embracing moss in the PNW

Like the Forest or a Golf Course

I'm on vacation, staycation. We have a plan, to see Chihuly, to buy dinner at Pike Market, to ride the ferry to Friday Harbor. It's raining today, finally, and I'm going outside to pull some weeds, pull some weeds in the cool air until I fill the yard waste bin.

I always wondered about throwing away all that potential dirt. I don't mind throwing away the blackberries. Those things will grow from a dried up stick four inches long. I don't mind throwing away the nettles that come up easily but drop premature seeds with the disturbance and somehow manage to sprout in the same place anyway. Nettles grow whenever I disturb the ground.

But I hate losing the leaves that feed the trees what they've lost. I hate losing the grass clippings that could be piled up and composted to dirt for my flowers.

Go talk to Mike.

Mike and I have so very different plans and approaches to the yard work. He will clear out a patch of weeds, pulling bleeding heart that I paid fifteen dollars for, yellow poppy that I cultivated from seed, fox glove, columbine. It all looks like weeds to him.

When he's done, it looks nice to the untrained eye. Bushes trimmed into submission, bark blocking new weeds, a patch of stinky bob, Geranium robertianum, shaped and left to stink up my garden. Mike tramples and pulls the infants grown by our Japanese maple, the ones I try so hard to transplant and foster until they're big enough to plant by the driveway. 

Mike and I have such different plans that I end up giving up, hoping that he won't mow over something I recently bought at the local nursery. My method is so much more laissez faire, to get native plants to grow like the most beautiful places in the forest, bunchberry, maidenhair fern, Solomon's seal, huckleberry, snowberry, Western red cedar, Douglas fir, vine maple, thimbleberry, salmonberry, moss.

I love moss.

I keep buying scotch moss, Irish moss, sphagnum moss, peat moss and Mike keeps pulling it up. When I was a kid, my brother and I used to design houses. His had windmills, solar panels, and compost heating. Mine always had a creek running through the living room with moss instead of carpet and cushions. I would sit in a comfy chair like this one. I dream of having a lawn of moss instead of grass. Hey, you'd never have to mow. I want deep shade from Western red cedars, Douglas fir, and Western hemlock. In the undergrowth, I want Western sword fern, deer fern, maidenhair fern, even bracken. I'd encourage salal, Oregon grape, bleeding heart, trillium, and more moss.

Mike wants our yard to look like a golf course.

Nobody wins.

Thank you for listening, jules