Moss in the Media: Like a Rolling Stone 0Moss in the Media... I'm always excited to share when an article appears about mosses. This time the story is about me in Carolina Home and Garden magazine. Thanks to Melanie Bianchi for her writing talents and Jeff Miller for his photography of Gucci and me. Unfortunately, the photos were shot while my moss garden was still under snow in March. No green just white to see. More photos in the print copy that didn't appear on their Web site. Here's the link: http://www.carolinahg.com/pages/current-issue/spring-10/dig-it-like-a-rolling-stone.php Carolina Home and Garden 2010 Spring issue. Written by Melanie Bianchi. Former media maven Annie Martin senses opportunity like a plant feels light — and she greets it face-to-face. While engineering an Atlanta appearance by Mikhail Gorbachev in 1992, she briefly delegated her duties to an assistant so she could hop out of the production truck and shake the hand of the General Secretary as he departed the stage. “What do you say to a world leader?” reflects Martin, a diminutive blonde who’s perpetually dressed in purple. “Well, I’m a Southern woman, so I said, ‘We’re just so glad you could be here.’” [caption id="attachment_415" align="aligncenter" width="199" caption="Gucci Girl Dog and Mossin' Annie"][/caption] Out comes a deep, smoky laugh. Still, one gets the sense that not much deters her. And Martin brings that same hybrid of ambition and twinkling humor to her current passion: rescuing indigenous mosses from development and replanting them in residential gardens. A native of Asheville reared in Kenilworth, Malvern Hills and Beaver Lake, Martin says she’s never taken her family’s deep Buncombe County roots for granted. “I’ve always felt blessed to be born in these mountains,” says Martin. “I’m one of the lucky ones. I didn’t have to move here.” As “Mossin’ Annie,” she’s dedicated herself to the preservation of the more than 450 species of bryophytes that grow naturally in Western North Carolina. Via extensive networking, she’s alerted whenever a construction project is slated that will disrupt a spread of moss, and works with the development party — “everyone from the land-use planners to the property owners to the guys driving the bulldozers” — to salvage what she calls one of botany’s “most overlooked” horticultural offerings. The fascinating facts on moss are legion. For starters, it is, like the Blue Ridge chain itself, one of the world’s oldest natural entities: moss goes back more than 400 million years. And because it survives without a root system, it’s more adaptable than any vascular plant, even similarly ancient ferns. It is comparatively easy to harvest, transplant, propagate, and resurrect after a long dormancy. “You could take a piece that had been dried in an herbarium for 40 years, rehydrate it with a squirt of water, and within five minutes the photosynthesis will start again, bringing it back to life,” says Martin. Plus, it’s pretty — picture tranquil Zen labyrinths or shady Arthurian glens. The word Martin uses most often is “magical,” although she’s quick to point out that some bryophyte types do have a degree of vertical reach, rather than the traditional spread that’s “flat and tight.” Certain types of moss even thrive best in sunny spots. And, if Martin has her way, all of them could contribute to something she envisions as nothing short of an ecological revolution. “No landscaping plant,” she asserts, “could be more truly sustainable.” Besides needing a quarterly weeding (yes, that’s just four times a year) and a reasonable amount of naturally occurring or harvested rainwater, moss spreads require none of the drastically polluting maintenance of traditional lawns and gardens. That means no mowing, no pesticides and no herbicides. So why not moss? Unfortunately, an attitude persists that moss is an invasive species, a nuisance rather than a godsend. Excluding the grand gardens of Kyoto, Japan, moss is woefully underappreciated as a viable alternative in residential and commercial landscaping, says Martin. “The information gap,” she declares, “is a chasm.” But it’s one she is filling in rapidly, thanks to her various pending and acquired grants, including one from WNC Agricultural Options that would help former tobacco farmers learn to commercially cultivate moss. From a niche artisanal landscaper, Martin seems poised to become a vocal champion of sustainability, a leader in her field whose aim is to convince folks here and beyond to sow significant expanses of acreage with moss. “And when that happens, there’s going to be an increasing demand for a more extensive variety of mosses available to consumers, provided by the emerging live-moss industry, she says. A moss emergency, if you will. Forays to Duke University and consultations with bryologists across the country and the world have helped augment Martin’s scientific knowledge, and an alliance with the Brevard chapter of SCORE— a consortium of retired executives who offer business tips to entrepreneurs — and the Senior Resource Network, have fortified her toehold in the burgeoning eco movement. “Replacing lawns with moss means green savings in the pocket and green advantages for the environment,” says Martin. Referring to the regional biodiversity that sustains her beloved bryophytes, she adds: “It’s the right place. And the right plant.” A micro-pause. “At the right time.” Written by Melanie Bianchi. Freelance writer in Asheville, NC. Contact Annie Martin at Mountain Moss Enterprises at 828-577-1321 or firstname.lastname@example.org . Or, visit www.mountainmoss.com .
