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.