Moss Therapy

When I’m having a bad day, one of the ways that I’ve found to take my mind off of my troubles is my moss garden. It’s nothing special, just a shady low area near the creek that could never grow grass due to lack of sun. But all I have to do is spend 30 minutes to an hour pulling tiny weed seedlings out of the moss and my troubles just don’t seem so important. And if it’s a really bad day, you get to toss several 100 Hickory nuts.

Note the log barrier, which doesn’t seem to keep the deer out, as you can see by their tracks in the soft soil. But it does seem to keep most of the leaves behind a log wall.

After hearing Mossin’ Annie speak at the UNCC Native Plant Certificate joint program with NCNPS-SP Chapter last March, I realized this was a perfect area to start a moss garden. Her formula is simple:

  • Mark off an area to designate as the moss garden. A place where moss is already growing is a good place to start.
  • Keep leaves, sticks and trash off by sweeping or blowing
  • Water daily to get the naturally occurring moss to spread (if you want super fast results Annie says water 3x/day, but I say start your project in January or February and hope for a normal NC wet spring. (Lazy garden rule #1…hope it rains tomorrow)
  • Pull out competing weeds…the thicker the moss spreads, the less you have to do this, but it’s an ongoing chore…and good therapy
  • It doesn’t hurt to walk on your moss, and I think it really helps it adhere to the soil layer underneath. As I learned from Annie, moss does not grow with roots.
  • Repair animal damage by just replacing torn patches and walking on them…easy! And I find this is the one area in my garden that I don’t mind animal visitors since the squirrel holes and dear tracks are pretty easy to stomp back into place.img_4722Water and Walk…that’s what Annie says. It’s very zen….that’s what I say!

Classes at UNCC Botanical Gardens and Community Environmental Links

From our friend, Paula Gross at UNCC Botanical Gardens….great ideas, great links, and great classes!

Don’t miss Botany for Gardeners and Naturalists – January 28-29

Begin with Botany! I think that’s going to be my new slogan. Plants are the basis of life on earth. They’ve mastered that little (awe-inspiring) trick of converting solar energy into energy that the rest of us heterotrophs need to live. Ready to be amazed by the plant kingdom and begin a journey of learning? Don’t miss the opportunity to take this weekend class with Larry Mellichamp, as it is only offered once a year. Open to everyone (14 & up).

Saturday January 28, 2017 (9am-3:30pm; ½ hour lunch)
and Sunday, January 29, 2017  (1:00pm – 5:00pm). (Snow dates: February 4,5)

Instructor:  Larry Mellichamp, PhD. Director Emeritus of UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens.
Location:  McMillan Greenhouse classroom at UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens.
Cost:  $115.00  Register online or by emailing

CNPS & NCBLA credit hours: 10
Participants will receive a one year membership to the North Carolina Native Plant Society (new members only).

In this very engaging course, Dr. Mellichamp will encourage participation through his lecture and hands-on experiences with plant parts. His approach to botanical topics such plant diversity, plant organs and how they function, life challenges, flowers and reproduction and how populations change over time and space will shed new light on the garden and natural habitats. The working vocabulary and perspective gained will change the way you look at plants and set a foundation for future learning.

Year-long Learning and Engagement

We won’t leave you hanging when it comes to more opportunities to learn with friends and experts. Check out our current list of classes, workshops, and events.  Classes through April are currently enrolling. May-December classes will be open for enrollment in late February, so mark your calendar. Additional summer-winter classes will be added, as well. This is a good list for future reference, but be sure to look out for emails or check our website for additional offerings later in the year.

We are proud of the range and quality of classes we offer, but our networks make us (and you) stronger, so explore the other rich opportunities for learning and connecting with plants and the natural world in the Charlotte region (links below).

Botany for Gardeners and Naturalists, January 28-29yellowcat
Growing Orchids at Home, February 12 (Orchid sale 11-14)
Camellias, February 23
Winter Garden Tour, February 26
Bird Sounds, March 4
Flower Journal, March 11
Responsible Lawn Care, March 14
Advanced Botany for Gardeners, March 18-19
Wild for Wildflowers (family fun event), April 1
Rhododendrons & Azaleas, April 3
Plant ID with Wildflowers, April 7
Spring Plant Sale (incl. info sessions) April 14-15
Mosses, April 22
Rain Gardens, May 6
Pressed Flower Art, May 24
Insect Control, June 6
Carnivorous Plant Carnival (family fun event), June 24
Plant Propagation, July 15
Getting Started with Herbs for Health, August 27
Insect Ecology, September 8-9
Mailbox Gardens and Tree Islands, September 12
Gardening with Native Grasses and Sedges, September 23
How to Plant a Tree, October 5
Fall Plant Sale (incl. info sessions), October 13-14
Healthy Soils, October 17
Tree and Shrub Identification, October 21-22
Economic Botany: Tropical Spices & Fruits, December 7

More places to learn about and engage with plants, nature, and gardening in Charlotte

This is just a partial list, there is much more out there to discover and it can begin as simply as spending more time outdoors, walking, and noticing all those other species.  

We thank Paula Gross, Assistant Director of UNCC Botanical Gardens for this impressive compilation of resources.