Thursday, February 2, 2012

Mercury Falling?

Any design-savvy ski bunnies out there? Not me – when it comes to skiing, I'm strictly a novice – but my husband and son are expert skiers. And avid ones. They so LOVE to ski! Much to their chagrin, though, the ski season thus far [here in the east anyway] has been pretty sad. It's just been too warm!

Still, we took last Friday off to hit the slopes, and while conditions were far from ideal, we had an awesome time getting out on the mountain. We actually got a little "real" snow on Friday night.

My husband even got up early the next morning and skied again – but not me, my ankles were too sore...

Mother Nature has definitely been keeping the cold to herself most of the time this winter, but the arrival of a mere dusting of snow made our local resorts push to open for the season anyway. After all, they have to make livings, too! It just seems a little weird to ski when only the slopes are white – on our left and right, we could see lots of GREEN – and it makes it rather obvious that the majority of the snow is man made.

We had hoped we might get to ski again this weekend, but with the arrival of rain on Thursday and a forecast for warmer temperatures for the weekend, it's looking unlikely.

Although we've actually had plenty of precipitation this season, the mercury just hasn't fallen often enough to help produce the white stuff or keep any of it around. It's been nice walking weather, though!

So I've tried to take advantage of the relatively balmy temps and get some winter "outdoor" time. When walking around our property, I've been excited to notice that we have quite the variety of mosses growing this year. Lots of GREEN. Especially for January! Must be the damp weather – or maybe the ground is usually covered with snow this time of year – but we seem to have more moss than usual.

Moss has always made me happy. cluck! cluck! cluck!

For those of you who don't know, we live in an old stone and brick house, so I always welcome the growth of moss on our outdoor areas. Moss brings a sense of age and permanence to the surfaces on which it grows, so it really suits our historic home.

When my son (who's now 20!) was a little boy, we used to go on "moss hunts" to see how many different types of moss we could find. Sometimes we'd move a little piece here, another piece there. Today, I can readily see where some of our past adventures have taken us. Meanwhile, he's on new adventures of his own – in college. But that's another story...

Moss is remarkably easy to transplant. It uses rhyzoids, not roots, to anchor itself to the soil (or rock, brick or paver — mosses obtain all their nutrients from the air). You can use any handy garden tool or kitchen implement (or your hands, like I do!) to peel up a patch or strip of moss, then transport it to its new location.

You can plant moss between stones or pavers, let it grow on patio surfaces, or use it to decorate walls, stones, planters, and more.

Most varieties of moss prefer shade, and all require moisture to maintain a pleasing texture and appearance. A lack of moisture will cause moss to lose its color and resilience, but the moss usually will make a dramatic recovery once moisture is reintroduced.

If you want to plant moss between pavers on your patio or walk, just hand-pull any weeds that have sprouted between them. And if you have sand between your pavers, you'll want to pack in a little soil. When transplanting your own moss, you can slice a chunk of dirt out of the ground and leave a bit of the existing soil attached to the moss.

Water the surface of the growing area and the base of the moss. Press the moss firmly between the pavers – you can step directly on it or cover it with a board to more evenly distribute your weight. Don't worry – you won't hurt the moss. It may look a little flat for a bit, but it will recover quickly. It's important that the moss makes good contact with the surface below.

Water your newly-planted moss thoroughly, and continue to water daily for the first three weeks. Watering probably isn't even very necessary in the winter season if the conditions are damp like they've been this year! You can definitely reduce the frequency of watering once your moss is established, and it doesn't take long. If it starts to lose color or look dry, a good misting should make it perk it right up.

Beyond that, your moss will be virtually maintenance-free. And it's so fun to decorate with moss! Look at all these ways to use it in your home.

I have an antique planter like this one – and isn't this beautiful?

Here, Irish moss is used in a centerpiece. This makes me want spring to get here RIGHT NOW...

    From one of my very favorite shops, And George, Christy Ford and her mother, Jan Roden, use moss to decorate in a number of ways – even in the winter season. These are Christy's beautiful pictures. So inspiring!

    If you can't find any moss in your yard, you can always feather your nest with piles of chintz, like the famous decorating doyenne, Charlotte Moss. Or hire her, if you have the means.

    Actually, you can buy moss from your florist or even at craft stores such as Michael's.

    Anyway, as for my poor husband and son, I don't see a ski venture in their immediate future. We only have this much snow on the ground...

    Here's hoping [for their sakes] we'll see the mercury start to dip soon. For this weekend, for me at least, looks like it's gonna be moss all the way.

    Martha Stewart has some great directions for making a moss wreath. This one looks pretty nice.

    Maybe next weekend, we'll hit the slopes.


      Jennifer C. Webb said...

      I too love moss....and And George. Thanks for the ideas for using it inside!

      Sami Pat said...

      I followed you here from another blog. A Perfect Gray, I think. I just discovered a whole area in my side yard under a tree that has become moss instead of grass. I will be harvesting some. Thanks for the ideas.

      Sami from Pontifical.s Porch

      pve design said...

      I love skiing and moss. I suggest you join a ladies clinic or get an adorable instructor to take you out and hit the slopes, no moss growing under my ski boots - I love skiing and it has been lots of work to increase my skills to ski with the experts here!
      We do need more snow - this winter has been unseasonably mild.

      Chic Coles said...

      We all hope that the snow will start to fall soon. We are on the look out for moss after this post.

      red ticking said...

      i grew up skiing and now i ski... drink hot cocoa, ski, eat chili, ski.... much better that way!

      meanwhile my brother is in canada heli skiing... !!!!

      happy to have found yr blogs thru my pals donna and pve... xx pam