An interesting feature offered by WordPress, the host of Fairegarden the blog, is a list of the search terms used to find our offerings. Another statistical list is the most visited stories on a given day, week, month, year and for all time. While the newest tales normally have the most hits, especially on the day they are put out there, and a big thanks to my regular customers for that, there are some posts that keep showing up on the list daily. One of them is a post from January called Moss Magic. Click here if you want to view that pictorial of moss images.
It is not known if the searches are looking for some kind of magical potion that includes moss as an ingredient. The popularity of Harry Potter books and movies might lead one to believe the search is along those lines.
Or it might be people looking for the lyrics to the Joni Mitchell song “Little Green” which are featured in part to narrate the macro moss photos.
But it was this comment from a young lady who was savvy enough to leave a message on that post which led me to the conclusion that many of the viewers were doing a school related project for some sort of science class on the topic of moss. She (Ashley) wrote:
I am working on a plant collection for school, do you know the name of the third one down? I have taken a picture in my yard of a very similar plant.
My answer was:
Sorry, Ashley, I do not know the names of any of the mosses. Thanks for stopping by though.
The efforts to narrate the post consisted of some how to grow moss facts and some fun lore about the velvet green stuff. But we remember doing papers for school, loved doing them in fact, for it entailed going to the library and using the resources of the times which were magazine and newspaper articles along with books written on the subject. There were no computers available yet, difficult as that might be to imagine for some readers. And yes I am old, ancient, a dinosaur actually, in these times of immediate access to a world wide web of information, not all of it accurate by the way. But with age comes wisdom, so it is smart to listen to your elders.
So for the students seeking more moss photos and information and the teachers who are tired of looking at the same shots in every submission, it was determined that a more informative and less whimsical tale be woven to accompany the shots of moss that grow with ease on nearly every surface in the Fairegarden.
One reason there is so much moss growing here is that our property is a steep slope that faces north. It is true that moss grows more readily on a hill so situated in the Northern Hemisphere.
Another lucky circumstance for the rampant growth of various mosses is the acidity and moisture of the soil and hardscape. Natural stone and weathered concrete surfaces with their nooks and crannies are perfect media for the spores of the moss to get a toehold.
Some property owners dislike the moss and try to remove it from surfaces and lawns with the application of chlorine bleach based products sprayed with pressure washers and crushed limestone spread on lawns. It is true that moss on a path can be very slippery, especially on brick or wood. We have found that the gravel used for the main thoroughfares is not hospitable to the the formation of moss and is therefore more safe for pedestrians.
The mossiest area of the Fairegarden is a four foot high forty foot long wall that holds back the power of the earth from crashing into the back of the main house. The wall faces true north and is composed of large concrete blocks that have raised ridges to fit each course on top of the preceding one without mortar holding them together. This allows the soil behind, which must be full of moss spores, to seep through the cracks along with the water when there is plentiful rainfall like we have been experiencing this year. Along those cracks is where the moss begins to establish itself.
Did we mention the plentiful rainfall, because it is a huge factor in the amount of moss growing even while the angle of the sun was providing more light than that which the moss is comfortable this summer. It has been pondered if it would be possible that the whole wall might one day be covered in moss. The wall was built in the year 2000, the year we moved back to Tennessee and began the renovation of the main house.
Fun facts about moss: (Let’s just say that google search engines are infatuated with Kate Moss)
When we leave the rarified world of super models and their fun exploits, trying to identify mosses becomes a world of microscopes. Here is something more basic, a world famous moss gardening company called Moss Acres, click here to see, that has been featured in magazines, newspapers and television shows that is a good site for very basic moss information and photos. This outfit is even represented in my garden ideas notebook comprised of pages torn from magazines that hold kernals of inspiration. (I am not affiliated with, have never ordered from them, or received anything for free for trial from this place, in case anyone is interested.)
To those students expecting to find here a report fully written that could be copied and pasted to turn in, sorry guys. The fun of doing reports is learning for yourself how to do research. It will help you in every endeavor you undertake, especially if you decide to enter the world of garden blogging. Good luck, and be careful out there!
Oh, you wanted to know the most viewed post of all time? Far and away, no contest, not even close, Lamb’s Ear Love has the most visits in total and shows up every day in the list of viewed posts. Added: Since this post was written, in 2009, a new most viewed post surged to the top: How To Make Hypertufa Concrete Balls.