Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Homemade moss!

While waiting for spring to literally unfurl at our house, one fern fiddlehead at a time, I decided I wanted to finally try out a recipe for homemade moss. That's right: homemade moss. My dream is to someday have moss covering every brick and rock I used in my landscaping for last year's Slow the Flow Grant garden makeover at our riverfront property.

I tried to make moss grow years ago in indoor frog exhibits for my former job at the New England Aquarium. It was far too warm and moist and all I got was fungus. I'm willing to try again outside while the temps are still cool and we should be getting spring showers to help the moss along. It's actually a pretty simple method:
12 ounces beer
8 ounces plain yogurt
1 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 cup fresh moss
Blend all ingredients in a blender until looks like, well, a moss smoothie. Then paint it on any porous surface you want moss to grow on. Keep cool and moist and in three months you should see moss growing. Since I've never tried this outside I'm not sure how long it will actually take, but I will post an update in early summer to say if it worked or not. 

The best part about making moss: I doubled the recipe and it kept my three and four year old girls occupied "painting" moss for over an hour.
They painted the bricks edging the woodland garden....

They painted the pots by the front walk...
They painted their stump chairs around the fire pit...
They even painted the trees in the fairy garden.
The only bad part about making homemade moss: because of the beer ingredient my yard smelled a little like a frat house for a few hours afterwards.

As more and more plants emerge every day I will soon know what survived the winter. Already the shoots poking out are bigger and beefier than what I planted last year! I even have a bloodroot about to flower! And I couldn't resist a trip to my favorite garden center today, I went in to buy drought-tolerant grass seed and came out with six low bush blueberries and a cranberry, two plants they didn't carry last year. Mentioning you prefer native plants at your local nursery definitely encourages them to carry more and more.

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