Michael Hagedorn

A Few Thoughts on Moss Gardens for Bonsai Folks-

Living in the moist Pacific Northwest of the United States, one would think I’d not have any trouble growing moss. However, being a stubborn fool, I attempted to grow it in the sun. I have a few thoughts on how to grow moss wisely, and even how to grow it well if you choose to be unwise.

One of the shorter mosses that can grow in the sun if frequently watered

Initially my ‘sun moss garden’ was a spectacular failure (wrong moss.) Then it went through a period of episodic failure (some moss species grow in cycles, weird.) And now it is stabilized (better moss selections.)

This has taken the better part of 7 years to figure out. If you’re not positioning your moss garden in the sun, you’ll have it easier.

This is Polytrichum, a genus that is highly adaptable to many sun/shade situations and is very tough when walked on

Here are a few things I’ve learned for those interested in growing their own moss garden (which I do highly recommend…it has a much quieter feeling than grass…it grows under trees where grass won’t easily grow…friends comment on it, often positively…):

My suggestion is to keep your moss garden small so it is easy to manage, and to consider doing everything by hand for a chemical-free moss garden. Invite friends to help you weed, and then stay for tea (most won’t go for that tradeoff, but it worked once for me.)