to deplete the nitrogen wherever you decide to cultivate the moss. Nitrogen burns-off moss. That would be the advantage of sowing grass, it would use up the nitrogen, especially resowing, as the younger the grass, the more nitrogen it will consume.
Bill.

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Liparis
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 19, 2009 2:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry, I've just re-read your post. If the area you want to cultivate is already grassed, does it have moss in it? if so, you could just burn off the grass now and encourage the moss.
Bill.

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Shar D
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 19, 2009 7:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No, there's nothing really there at the moment, the soil is fairly poor..not even many weeds would grow Very Happy

Thanks for explaining the need for nitrogen from the grass...it had sounded like a bit of a waste of time & money so I'm glad I'm not being ripped off!

Shar
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Protein
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PostPosted: Fri May 08, 2009 9:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Shar D

I bought a book on Moss gardening , and although I haven't read it to completion (as it reads more like a novel than it does a practical guide), there are several methods to propagate moss.

Firstly, moss do not produce seeds, but spores. Propagating moss my spores is best left to the professionals.

There are some mosses that can be propagated vegetavily. What recommended is blitzing a clump of moss with buttermilk in a blender and smearing this over rocks, sculptures etc....

Don't waste money buying moss abroad, best use local varieties as they are likely to do better.

Here is post re moss propagation on another forum*
http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/crypto/msg0921145732311.html

And here is the book sitting on my shelf
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Moss-Gardening-Including-Liverworts-Miniatures/dp/0881923702

me
* I presume its not a sin to link to other to forums Question

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