Green Velvet

“Green Velvet”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana  

Even though we have been having several flowers showing up extra early, there still is a general lack of color in the garden.  There are a few plants just starting to leaf out, bud, or show some tiny bit of color even though it is just the end of January.  But, one bright spot is the vibrant green moss that while small, still packs a punch of color.  Nothing can beat that bright green piece of velvet found in deep shade.




Moss, that low-growing, mat forming plant that is at home in shade gardens, requires shade, moisture, and is often found growing on rocks which is why they are so popular in rock gardens.  Lately, moss has been found as a desirable alternative to a lawn in shady, moist areas.  In fact, moss gardens are now on the cutting edge of gardening, and have been very popular in Japanese gardening for centuries.


Many people who love their lawns are horrified when they find moss in their lawns.  This usually means there is high acidity, moisture, and shade in that area.  There are many things that can be done to rectify this, but an alternative is to make a shady, moist area a moss garden.  Work with Mother Nature, not against her.  As we all become more environmentally aware, we need to think about choices we have that may require less chemicals, less work, and more enjoyment of our gardens.


While I just appreciate the pop of color the mosses bring in late winter, for some absolutely fantastic photos of moss used effectively in a garden, look here.  It is time we re-evaluate this lowly plant.



  1. Jane said,

    January 28, 2009 at 8:30 pm

    I saw one of these moss gardens in the Northwest and it was beautiful and very zen like.

  2. Callie said,

    January 28, 2009 at 8:33 pm

    I love to go walking in the woods at this time of year with my dogs and husband. With everything brown and gray, the moss really stands out even though they are small patches. I didn’t really think of moss for the garden until reading this.

  3. Melanthia said,

    January 28, 2009 at 8:57 pm

    A walk through nearby parks and forests, especially Mt. Rainier, is always delightful because of the different moss. And I always say without it, we wouldn’t have grass. This is a great reminder that each plant serves its purpose and casts its own unique beauty. Thanks!

  4. Tessa said,

    January 28, 2009 at 10:26 pm

    I love moss! I sprayed a little milk on a pot to get it to grow- beautiful. A lot of people kill it. I want to get it to grow on my beach wood garden bench someone made for me- but I’ll have to move the bench out of the sun to do it.

  5. January 28, 2009 at 11:27 pm

    Said true, Jan. I’ve always liked the rich green of moss and when I was young thought it was well-mowed grass! Thanks for the link. The photos look great!

  6. fairegarden said,

    January 29, 2009 at 6:28 am

    Hi Jan, I am with you one hundred percent on the moss. It is so beautiful and is the greenest thing we have right now too. A woodland moss garden is a dream. We are too hot in the summer and dry to be able to maintain that but this wet winter has been a boon to the mosses, hooray!

  7. Darla said,

    January 29, 2009 at 8:37 am

    I have always thought the moss was so pretty!

  8. Brenda Kula said,

    January 29, 2009 at 10:15 am

    I love the mosses. Relaxes me to just look at it somehow. I haven’t had much luck with it yet. Except between the brick pavers, where it crops up naturally. I would love this in my garden.

  9. Jan said,

    January 29, 2009 at 8:28 pm

    Jane, I have seen pictures of a moss garden in Washington state, and it was beautiful. I wonder if it is the same one you saw.

    Callie, I agree that the moss stands out esp. at this time of year when everything is dormant or dead from the freezes. I think that makes the green even more vibrant.

    Melanthia, you are so right that every plant has it purpose. Sometimes we do need to look at the small ones and appreciate their beauty.

    Tessa, I love moss covered structures in a garden. Moss seems to add age and permanence. I have encouraged moss to grow on a St. Fiacre statue. The moss just seems to add an extra dimension.

    Chandramouli, aren’t those pictures on the link fantastic? I would love to have an area that looked like some of those photos. Some look like a fairyland.

    Francis, it seems that a lot of people like moss. We have some in damp, shady areas, but nothing like a true moss garden. It is wonderful to see in the winter, isn’t it?

    Darla, I agree that it is very pretty and the tactile quality of it is not to be dismissed either. It does feel like velvet.

    Brenda, my parents’ garden has brick edging all of the flower beds, and these bricks have a great deal of moss on them now. This gives their garden an old atmosphere which I find appealing. I would love to have that feeling in my garden, too.

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