Sustainable Studio: Philly Flower Show Inspires a Moss Garden

Martha Stewart isn't the only Hamptonite getting inspiration at the Philadelphia International Flower Show this week.

As an artist I look for inspiration everywhere.  This week, I checked out the Hawaii themed Philadelphia International Flower Show. You wouldn’t believe the amazing things people can do with plants! It very much reminded me of dogs at Westminster – neither the dogs or the plants look the same way in real life as they do at these events.

I rescue and find homes for Pekingese dogs. My dogs don’t look much like the astonishing Malachy who won best in show at Westminster this year. And my plants don’t have much in common with the fancy ones at the Flower Show. Except in the case of the hot new trend: moss!

The Flower Show hosted a packed workshop all about moss that was filled with moss enthusiasts like myself. Moss is having a moment because its low maintence and eco friendly. I went to a talk at the Quogue Wildlife Refuge and learned from Suzanne Ruggles (aka The Barefood Gardener) how we’d all be doing the environment and wildlife a favor if we let our yards turn into meadows or mossy woodlands.

Carol Corcoran of Beaverdam Organic Farms in Westhampton taught me how to make a moss milkshake. Its great if you’d like to get some moss growing on a tree trunk or flowerpot. Crumble a handful of moss along with 2 cups of buttermilk in the blender. Blend and apply to the surface you’d like to see “mossified”. (Yes, it helps to have an old blender lying around the house.) It’s a good project for the spring and fall when the weather will be fairly damp so you don’t have to do much misting with the hose. You can also buy dried moss online, just soak, plant … and the same advice about the misting.

Because I love the challenge of making art and crafts with recycled and found materials, I decided to unleash my inner floral designer and make a moss dish garden using just what I could find in the house and yard.

I took a dish from the kitchen and filled the bottom with stones for drainage. Then I added soil, driftwood, rocks, moss and little plants. For maintenance I’ll water the plants at the roots when needed and mist the moss frequently. This would be a good project to do with the kids because you’ll see all kinds of little plants popping up that you might otherwise not have noticed. Happy Spring!

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