Magnificent Moss Garden Tour - May 16 0Have you ever had the pleasure of visiting an expansive moss garden? On Sunday, May 16, one of western North Carolina's finest gardens will be the focus of an extraordinary moss tour – Meandering through the Moss: 2010 Kenilworth Garden Tour at the Home of John Cram and Matt Chambers, Asheville, NC. http://mountainmoss.com/index.php?id=37 Experience the magical world of mosses, our indigenous bryophytes, as you meander through six spectacular acres in historic Kenilworth including 1.5 miles of verdant trails and a 3000 sq ft expansive moss lawn. Unique for this year's event will be informative guided tours, led by Mossin' Annie, providing insights into the botanical characteristics, environmental benefits and sustainable landscape solutions of WNC's bryophytes. This private garden was established over 50 years ago by Asheville landscape designer, Doan Ogden, who also designed the University of North Carolina-Asheville Botanical Gardens. It exemplifies the sustainability of mosses in the landscape as the green backdrop for many spectacular azaleas, rhododendrons and colorful flowers. The current owners have maintained the original integrity of their garden while enhancing it with incredible art sculptures by some of the nation's finest sculptors. Rain or shine, garden visitors are encouraged to bring a loupe or magnifying glass to take their own closer look. Flat shoes or bare feet are requested. Net proceeds from ticket sales will benefit the educational programs of the NC Native Plant Society and Mountain Moss Enterprises. Enjoy Southern hospitality at its best in this serene, green retreat and discover how you can... Go Green With Moss! Date: Sunday, May 16, 2010 Garden hours: 9:30 am – 7 pm Tour Times: 10, 12, 2, 4, 6 Admission: $35 ticket (moss guided tour); $25 (garden only, self-guided tour) Space is limited. Tickets may be purchased online at: http://mountainmoss.com/index.php?id=37 [caption id="attachment_390" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Your Moss Garden Invitation"][/caption] [caption id="attachment_391" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Check out this giant copper ball scultpure."][/caption] [caption id="attachment_392" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Impressive Cone Sculptures"][/caption] [caption id="attachment_393" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Mossy trail"][/caption]
Middle-schoolers Making Moss Magic 0[caption id="attachment_378" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Yeah, you can touch it!"][/caption] Middle-schoolers made moss magic this afternoon in Brevard, NC. About a dozen kids, both boys and girls, actively participated in a lively discussion of bryophytes – focusing on some of our local mosses. They learned botanical names for various types as they had the chance to touch pleurocarpus and acrocarpus types. Using loupes, these Jr. Earthkeepers at Brevard Middle School got to take their own closer look at specimens, including some in sporophytic stage. This afterschool club is sponsored by the Transylvania Garden Club. In a whirlwind of information, these eager moss apprentices learned about unique botanical characteristics, substrates and microclimates. We talked about environmental benefits of having moss lawns versus grass. Responsible land stewardship was mentioned so that kids would recognize the value of mosses as a forest resource and not take moss from our public forests. One young man brought up the myth about the using mosses in the woods as your compass. My response was that it is not a good idea in these parts since you can find mosses growing all the way around trees. You might be going round and round in circles instead of finding North. Culminating our hands-on experience, each student made their own moss dish garden using Dicranum, Thuidium, Heterophyllium, and Leucobryum moss types. Accents of Cladonia lichens (reindeer moss – a moss faker and British soldiers) complemented their miniature green landscapes. Amazingly, girls and guys alike decided to add polished blue-colored glass to simulate a cool stream. Their creativity and enthusiasm at the end of our mossy session was impressive. It makes my moss spirit soar to spend time sharing mosses with kids of all ages. It's been a good day. Making moss magic today has been great fun. Go Green With Moss! [caption id="attachment_379" align="alignleft" width="158" caption="Could she be the next moss maven?"][/caption]
Welcome to Mountain Moss Enterprises' Blog! Join me in discovering the magic of mosses juxtaposed with the practical environmental benefits of mosses in sustainable landscapes. Whether you are a landscaper, green roof designer, urban planner, home gardener or just another moss lover like me, you'll find out how to choose the right moss for the right place for successful moss gardening applications.
I've been called a “true moss maven”, moss artist, and sometimes even a moss maniac... but, most people just call me Mossin' Annie. I started my own moss journey making my first moss terrarium when I was a little girl. I still enjoy the miniature world of mosses advocating the viability of mosses as a desirable horticultural choice. My innovative designs create year-round green delight in landscape installations by featuring the myriad of textures and shades of green of western North Carolina's indigenous bryophytes.
This blog will mainly address moss questions and answers. Beyond FAQs, I'll provide links to other informational sites, discuss related GREEN issues and provide insights into my moss world... always promoting an atmosphere of cooperation and collaboration with other moss advocates. I invite you to participate in discussions and share your own mossy perspectives. Go Green With Moss!Please visit my Web site: http://www.mountainmoss.com for more info and a glimpse into my image gallery. Facebook folks, I invite you to join my Go Green With Moss group and to become a fan of Mountain Moss Enterprises.