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Learning Moss Garden

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If you want to learn more about mosses in landscapes and gardens, we now have a learning moss garden located in the Botanic Garden at the Highlands Biological Station in Highlands, NC – a research facility affiliated with Western Carolina University and the University of North Carolina system. The Leila Barnes Cheatham Learning Moss Garden exemplifies mosses used creatively in a natural setting. This moss retreat is one of the few places in America where the bryophytes (mosses) are actually identified with labels. This venue sets the stage for educational programs about the beauty and environmental benefits of mosses in landscapes. Installed in Winter 2013 during freezing temperatures and snowfall, this garden honors the memory of an avid native plant enthusiast – Leila Barnes Cheatham – and perpetuates her love of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

A native of Griffin, Georgia, Leila III spent many summers at her mountain house near the Biological Station. She took her kids hiking along the HBS trails and taught them to appreciate all types of indigenous plants. In fact, nearby Leila's Rock is one of the only privately-owned rock cliffs that hasn't been commercially developed. It is a place where hikers stop to rest and picnic while enjoying spectacular views during treks along the Bartram Trail.

Despite the harsh weather conditions during installation, the creation of this unique moss garden has been my pleasure. I'm honored to be part of this project that memorializes my best friend's mother. Leila Cheatham Von Stein and I have mossed together for years. We have spent many hours in search of mosses on her Rich Mountain property delighting in our discoveries. To create an educational moss garden in a public venue is a goal we both have shared for years. Thanks to Leila IV for providing funds to realize the first phase.

Climacium, Atrichum, Thuidium, Hypnum, Entodon, and Leucobryum are among the many moss types you'll find in Leila's Learning Moss Garden. The 200 sq ft garden continues to thrive and we'd like to expand its footprint. If you are a moss lover and you would like to contribute to this expansion, please donate now: http://highlandsbiological.org/joingive/

***Make sure to note that HBS donation is intended for Leila Barnes Cheatham Learning Moss Garden.


All blog content and photographs are the intellectual property of Mountain Moss.

Permission to use any portion must be obtained in writing from Annie Martin. Copyright 2013.


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