Mosses – Beauty before the Snow

Moss at FernwoodThis time of year, when most of the landscape is brown, and before the heavy snows cover the forest floor, one of my favorite sights in the woods are the many mosses. They seem to really glow with their vibrant shades of green, sometimes complimented with equally colorful spore capsules. With the absence of other green plants to hide them and compete for your attention, they are able to easily stand out in the landscape.

Mosses are of great value in the garden, often growing where other plants won’t or can’t. Most mosses need but even moisture and shade to thrive, often with little or no soil. Some will tolerate sun, but usually not for long periods of time. When they do dry out and wither, the first bit of moisture revives them, and quickly. Continue reading

Winter Reading at Fernwood

Book ImageRecently a good friend sent us this excellent book on Chinese plants. ‘Guide to the Flowers of Western China’ by Christopher Grey-Wilson & Philip Cribb, It is an amazing compilation of valuable information on over 2,700 plants from one of the world’s richest temperate areas. Western China, the books focus, especially the provinces of Yunnan and Sichuan, has been explored for some time because of the vast diversity and richness of the flora. China, as a country, has about 12% of the world’s plant biodiversity. Thirty thousand species of higher plants, compared to 17,000 species of higher plants in North America (US and Canada).

With over 2,000 photos and detailed information about each plant and its habitat, the reader can get a very good description of those plants that they think might be in their garden, and those that one can lust for and try to obtain and grow. Many plants from China are already mainstays in our gardens, Astilbe, Paeonia, and Cimicifuga are just a few with more being discovered, propagated, and made available to us. The anticipation of these plants and their future cultivars will certainly be something to look forward to, especially for the plant enthusiast. Continue reading