Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Wednesday Vignette: Moss

Moss makes me happy.  I don't know why that is but I'm always delighted when it appears in our garden.  Maybe it's a reminder of the rain that inevitably precedes its appearance.  Maybe it's that it asks nothing of me.  Or maybe it's that it covers bare stretches of dirt in bright, beautiful green.

Moss forming on the area above the concrete "stairs" my husband put in to provide safe passage down the steep back slope, some of it an almost florescent green


It temporarily fills in the cracks between the paving stones that make up the large, otherwise barren space that is our driveway.

Moss adds life to the permeable paving without interfering with its function


Moss isn't as common here as it is in rainier climates and it doesn't develop fat clumps as it does elsewhere.  It largely disappears once our cool, rainy season is over, although it hangs on in one spot in the front garden.

This dirt path used to be entirely in shade with hedges on both sides, providing a perfect environment for moss year-round.  Now that the hedge on the left has been removed, I wonder if the moss will hold up to the increased sun exposure during the warm weather months.
Ming, who I lost to long-term illness in 2014, loved this area of the garden


Ultimately, maybe it's just that moss heralds the new plant growth that comes with cooler weather here.  Even as winter has only now arrived, the appearance of the moss has me scouring the garden for the first signs of the promise of spring.  And there are some!

From left to right, all at the bottom of the back slope previously devastated by the heatwave that kicked off the summer of 2016, fresh foliage of:  Zantedeschia aethiopica and Centranthus ruber; noID Narcissus; and self-seeded Pelargonium "White Lady' 


More on the wonders of moss can be found here and here.  Visit Anna at Flutter & Hum for more Wednesday Vignettes.


All material © 2012-2016 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

26 comments:

  1. in a hot dry garden there is something, encouraging and reassuring about moss growing. I remember that especially in Porterville.

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  2. I'm with you 100%. Moss is awesome and such a delightful surprise in the fall/early winter. It's amazing how it can survive dormant for so long and in such adverse conditions, just to come right back when it starts to rain!

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    1. I suppose I should have come to expect the moss after the start of winter rains here but it still always hits me as a delightful surprise.

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  3. I love moss too! Ming was such a beauty.

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    1. It's funny how looking at that mossy garden path brought memories of Ming back to mind after an absence of over 2 years. Maybe it's partly holiday melancholy...

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  4. No moss here...yet, but maybe todays rain(!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) will help. Your neon moss is very cool.

    "Heavy Rain" predicted Saturday! Wheeeeeeeee! Santa is coming early!

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    1. The forecasts made it sound as though any rain today was unlikely. Happily for us, those gloomy forecasters don't know everything. We got almost a tenth of an inch with more possible tonight and Weather Underground says 100% chance for significant rain Friday night here. Santa is SO much more responsive to entreaties than Mother Nature it seems.

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  5. I saw the word moss in your link on Anna's post, and thought "Surely not!" But there it is! Isn't it great? We have tons, of course. It was so sweet to see Ming again.

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    1. We don't ever get the kind of moss (much less lichen) that you get in the PNW, Alison, but I'm always happy when I catch sight of that bright green, no matter how ephemeral. Seeing it this year brought back memories of the winter Ming and I spent on regular garden walks before he lost his battle.

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  6. I love moss too; that brilliant green is wonderful! I don't think I've seen any here at any time of year... ;-)

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    1. My old garden was quite shady but I don't remember seeing moss anywhere but on one stucco wall there in all the years I tended it. Perhaps it gets just the right mix of shade and sun here.

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  7. I like to scrape up the moss that grows on the concrete in my side yard utility area and put in in a low saucer for winter on the front porch. We are having a good moss year up here so far !

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    1. That's a good way to ensure you enjoy it, Kathy. Here, I think I'd be afraid that the Santa Ana winds would blow (as they did earlier this week) and dry up anything in a saucer in a flash.

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  8. I, too, love moss. Rich, emerald green is one of my favorite colors, then add the texture of velvet and it is swoon-worthy!
    I'm surprised to learn that moss grows in your hot, dry climate. It must be very tough, adapted to be dormant in extreme weather.

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    1. It generally doesn't stick around for long, except in that one area where, until we removed the second hedge, it was well protected from direct sun. Wikipedia says that some mosses can survive desiccation for months, then rehydrate with exposure to a water source.

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  9. I wish you were on Instagram, I posted a very mossy shot of some trees earlier this evening. Maybe I can remember to email it to you. I too love moss, and get to enjoy it here...a lot.

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    1. I just picked up your email. The PNW does moss right!

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  10. It's amazing how moss can burst into life after a long dry season. We have lots of moss, but even here many species go dormant in summer. They don't disappear entirely, but they do dry out and fade to a dull green. Then when the rains return, they become lush and verdant again. It's magic.

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    1. I probably need to be more attentive to discern how the moss morphs over the course of the year. I'm fairly certain the patches between the driveway paving stones dry and fade in just the manner you describe. I haven't noticed that on the back slope, though.

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  11. I share your love of moss. So beautiful in nooks and crannies.

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    1. It does squeeze itself into all sorts of places!

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  12. Moss in paths can be great but what happens when you get too much. Our cobble drive needs a good clean up every few years. see https://glebehouse.wordpress.com/2016/08/27/disaster-update-and-cobbles-complete/

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    1. I can see you had a problem, Steve. You get a LOT more rain than we do I expect - the dry conditions here and our warmer temperatures keep the moss from getting out of control. It's perhaps one of the few favors Mother Nature has done for us recently.

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  13. Hooray for rain finally and for the return of your moss! Ming always did have good taste (and beautiful blue eyes.)

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