Need Help with Moss over the Winter

katydidit33(6a)October 28, 2013

Hi everybody - I'm brand spankin' new here and am so glad I found this place. I plan to spend lots of time grazing. But I came in through Google while looking for answers to my very specific problem and am hoping all the collected expertise here might be able to help. (Most terrarium or vivarium info doesn't work for my situation.)

This is a fairy garden bed that I've coddled since May/June. I loved the one I started with but my groundcovers edges didn't do well and others didn't recover from freezing. So I decided to try a re-do, with bigger ideas. No figures or art this summer -- just maintenance of live mosses I bought online (see pic). That's an old aluminum saucer sled with a few holes drilled into the bottom. I added deeper dirt around the edges before setting the moss. I'm still worried about the edges but might replace with baby tears or such where needed. Any ideas on that -- really shallow dirt at edges?

I have to 'winterize' this large moss bed inside (Connecticut). (1) I don't know what room to put it in, all of which have only partial morning or afternoon light. That includes an unheated garage and a rarely used but warmer family room. Ironically, I have no windows facing the north side, where it's happiest when outside. (2) I don't know how to keep it consistently humid with our electric heat. The saucer sits on a drainage saucer, so I'm thinking I should water (lightly) along the edges, along the path, and into the large hill once a week. And I could mist often but am very afraid of out-of-sight, out-of-mind. So I'm wondering if I could use a light clear plastic over it to contain humidity, with sticks for tents and slots/cutouts for a little air. Better for both of us?

The garden bed went to our glassed-in porch for a week or so and I had to bring it in today (freezing begins here). I sure don't want to lose this now but I'm still missing that inspiration I know is out there somewhere. I can set it on a stool anywhere. Flat surface is limited to one western window with maybe three hours of sunlight -- or the dining room table .

Does anybody have an idea for me?

Big thanks -

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Marlene Kindred

Hi Katydidit33! Welcome to the Garden Junk forum! Hopefully you'll get some suggestions to help you with your moss fairy garden....which is beautiful! As for moisture and humidity, I would think that if you spray it with room temperature water every once in a while, that should suffice. I live in Virginia and even though our winters aren't quite as cold as yours, they can get pretty frigid. I leave my moss outside for the winter in the fairy gardens...but mine is some I dug up from the woods. I also don't think that you need to have it in a lot of light since moss is native to semi shaded areas. As for covering it to form a "tent" only concern is that it might become too moist...not really sure. I'm hoping that someone else has had some more experience than I have with this and will give you some more advice.

Hope you'll come back and visit! We love pictures of what folks are doing.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2013 at 7:20PM
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Hi Katydidit33! Welcome to Garden Junk! I don't know what type of moss you have, but here in Michigan moss thrives in Winter conditions. It loves the moisture and the freezes don't bother it one bit. I suspect that your moss garden would be much happier outside over the Winter than inside. You might want to use Thyme in your planter around the edges. There are many different varieties, like Mother of Thyme that is very low growing with tiny leaves, or creeping thyme that spreads quickly. It too thrives in Winter weather and works well with moss. Good Luck!

    Bookmark   November 1, 2013 at 6:54PM
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garden2garden(z8 FL)

Hi Katie.
Nice to meet you.
I think that's the 1st question to address. If you ordered your moss on the internet it may/may not be suited to your winter conditions. Find out what kind it is and what IT's needs are for the winter.
I know it's tempting to try and keep it perfect, but sometimes things need to go through their natural seasonal changes for their own good. It may not need to be protected at all.
But if it does, (need to be brought indoors) I would think that keeping water in the drip pan so it can wick it up as needed and an occasional misting would suffice, in which ever window it seems to do best in (which from experience, will probably change through the winter as the sun changes). If it still seems too dry, tent it a bit. You just have to keep an eye on it, but don't over love it either, you know.

It's a beautiful moss garden. The sled's a great idea for a nice roomy area to work with.
Love your little wire table and cart, too, right up my alley (as they say, lol) and btw what IS that darker thing that looks sort of like a gothic-ish wire vase, kind of hard to see, it is above/around the gnome in the bottom of the picture?

I don't know a lot about moss but you've prompted me to learn more. I collected some small pcs locally and over the summer it's covered the top of a little hypertufa bowl. When I googled 'moss dish garden freezing temps' some really informative websites came up. I've included the link and you can follow up the links if you wish. Good solid information and fun moss garden pics.

There is also a "moss, ferns and cryptogam" forum here at gardenweb where you might find some folks who know about moss. (up at the top of the page click on "other forums" and the list of forums comes up in alphabetical order.)

Welcome to gardenweb and the junk forum, hope to see you again. Donna

Here is a link that might be useful: google moss dish garden freezing temps

    Bookmark   November 2, 2013 at 6:40PM
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You guys are great. Even though I might have asked this in the wrong place (hindsight), look how much help I got! Big thanks so much for all of your suggestions and the link. (I could't find this thread again so I'm tardy in responding.)

1) I had good email exchange with seller before buying - from Michigan so I think they're fairly climate-compatible.

2) I would love to leave it outside but am afraid of the metal allowing to freeze tooooo much. Good protection from winter winds means very little sunshine, if any.

3) I think I'm going to chance it staying out on the deck-porch (glassed in but regular deck flooring). I'm going to go with the wicking in case solar heat warms it enough - and tenting if it lokks like it needs it. Hopefully I can announce great results next spring - for posterity and anyone searching for fairy garden protection like me.

4) That little wire gothic thingy is a planter on a stake. It originally had a spagnum moss liner. I use another pot inside.

Thanks again to all of you. I'm off exploring - so many topics, so little time.


    Bookmark   November 2, 2013 at 7:45PM
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I read your post first on the other side, but am glad you found this side too!
I often check this side and it IS the side for to go to for info about our lives doing other things besides garden junk. We love to hear about your other projects. We have had some interesting things here. Swaps and junk trains, and Christmas gifts to each other.
If you have health issues, we want to pray for you. Hopefully this won't be the case.
Please come back to both sides often!!!!

    Bookmark   November 12, 2013 at 9:59AM
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Hi there, NonaCook and all,

As a matter of fact, IâÂÂm having a tough time figuring out the difference between the two sides of a forum - to the point that I figured itâÂÂs intentional -- as in, if youâÂÂre here to truly invest in the topic then youâÂÂll learn the ropes eventually. So I muddle around. I decided that this conversation side was for true back and forth discussion and the âÂÂother sideâ was for âÂÂjust the facts, mâÂÂam.â Did I come close?

I do have two other projects (and lessons-learned) I could share. (Tough dirt, hillside, shaded, wildflower meadow, and sapling fencing at one end.) IâÂÂve looked for suitable topics and most are very old. Better to attach to those or start anew? Do I want to stay on the conversations side of any forum? I have enough questions that IâÂÂm slow to post. DonâÂÂt need to flashy, just want to share what I can.

More importantly, I really have far more questions than answers. Like algebra and chemistry, plant data is something that just doesnâÂÂt stick in my brain. It is my heart that governs/maintains all my gardening. So I am always looking up helpful answers to routine questions. In other words, I figure IâÂÂll be researching far more than IâÂÂll be giving back so I wanna give what I got up front.

Thanks for your response, I appreciate it. And I'll take all the prayers that might be out there, but health issues are not my arena. Just an older body that my spirit drags along. I really enjoy GardenWeb and reading so many kindred souls. Thank you all for the above discussion.


p.s. Moss dish is frozen. Cleaned off all the fallen oak leaves today. Correction, I bought from Virginia, not Michigan. Keeping my fingers crossed - I get what I get next Spring and learn anew.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2013 at 6:30PM
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