Wednesday, 1 October 2008

MOSS ON A ROLLING STONE, with apologies to anyone called Cyril.

A desperate letter in this morning's post asks for help:  
'I've tried various solutions,' the writer pleads, 'but nothing seems to keep the moss off my asphalt drive.  Can you please suggest a remedy.'  (I've paraphrased.)

I replied with a reference to the Saiho-ji garden in Kyoto, where moss was never intended but turned up anyway and has been loved and admired by all for, ooh, about seven centuries.  Kyoto is a place I'd love to visit, mainly because of the gardens.  I suggested to my correspondent - let's call him (and it's almost always a 'him' in such cases) erm,  Cyril, yes, definitely a Cyril - that he might like to consider taking a leaf out of the Kyoto book.   I wondered if it had occurred to him that moss might look just a tad more attractive than clean tarmac.  I await Cyril's response, but suspect it may not be very positive.

Moss grows on you.  (ha ha)  I've even begun to enjoy its presence in the lawn and actually welcome it in the mini-meadow where the yellow rattle has nicely impoverished the grass.  In Singapore, in the National Orchid Garden - picture above - they encourage greenery to proliferate on the statuary and that makes a nice relief from the parti-coloured multiple intergeneric hybrid orchid flowers which look like plastic toys.

I love mossy tree trunks, too, but you need to live in the west for those to be commonplace.  The  Betula utilis - pictured -  is at RHS Rosemoor where they have rain and cool in just the right quantities.   A wonderful silver and green moment.  If only my trunks were this full of moss!

Ferns are perfect chums for moss, and in our deep shade, I try to nurture the bryophytes between them.  But they won't be nurtured and have a minds of their own.  You just have to do the  Saiho doodah thing and provide the right habitat - then the moss will come and then it will stay, a soft, velvety green carpet -  Rolling Stones or no.

I feel sorry for Cyril, but hope he might be able to see the point.


  1. I have been really slow but I didn't realise that this was you. I am sorry. Was it my imagination or were anonymous until this post?
    I hope so or else I really am losing les marbles.

  2. Ah, Don Colborneone.


    Welcome to the blogsphere, Godfather.

    Meglio di fortuna a voi


  3. More like Grandfather than Godfather but I wish I'd thought of 'Colborneone.' Must get some cotton wool for putting in the cheeks and go in for a bit of Stanislawsky - or however you spell it - method acting.

    James - I never intended to be anonymous in the long run, but wanted get some clue on the technical aspects of blogging before coming out. It's great fun - just like vanity publishing without the expense.

    I just hope I can dare to be as rude as I'd like, when necessary, without being anon.

  4. I have given in to moss in my garden. This summer is in growing in my borders to such an extent I am thinking of giving up on the cottage garden style and going Japanese!!

  5. Helen (PG) - I thought of you when I read this because of our conversation about moss in your borders last week at Malvern!

  6. Let there be moss! And there was moss and it was good.

    BTW why is James so worried about losing his marbles? Does he still have any to lose then? ;-)

    Have fun in gardenblog-o-sphere!

  7. I love the moss that traces the edges of all of my patio stones. For some reason the moss is only colouring between the lines. The pattern of moss and lichen on my tree trunks makes them infinitely more interesting. I would love to figure out a way to get the grass out from what is slowly becoming a moss lawn under the willow, a way that doesn't involve tweezers.

  8. My paving stones are lined with peristent weeds. How I wish it was moss instead. Perhaps if I get a Kyoto stone figurine to put onto the path, the moss will be attracted, like moths to a lamp...

    Have a great day,