Small-Plant Gardens and Moss Gardens
SMALL PLANT GARDENS
House plants that are not in themselves particularly striking gain greatly in effect if they are combined in mixed plant gardens in large bowls or dishes. Many house plants do better in a community.
Fill the bowl either with John Innes potting compost No. 1 or soil to which a little crushed charcoal has been added, and arrange the plants on the surface to get some idea of composition before turning them out of their pots. The plants themselves should be chosen for contrasting shapes and textures as well as colours.
Plant firmly, interspersing a few small pieces of rock if desired, then cover the surface of the soil with coarse sand or granite clippings. Take great care not to over-water, especially during the winter months; small-plant gardens that are kept in centrally heated rooms will, of course, need more water than those kept in cold rooms.
An unusual and lovely decoration for a dinner table or a party is the temporary small-plant garden made especially for the occasion. Dig up the plants from the outside garden and arrange them artistically in a bowl. Into the soil between the plants push metal funnels, which can be bought for this purpose. Fill the funnels with water and stand fresh-cut blooms in them. This combination of growing plants arranged with cut flowers is called pot-et-fleur.
The time of year to make a moss garden is mid-winter, when the mosses growing in the woods are at their best. Dig out clumps of various kinds of mosses—the search for them makes a pleasant outing for a winter’s day—and arrange them in a flat dish. An old meat server is ideal. Take care that no moss straggles over the edge of the dish or it will act as a syphon and dry out. The moss should be sprayed with water once each week. Variety and colour can be added to moss gardens either by tucking primrose or violet roots between the patches of moss, or by sticking in one or two winter blossoms cut fresh from the garden. However, the contrasts of texture and colour of one moss with another are quite interesting enough to warrant the use of mosses alone.