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Marshall Native Gardens Initiative

 The Friends of Madison County Library has undertaken a long term project to create environmentally sensitive and sustainable gardens and landscapes on the grounds of the Madison County Public Libraries for the general public's education, use, and enjoyment.  The vision for this project would be accomplished by fostering land and water stewardship through environmentally friendly garden designs and maintenance and associated educational programs on the library grounds.  As part of the project, two plants, a native and an invasive, will be chosen to be highlighted each month in all library branches. Look for the displays of the plants and information that you can read and use.
The website for the Marshall Native Gardens Initiative will tell you more!



 Native Plant of the Month: Moss

Consider moss. This simple, one inch high plant is easy to grow in shady places where grass is reluctant to provide more than a few sparse, unhappy blades. Moss likes nutrient poor and compacted soils, is not fussy about pH, doesn’t require fertilizer, never needs to be mowed and is evergreen if kept moist. It survives periods of drought by going dormant and turning brown but, unlike most other plants, it quickly revives to a beautiful emerald green when watered.

Moss is an excellent ground cover for ferns and other woodland plants and shrubs and can be used in place of invasive species like myrtle and ivy. Other than occasional light watering, the only maintenance moss requires is blowing off debris and fallen leaves. Since a thick carpet of moss is weed resistant, not much weeding is required.

Here’s how to start your moss garden: choose a shady place and remove all weeds and debris such as small rocks, branches and leaves. (You can use a pre-emergent like Preen to prevent existing seeds from germinating.) Moss likes to be in direct contact with the soil, so it helps to lightly scratch the soil surface to help moss attach.

Once planted, water it and walk on it once, lightly. In Madison County moss loves to grow in shady lawns and woods. Some people dislike moss and are happy to have you pull up a clump or two and carry it off. A large clump of moss can be divided into many tiny pieces.

Another way to get moss is to propagate it yourself. Before you try this make sure the person who cooks and cleans your kitchen is away on a shopping spree.

Here's a recipe. Mix a large clump of moss and 2 cups of buttermilk in a blender. (Some people add ½ cup beer and ½ cup sugar). Blend to the thickness of a milk shake and spread or paint on rocks, pots, logs and even the ground.

For further inspiration and some wonderful photos check the web. The quiet beauty of a moss garden inspires peacefulness and rest. Add a small bench, brimg out your morning coffee and enjoy. ( by Marian Plaut)