collectors with gardening instincts are often tempted to take home luscious
chunks of moss for the rock or wild flower garden. It seems like an excellent opportunity for more intimate
study of living subjects except that it almost invariably ends in
are extremely selective about their environment and are growing where you found
them because all the circumstances were exactly right for them in that time and
place. Moving them to another
situation, no matter how seemingly identical, may jeopardize their welfare by
lack of some quite obscure factor.
to lichens, mosses are probably the most environmentally sensitive group of
living things and many species no longer thrive within our urban or industrial
atmosphere. Thus it may be that
those mosses cannot be transplanted successfully which are not already native to
Japanese have been very successful in creating moss gardens with numerous
species over large areas. Undoubtedly
others have had similar success. A
few years ago the author was able to keep 35 collected species thriving in a
shady rock and water garden for a whole summer in his own city back yard. Only a third of these survived into the following spring however.
And in 3 years scarcely half a dozen of them were still living. These half-dozen were species quite common in the surrounding
neighbourhood anyway. For any who
would like to try the challenge of this kind of culture, the following
guidelines may be useful:
need almost constant shade and plenty of moisture, as well as surrounding
and overhanging vegetation.
a board fence, or protective growth of some kind are necessary to shield
them from drying winds.
important is the nature of its substratum or base upon which the moss was
growing: the soil and its pH factor; living or rotting wood; rock, acidic or
alkaline. Therefore, be sure to carry plenty of the substratum with the
transplant to blend into its new habitat.
mosses grow mainly in the shelter of one kind of tree; others of another.
Still others favour the proximity of certain metals. Putting your mosses in the wrong context may thus only
with a more hasty demise.
supplement or winter alternative to the outdoor garden is an indoor terrarium
containing a few select specimens. The
main problem here is mildew, so be sure the glass container is sterilized and
has a layer of sterilized pebbles and earth on the bottom. Mosses will not long survive a temperature in excess of 20°C
possible move them to a cooler place overnight. Neither should they have too much light or they will grow long and
spindly beyond recognition. Good luck! Even
modest success is well worth the effort involved.