Moss It

DSC_9020The signs of spring in my area are still few and far between.  I do have a few crocus just coming into bloom now – in April, for pete’s sake. My garden cannot be cleaned up yet, as a layer of ice still covers most of it.  I have winter pots still so frozen in place I cannot take them apart.  But I have other options for spring.  As in planting pots for spring.  We are in the process of planting lots of them for the shop.  Shortly we will be planting spring pots for clients.  I do have a love for mossed containers.  Nature represented in both the top and the bottom is a very good look. Lining moss baskets has always been about the art of patching.  Florist’s moss comes packed in cases of pieces.  Some moss pieces are big and thick.  Rob calls these moss hides.  Some pieces are thin and small.  A wirework basket may need a number of pieces of moss, stitched together via a puzzle of overlapping pieces.  Any natural material comes in all manner of natural shapes, sizes and thicknesses.

DSC_9021One of our suppliers had the brilliant idea of attaching moss to a biodegradable backing.  Don’t ask me how they do this-I have no clue.  But I do know that mossing a wire basket just got a whole lot easier.  For a round wirework container, Rob rolls the container in a natural arc across the moss mat.  He marks that radius with a nursery marking pen.  The marks describing the top of the container, and the bottom.  That pair of lines create an arc.  He cuts that arc big and wide- oversized.

DSC_9025That arc derived from the top and bottom of the container means that the moss mat fits smoothly inside the basket.   Of course there is a lot of fussing.  Anything in the garden that means much to a gardener requires the work of a pair of hands.  A pair of hands on a shovel, or a hose, or a rake.  As for my gardening efforts today, I am putting my hands to planting containers for spring.

DSC_9026Not that I do as good a job as Rob does.  He has infinite patience.  He eases the moss mat into place.

DSC_9028The bottom of this wirework container is filled with drainage material. By a third.  Container plantings require more drainage material than soil.  Waterlogged plants never prosper, unless you plan to pot up bog plants.  A seasonal pot planting does well with bark as drainage material. Making sure that water can drain from a container is essential.

DSC_9031After the bark, the container is filled with soil.  We use a soil mix that is custom blended for us.  Lots of compost.  A big dash of sand.  And soil.  We do not use peat based growers mix in our pots.  Soilless mixes are perfect for professional growers who can manage the fertility levels and water to a tee.  For gardeners, we recommend a soil based mix. We like dirt.

DSC_9033The upper side of the moss mat gets folded over. A rolled moss edge looks generously finished.  That thickness contrasts beautifully with the thin wire that describes the shape of the container.   That roll also helps to keep the soil right where it belongs-inside.

DSC_9034Once the wirework container is moss lined, it is time to plant the plants.  For this pot, white tulips, white English daisies, and white variegated ivy.

DSC_9038Planting a pot no doubt involves design.  Color, texture, mass-and a vision about the mature shape of the planting.  But planting a pot is also about that magical moment.  An idea. The plants. The dirt.  The act of planting.

DSC_9043This mossed wirework basket-an expression of spring.  An expression of spring?  I expect both nature and every gardener to be making news, soon.


  1. Susan Welsford says

    So beautiful! I love moss too.

  2. I love this post.
    Although I am just a home gardener I love to do “not run of the mill” things with the urns and containers at my house. Moss is one of my favorite materials.
    I am always looking for ways to use moss as an element in my gardens and urns. I often just mound soil into a small dome and pin sheet moss on it in a large urn between seasons.
    Thanks for the constant inspiration!

    • Deborah Silver says

      Thanks Lynn. What is it about moss that is so irresistible to gardeners?? Deborah

      • Lynn Krugman says

        I think it’s the many different textures and types .Some are velvety, some are springy, with little flowers. It brings me back to childhood and hours playing in the woods.

  3. Starr Foster says

    Love this post Deborah! I’d like some of that sheet moss. For boggy wildflowers like orchids, pitcher plant, sundews, etc. that soggy basket would be perfect, as long as it could be kept wet and acidic. Or if not acidic, primula japonicas would be very happy there and are so pretty.

    Your beautiful white wirework moss-lined flower-filled baskets are the essence of spring. I look forward to your Fair this weekend and seeing everything you’ve been working on. What a treat for us amateurs!

  4. Cara Kazanowski says

    Wiktionary got a workout as I looked up the word “abscission.” Thanks for your inspiring information — and for increasing my vocabulary!

  5. Visually delightful and thanks for sharing some of the tricks of the trade.

  6. I would like to eat your words! Planting a pot has never sounded more inspired. I love the look of that, the moss edge neatly folded, it does look more substantial and grounded. Also, pleasantly surprised that swedish spring is ahead of at least one part of the garden world (not counting antarctica). Did not think that possible, cherry trees are in bloom, but we had a crazy mild winter here.

    • Deborah Silver says

      Thanks for writing Louise! It seems like we are about to get a string of milder days-so happy about that. Deborah

  7. Where can I get the moss material? Is it sold @ Detroit Garden Works??

  8. Would you recommend lining pots with moss versus the cocoa liners that are out there? Also does the miss lining retain moisture and require less watering?

    • Deborah Silver says

      Trish, a choice of liner is a matter of taste. I think the coco liners are good in a more contemporary style pot. Deborah

  9. Jackie Nygaard says

    It is so wonderful to see something green and flowering! It has been such a long winter, that you forget how vibrant and pretty something growing can be. The tactile feel of moss,the texture of the loose fluffy soil and the living colorful blossoms on the plants give us hope and inspiration. I hope spring arrives sooner so we can all play in our gardens!

  10. Mary Casey says

    I love the colors of the wire planter-it kind of looks like a cheerful nod to the fact that spring really is coming soon. The cold and damp days make it seem doubtful at times…….

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