Sunday, April 6, 2014

Off Script

This weekend was nice enough, in the 50s. The ground was still damp but the puddles and icy lakes have disappeared. I had every intention of getting at my loooong list of spring chores, including some major garden expansions and a lot of work needed on the back hill.

Instead, I went completely off script.

I simply wandered out behind the berm and started moving moss to the area edging the dry creek bed.

It's an area nobody sees behind the berm, and it was never on my list of things to fix.

But it is a corner I round multiple times every day on my way to the compost pile, and it was bugging me.  I walk past the bridge, and down into a muddy swale. So, unplanned and without consulting my list, I spontaneously began fixing it.

I added bits of moss from the meadow to the edges of the rocks and around a few of the stone steps.

Then I dug out the muddy grass in the swale, added a couple more stepper stones, and dug up more moss in the meadow and planted it.

You don't really plant moss. It has no roots. You press it in. All it needs to do is make contact with the soil or rocks so it can anchor itself.

It doesn't need acid soil -- in fact it doesn't need soil at all, since it has no roots. Moss grows happily on rocks and on the pavers of my patio. The reason it has a reputation for needing acid soil is because it grows where nothing else will, and that is usually where the ph is not good for other plants or grass.

The only thing moss wants is no competition. It likes sun, at least the types in the meadow do. Once it is established it is fine in drought, it just goes dormant. Moisture brings it back. It has no season, it will grow whenever it is above 20 degrees and moist.

I'll need to keep these moss divisions wet to get them to take. I'll also need to keep grass and weeds out to keep the competition down while they establish.

There is plenty of sun-loving, low-growing moss in the meadow, all along the sunny open paths where Jim mows. Without the competition of weeds, moss grows happily there. I found three different kinds (at least they look slightly different to me, I have no idea what is what) and I mixed them all together around the stepper stones.

I never did figure out how to edge the dry creek bed after I built it several years ago. Lawn growing right up to it looked artificial and the turfgrass really wanted to grow into the stone bed. All summer it required trimming along the edge and it was a lot of work. Here it is in May of last year.

(I never figured out how to end the creek either. It just stops in an area of dirt.)

In September of last year I added stepping stones, but they ended in a funny patch of lawn that was impossible to mow and still needed trimming.

A mossy path all along the edge is a much better look, and if I can get it going it should be much lower maintenance than that awkward patch of lawn.

Looking down the new moss path from the bridge -- the red twig dogwoods look so bright this time of year. At the end of the creek is a twiggy honeysuckle shrub, Lonicera fragrantissima. It's a winter bloomer, shouldn't it have flowers in April now in 50 degree weather? Nothing so far this season. The brown plant on the right is clethra, and it won't green up until very late in spring.

(You can see, looking in this direction, how the creek bed just ends abruptly in a patch of dirt. I need to decide what to do about that.)

Fixing the path by the dry creek bed was not on my list of things to do, but I had fun scooping moss out of the mud in the meadow and pressing it into my little stone path. Muddy work, fun work, but off script. I really need to start over and get back to my spring "to do" list.

No comments:

Post a Comment