Interested In Improving The Look Of A Blank Wall Or Fence In Your Garden, Try Moss Wall Art
by Art Drysdale
by Art Drysdale


Art Drysdale, a life-long resident of Toronto and a horticulturist well known all across Canada, is now a resident of Parksville, British Columbia on Vancouver Island, just north of Nanaimo. He has reno-vated an old home and has a new garden there. His radio gardening vignettes are heard in south-western Ontario over radio station Easy 101 FM out of Tillsonburg at 2 PM weekdays.

Art also has his own website at

March 6, 2016

Above, this photo of moss wall art is from the Spring 2014 issue of Garden Clinic magazine published by my good friend Graham Ross and his family in Australia. Below, here are some pieces of moss pulled out of a lawn before they have been cleaned of soil.




I guess we gardeners all know moss when we see it and out here in B.C. most of us will add a chemical (such as Wilson’s MossOut which has an 18.6 percent Ferrous sulphate solution along with a 5-0-0 nitrogen fertilizer) to our lawns to kill off excess moss soon now in spring. But there is a project you can do with moss that might just suit some part of your vertical garden—for instance a dull, blank wall or fence.

I recently discovered a short article by Linda Ross, managing editor of the Garden Clinic (Australian) in-house magazine on doing moss wall art. Actually, this is not the only place I have seen this which is sometimes called “Moss Art Graffiti”. Apparently it has been featured on HGTV (US version) and is seen reasonably extensive in Toronto.

What I am suggesting here is the use of moss wall art in private gardens or on private proper-ties. There are numerous people who think it should be used in public places. Most people have never seen green moss like this before. Street art is one of the most debated forms of art there is. I couldn’t tell you how many times I have discussed this art form and gotten both positive and negative reactions. Some people feel it’s a destruction of public property, while others see it as a beautification of everyone’s daily hangouts. It is an infected topic that usually ends with both sides going their own way none the wiser.

Even though there is a distinct difference between confined street art and graffiti, it seems some people just don’t like the idea of putting art in public places because people’s tastes vary so much. They feel as if some people might not like a certain type of art; therefore, everyone should just leave the boring facades alone and as is. However, there are so many different kinds of street art that don’t really have to be destructive. Take this green moss art for example.

Here is one way of doing it, as suggested by Linda Ross in Australia. There are several other variations. Spring is the best time to establish your design before the hot weather of summer kicks in.

First gather a good handful of moss from any one of numerous sites where it grows. As I said, out here I would just need to pull it out of our lawn. You will need to clean off as much of the accompanying soil as possible holding it under a spray jet in your kitchen (or outdoor) tap, or perhaps rinsing it in a bucket.

Once you have it as clean as you can get it, put it in your blender. At this point you will need to add some ingredients!

A half cup of buttermilk or plain yogurt is a must, but you should also add a tablespoon of sugar and two cups of lukewarm water or beer. You may also wish to add some corn syrup. One additional item you may add if you have access to it is a long term water reservoir product (of-ten called a water retention gardening gel) such as can be used either indoors for potted plants or mixed with the garden soil outdoors.

Turn on the blender and blend until you get a thick, creamy consistency.

Now, if you have not already done so, choose a position to do your masterpiece! A wall or fence facing south will be best so that direct sunshine won’t kill off the moss. Moss grows quickly on a vertical surface, but it needs to be porous. Choose brick, wood or concrete. Draw your design onto the vertical surface.

Paint the surface with your green ‘paint’! If you have extra moss mixture, keep it in the refrigerator to reapply when and if needed.

Daily maintenance in the early days is very important. Mist the moss surface every day. Continue misting and reapplying moss paint until it begins to establish in about a week. To keep the moss and tiny ferns growing, mist almost daily depending on the atmosphere.

If you are in a climate that gets extremely hot in the summer (such as is the case in Sydney, Australia where Linda Ross resides) you may find that the moss art turns brown but the plants will survive droughts by going dormant until less hot weather returns.

Good luck with your project!


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