In a green shade Posted on October 23, 2013

The sun is low enough in the sky this afternoon to rub in just how little light our new garden will get in winter. There will be improvements: the overhead shade of the huge sycamore and big walnut is going to be massively reduced. But this is looking forward several seasons. Half the garden will see no direct sunlight all winter.

I am turning over various possibilities in my mind. Portugal laurel, ivy, aucubas and some snazzy box topiary were our predecessors’ solutions. But I crave a smooth restful green patch; the equivalent of a lawn, which would never thrive here. Is a moss lawn a practical possibility, I wonder? I dream of the green tranquillity of the moss gardens of Japan. But does it need the warm wet climate of Kyoto?

Look up ‘moss lawn’ on the internet and every reference is about getting rid of moss as a nuisance. The only pro-moss site I can find is Gardens Inspired, from somewhere unspecified in the (I suspect southern ) States. Debra Anchors gives recipes for planting a moss lawn: literally recipes; they involve scraps of moss collected from nearby put in a blender with either yoghurt or beer, then sprayed on to bare ground and watered until it goes green. I love the idea. Worth an experiment, surely? I’ve heard it said, too, that regular spraying with Round-up can encourage it .

Alternatively, if I do nothing, our current modest crop of mind-your-own-business, the pretty little Helxine (or Soleirolia) soleirolii, will pretty soon do the business for us. Its tiny bright green leaves are the terrestrial equivalent of duckweed. They say it is almost equally pernicious, delicious though it looks in the interstices of old greenhouses.

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