Both Jocelyn (who works on the blog with me) and I were taken by surprise with the new format of the blog- from clicks to scroll. There are changes involving Picasa, WordPress and Google all of which help power the blog. We are working through the glitches now and hope that we will be able to deliver a blog that runs smoothly as a scroll, with photos that can be enlarged for more detailed views, with easy access to "comments" and other blogs, and easy to read captions on all devices from desktop computers, to iPads to mobile devices of all sorts. We love that you all love the blog and find it informative and useful, and we want it to be as easy to use as possible. Changes will occur and we beg you to have a bit of patience until all is ironed out. As for the sling on my left arm- I had a clumsy fall off my horse a couple weeks ago - the low branch that swept me off Rutger's back has been removed from its Catalpa tree and my arm is on the mend. Not to worry!!! Thanks for the concern however. --Martha
Whenever I can, I love bringing a bit of the outdoors inside.
During summer at Skylands, I always fill several of my garden planters with some of the natural elements found in the woodlands near my Seal Harbor home. Various mosses, lichens, seedlings, pine needles, and old pieces of wood are brought in to create miniature forests that last all season long. Moss is a slow growing wild plant that should never be harvested in large amounts - in fact, it is illegal to take any moss from national forests without permission. Once the season is over, we always make sure the moss we harvested is returned to the forest where it can regenerate and flourish.
Kevin Sharkey makes many of the cut flower arrangements and container gardens that are used to decorate the main gathering rooms. Recently, he brought a large antique stone planter to life with a stunning living arrangement of woodland plantings. Here are some photos - enjoy.
This is an antique stone planter I purchased from this year’s annual Trade Secrets rare plant and gardening antiques sale.
It is very large – nearly three-feet in diameter. It is on a very strong structure. The table top is made of wood-grained cement and weighs 1200-pounds!
I loved the design etched right on the border.
I knew I would use the planter for fresh arrangements, so I had a custom-made galvanized metal planting liner made especially for the container. Sources for these include Betlan Sheet Metal in Newtown, Connecticut, Merdo Roofing in Connecticut, and Bowden Sheet Metal Fabricators in Maine.
It fits perfectly in the stone planter and protects the porous vessel, the table and the floors and carpets from any dripping water.
These are some of the supplies Kevin used – sheets to cover the table underneath the planter, garden scissors, garbage bags, and various small towels or rags.
To add texture to the moss garden, Kevin used some natural stones. These are some I’ve collected over the years.
He also used some golden pine needles from the forest floor at Skylands – everything is from the woodlands.
Chicken wire is so useful when making any kind of arrangement – it is available at The Home Depot, and can be shaped to fit any size vessel. Kevin used it to create the inner structure of the moss arrangement.
Kevin used all kinds of moss from the woodland – it is all carefully returned to the outdoors at the end of the season.
Kevin used sphagnum moss, pincushion moss, Mountain Moss Leucobryum, plume moss, bog moss and other woodland elements that vary in thickness and texture.
He also used natural evergreen plantings he found.
Here is a piece of wood covered in lichen. Lichen is a slow-growing organism that forms from fungi and algae on rocks, and trees. It is so fun to collect all the materials from the woodland floor near my home.
Here is the finished moss garden – it is so beautiful. The evergreen seedling is perfect in scale for this miniature forest. And the moss will live well indoors for months if misted regularly with water.
It’s stunning from every angle. Our miniature forest will thrive here until it is returned to the woods where the moss can regenerate.