This eerily blurred view of the setting sun, glowing red through the thick rain clouds and hazy atmosphere last Thursday evening, after only three hundredths of an inch of rain, got me to thinking about the fate of this summer's garden here at Blooming Hill. The intense heat and high humidity of the past week found us slowing down the pace in the garden, save for what seemed to be constant watering of the ever-thirsty plants--especially those in pots. Fortunately, the troublesome weeds have also begun to curb their voracious march through the beds and are taking vacations to somewhere where the ground has to be moister and softer to conquer during these "High Summer" days.
Surprisingly, moss is growing in some of the driest of places throughout the yard and it's soft, almost velvet appearance got me to thinking about what I could do with this fuzzy green carpet that seems to be thriving even in these grueling "Dog Days of Summer." "Let's try weathering garden pots like Martha Stewart does!" I said to Peter, who was all to eager to try it as well. After all, we had the moss, water, shade and most certainly, humidity. All we had to do was make a stop at the Philomont General Store for some buttermilk and Peter and I were in business. However, in the back of my mind, I was thinking that we need to get a life around here if the thought of "mossing pots" seems like an exciting thing to do on a hot summer weekend.
A quick moss starter recipe is as follows...I'm not sure whether Martha Stewart would approve or agree but, we were now fully committed to this project of encouraging moss to grow on just about every pot we have here at our happy little "Philomont Farmlet." Here it is:
Moss Starter Recipe:
Take a clump (a small handful) of healthy moss from your yard (or ask a neighbor for some if you don't have any, or buy it at your local nursery) and crumble it into your blender.
Add about 2 cups or so of buttermilk and about 2 cups of water. Or, at least equal parts of each depending on how much moss you have. (We made two batches since we wanted to weather just about all of our pots--those to sell and those in our own collection.)
Blend the ingredients together, with the blender set on it's lowest speed, until the concoction is completely mixed and is the consistency of a thin milkshake. Add more water if necessary.
Now you are ready, like we were, togo to town, so to speak, and paint garden pots, statuary and anything else we could think of to, hopefully, lend a mossy, antiqued texture to pots in the garden. It's a fun and easy project that, apparently tastes good, too...at least Tucker thinks so.
We couldn't resist the urge to paint my stash of small, new and old pots gathered in the greenhouse and waiting to be filled with scented geranium, rosemary, myrtle and chrysanthemum cuttings almost ready for transplanting. I'll be offering these at fall fairs. Even though a missed pumpkin seed seems to be thriving, with lots of flowers and buds on it, nestled comfortably in the dirt floor of the greenhouse, it seemed a bit too sunny for moss to grow on pots in here. I'll be moving these to a shady spot where the moss will have an easier time emerging. The pungent aroma of buttermilk and dirt smelled like some kind of earthy salad dressing and really permeated the air in the greenhouse. It took only a few minutes to quickly paint the mixture on these pots and I was glad when they were done and moved back outdoors. Thank goodness for fresh air!
Every time I turned around, it seemed as though Peter found yet another pot in the yard to paint! Well, why waste a perfectly good concoction of buttermilk and moss? Anything in the garden made of terracotta, natural stone or cement, it seemed, was not left untouched by Peter's artistic hand. And, Tucker, following along, liked the idea too, and left his seal of approval.
So, now I've added watering pots to my already too long of a watering list--(what was I thinking?!)--and am waiting patiently for ordinary clay pots to turn into charming pieces of garden ephemera with an artful twist from Peter and me and Mother Nature, herself. New pots and old pots, both filled and unfilled, are growing moss on their surfaces and soon will have a rich, earthy green patina to show off. How clever is that?!?...I know...Like I said before...We have got to get a life around here! I'll keep you updated on the condition of the pots...