Marty’s Gardening Journal, June 8th, 2008
Before we extended the patio, I had a very nice patch of moss growing around my potting table. I tended it faithfully; watered it when it seemed dry, weeded it and stood on it with bare feet whenever I could. It grew into a big patch and walking on it felt like walking on air. But then in came new pavers and my moss had to make way. I moved parts to different areas of the garden, where it languished.
Last year, when the new pond was built, I rescued the moss from the garden and carefully tucked it on rocks near the waterfall. Soon enough the moss started traveling in different directions, up some rocks, down into some crevices. This spring the march continues. Now, as the corkscrew rush blooms, tiny rush seeds have found a footing in the moss and small plants are starting to grow. There may not be enough moss to hold a larger sized rush root, but for now it looks as if some of the moss has sprouted green hair. Similarly, the patio is being colonized by moss. Little green ridges are growing up and down the cracks between the pavers. It makes weeding a little easier as weeds are more easily pulled out. And if a bit of moss pops up with the weed, I carefully remove the weed and tuck the moss back in. I know, most people prefer a neat patio, without weeds or moss, but I think that bit of green creeping along the pavers gives it character.
Of course, I do have many hours of weeding moss behind me. Way back when, growing up in Holland, there was virtually no greater sin then having moss, or any other weed for that matter, grow between the cracks of your walkway or driveway. Every spring my sister and I would be sent outside to weed. Dad was exempt from that kind of work since he was busy providing for all of us, and mom, deathly afraid of worms, would not even consider getting close to soil or weeds. A few old, small kitchen knives, too blunt from peeling zillions of potatoes, were our weapons of choice. They fit perfectly between the cracks to slice off weeds and uproot moss. It would take us a while (days) to make our way up the long driveway and back down the walkway to the end of the garden where there was a covered sitting area. By the end of July we had to do it all over again, as guests would be expected to sit outside when it was time to celebrate both mom’s and my birthday (I was the first gift to arrive on her 36th birthday). In Holland, back then at least, birthdays were always celebrated by family and friends on your actual birthday. If it fell on a weekday, family, neighbors and friends would stop by in the evening for a cup of coffee, cake and later a drink. If your birthday fell on a Saturday or Sunday, you were assured a steady flow of guests throughout the day. Since both my parents came from large families, we always had a house full of aunts and uncles arriving early in the morning and staying till after the big plates of sandwiches were passed around together with bowls of soup to get them on their way. When weather permitted, we would sit outside, where walkway and driveway were once again impeccably clean. Now, decades later, in charge of our patio, I still pull weeds, but I cultivate my moss. Mom would probably not approve, but I think dad might look down from way up there and say to her “you know, I think I like that too”.