At the farthest reaches of my backyard is erected the grayest cement wall ever. Failing this boundary, I’d have an easy walk past the fingers of birches to the hilltop overlooking Ramsey Lake. But I don’t. I have a cement wall.
I’ve toyed around with a variety of ideas about how to best love this wall. I mean, if it’s going to be the backdrop for my garden, it’s got to fit in. And I, the social convener, must find a way for everyone to get along smoothly.
My first notion was to grow as much Virginia Creeper as I could handle. Trail those tendrils to cover up the banality. But then I thought, here I have a blank palette — this space could house a masterpiece. And so I found willing participants in a few of my artistically inclined friends to spend some days recreating Tom Thomson’s West Wind.
Still, two really great ideas, no? But then I found the keeper on Pinterest, no less. The idea was originally on a website dedicated to Street Art, which aims to frame the idea of “graffiti” (in its most negative connotation) as something that can beautify forgotten urban spaces.
The notion is to create moss designs. Living art, so to speak. I love this concept, since it encourages life and beauty. This pairing made the decision official for me.
Here’s what you’ll need to get your moss on:
3 cups moss
3 cups lukewarm water
2 tbsp water retention gel
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 easy to handle paint brush
1 water mister
Instructions: In your blender, toss your moss your water, the gel and the milk. Blend. Transfer to bucket. Paint on space. Mist weekly with water.
You can have success with this project anywhere, but ideally, your space will see some shade so your moss doesn’t dry out after one sunny afternoon. My wall is in a perpetual funk, so nurturing my moss will be much less demanding.
Now, I have to figure out what I’d like to write or what design I’ll use. Spelling something meaningful is nice: “green,” or “grow” are nice choices. It’s not like a tattoo you’ll be stuck with, but make sure you consult your spell check. You’d hate to have to scrape off and start anew.
Once you’ve grown your moss in your own backyard, think of the possibilities. You could liven up a forgotten public space and remind others that beauty is important. Think of our downtown! I can think of a dozen great walls to regenerate with moss without effort.
It’s like this: when we show others that we care about how these spaces look, then they’ll start to care too, and that’s when change happens. It really can start in your own backyard.
Anne Boulton is an avid gardener who lives in Sudbury. Visit her blog at greenboots.ca or contact her at email@example.com.
Posted by Laurel Myers