Archive for reindeer moss

As a gardener, although it is the middle of Winter, some days you just have to get outside and get your hands in the dirt.  Sunday afternoon the skies had cleared and the sun was shinning.  I couldn’t resist.

Most of you probably have enjoyed our tulip display in the Spring in our large flower box under our sign.  Those bulbs were planted the first of January after chilling a few months in my extra refrigerator.  I didn’t quite finish the tulip planting chore that day and stuck the rest back in the frig.  Finally, I had a day to finish the planting and hope I didn’t get them in the ground too late.

Here is a picture of the Fall window boxes attached to the front of our building.  They were planted in October with some hardy and some tender plants that I knew would not survive the first frost.  I liked the combination and knew some could endure(the pansies and ornamental cabbage).  With the colder temperature the ornamental peppers and spider plants gave up the ghost.

garden_flowerbox_fall_ornamental_cabbage_peppers_spiderplant_pansies_lake_gaston

I planned to used these boxes and plant the tulips around the hardier plants but I had a lot of open bare areas showing.  Years ago my friend Patsy Cuthrell  showed me the reindeer lichen growing along many of our roads.  It’s also called reindeer moss and often used in floral arrangement and terrariums.  Reindeer moss is really a lichen: a combination of a fungus and algae that have a symbiotic relationship and form a new plant. The moss is spongy when moist, but dries out when removed from its natural habitat.  It can be preserved with glycerin and dyed with fabric dye.   How to Preserve Reindeer Moss  Since I was just using it for a short time in the boxes I left it natural.

I am lucky to have access to this lichen right at the end of my road.  Harvesting the plants is so simple because it spreads on top of the other ground cover.  Here is my harvest spot and bounty.  It took all of five minutes to collect.

garden_closeup_lichen_reindeer_moss_winter_ground_cover_floral_arranging_lake_gaston Garden_winter_lichen_inthewoods_reindeer_moss_flower_arranging_material-lake-gaston garden_lichen_reindeer_moss_winter_harvest

Some years I have better luck than others with the tulips in these boxes because they do not get a lot of sun in front of the building and the deer find them very tasty.  Here is a picture of the boxes in 4/2012.

garden_flowerbox_spring_tulips_Lake_gaston_msll

Next I cleaned up the dead plants out of the flower boxes and planted twelve tulips in each of the three planters.

garden_flowerbox_without_lichen-winter-ornamental-cabbage

 

Here is where I used the reindeer lichen to dress up the boxes and hide the bare spots until the tulips poke through and do their thing.

garden_flowerbox_cabbage_ornamental-lichen-pansies-mary-sherwood-lake-living

Keep your fingers crossed I didn’t plant the  tulips too late.

On the warmer winter days do you head to the outdoors?  What do you do? Garden, exercise, hike?  Let us hear about your winter outdoor adventures around Lake Gaston.  I am sure some of you sneak in a leisurely boat ride on the lake while the sun is bright!  Send us your Winter outdoor pictures to share.

Happy Winter!  I have visions of the Spring to come!

Mary

 

UA-15526419-1