Tuesday, January 12, 2016

An Old Mossy Bench

It's been an odd winter. No snow yet, other than an ice coating for a day that then slid off the roof and made a mess. The local ski area couldn't even make enough snow to open until last weekend, and then it poured rain when they did. Some beautiful sunrises lately, though.

I decided to decorate the potting bench. I don't know why -- it's a work station and it gets dirty and attracts whatever junk a garden uses, so spiffing it up is pointless.

I experimented with putting some tchotchkes on the potting bench, because I had them. Like a small collection of license plates from cars we either used to own or never owned.

The mesh wire across the top of the bench is there to hold hooks for hanging garden tools. But my tools always wound up somewhere else, not on their proper hooks, so I abandoned that organizational bright idea and took all the hooks down.

On the top shelf I put four brass garden ornaments, because I see the top of the bench from inside, now that the desk is right up against that window. Now I look out and see a shy ladybug, a brassy cricket, a sleepy dragonfly and a morose turtle. They are company as I type at the desk.

The bench itself is weathering into an old mossy ark of a thing. When it was brand new in early 2007 the cedar was fresh and bright and the tool hanging system on the mesh backing held promise. Jim built this for me in the basement and then we couldn't figure out how to get it up the stairs and outside, but we managed.

Over the past nine years the wood has weathered and darkened, as cedar does. It has also grown quite a crop of lichens and moss, since the bench is up against the shady north side of the house.

I dig the moss out and transplant it into the garden in small spots where I want some mossy ground cover, and each time I do that, the moss regrows on the bench, as well as in between the pavers below it. I think it is Leucobryum, pincushion moss.

I like the moss, actually, and the lichens and the aged darkening of the bench. But the cedar planks are constantly slimy and slippery and that's not good on my work surface. The north side of the house really keeps this area dark and wet.

Dressing it all up with garden ornaments and license plate displays isn't helping with the slime and mossy decrepitude. But I like the aged look and I am fascinated with how moss grows, and the four little brass creatures just outside my window do make me smile.

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