Cushion Moss and Pansy Project

This is a simple project that only needs a few things to create it. I got some box store pansies and collected some cushion moss growing at the base of a local commercial building. It would have been eradicated when they clean the sidewalks, so a little humility, a trowel and plastic shopping bag was all I needed to make my heist.

The idea was not mine, but that of a local independent garden store/nursery. They used violas, as you will see below, and I used pansies. They positioned their bird bath in partial sun, mine is in north shade. I grow a good crop of moss in this location each year.

But I bet you are wondering how the nursery and I keep the pansies from getting root rot. We both used grower carriers that is keeping the pansies elevated to avoid sitting in water. Mine additionally has a gravel bottom. The moss loves the gravel.

A little sun does greet the pansies in the late afternoon.

The bed you see by the fence has fern planted which are just little nubs right now. It will be a while before I see them, so there is more pansy placed in this bed. Morning sun bathes the bed until 10 am.

This bird bath gets moved to another shaded spot in a bed of iris. Since no iris yet, I put it here for you to see.  A pedestal water feature is in this location during summer. I will put it out when the weather is more reliable.

You can see I have moss growing on the bluestone paver. There is no spot of the cut stone showing. Carex is planted which fills in summer. The Carex also likes shaded, moist conditions, but I have it thriving in full sun and dry conditions also.

This area remains moist all summer, and the moss thrives even in hot weather. The area is warmer in winter near the brick home and cooler in summer due to the north facing wall.

The paver and moss base.

Moss and rock.

The sunlit pansy shines.

The store’s pretty violas coordinate with their bird bath and also are well scaled to the size of the container. They used sheet moss.

I do like the store’s bird baths much better, but I like my arrangement more. My pansies have room to grow, where the violas are packed in tightly. They are planted by the way. Like I mentioned they also used the lattice-like plastic grower’s containers.

About Garden Walk Garden Talk

I love to photograph, paint, draw, design, garden, travel the world, and pass on a few tips and ideas that I learned through experience as a Master Gardener and architect. I am highly trained in my field and enjoy my work each and every day. I garden in Niagara Falls, NY in zone 6-B. Find me at:
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25 Responses to Cushion Moss and Pansy Project

  1. Catherine says:

    What a great idea! I like the moss and planting you did better too. The whole bed looks really nice.

  2. Laurrie says:

    I really like this! I somehow wound up with too many birdbaths for my garden. Rather than leave one or two unused, I might try this! And I have plenty of cushion moss around my own patio that I can steal.

  3. One says:

    I love the moss. Never thought of rescuing them… 🙂 Thanks for the suggestion.

  4. Cat says:

    Oh, you lucky girls to have moss! We find it occasionally in the woods but never would I be able to keep it alive through our summer. I like your arrangement better too Donna. Beautiful!

  5. b-a-g says:

    Thanks for this planting suggestion, I was looking for ideas for adding height to my garden. I always think that pansies don’t look right when I see them planted in flower beds on the ground, but your moss cushion really sets them off.

  6. So pretty!! But like Cat says, not a whole lot of moss growing in our summer heat. When I do happen to see moss, that tells me there is a drainage problem and water is standing. Hands down, your pansy/moss arrangement is prettier!! Good job 🙂

  7. beautiful Donna, I have lots of moss in with the heath in the moor areas I’ve not touched in my garden and often find lodge pole pine seedlings in it, perhaps I should consider planting in it, Frances

  8. I love this idea and would like to try it but I am not sure exactly what is in the birdbath besides the moss and the pansies and how it’s all arranged. What is a grower carrier?

  9. I love your moss arrangement so much! Oh, how I wish I could grow moss here.

  10. Holley says:

    Great idea! I’m going to steal this and do this to my birdbath! No birds bathe there – only cats drink out of it. This would be a much better use of it. Thanks!

  11. Christine says:

    Donna, I think yours is much nicer than the stores’ one – you have an amazing eye for this. How I would love to do something like this … oh dear, I’m going to need a bigger garden soon 🙂

  12. To answer some questions I got on this project, the grower’s container is what you receive 4 1/2 inch pots to carry and transport them. I modified mine by cutting to shape and wiring. But wire mesh works well too as does fiber mats. But you have to keep all above the sitting water for the pansies. I added charcoal to the gravel to keep the water that accumulates smelling fresh. The moss itself absorbs much of the water too. I did this last year with good results. The nursery’s container already was rounded in shape. I was not sure where they got it. They should have had gravel below but did not.

  13. A charming title for what is a delectably pretty display. Thought pansies needed more sun but your flowers prove me wrong. Do love inspirational projects such as this Donna so please keep them coming!

  14. LYNN ROGERS says:

    Donna, Loved the pansy/viola/moss planting. It is so pretty and portable. Yours is a lot prettier than the commercial ones. Very creative way to plant to pansies to keep them from rotting. I’m going to try one too. Thanks for the great idea!

  15. p3chandan says:

    Very grand idea of turning bird baths into such beautiful little gardens on pedestals!

  16. I agree with Christine. I love yours. The living moss certainly makes it. I wish had enough water here for moss to grow beyond dark and shady northern corners. I’ll just have to enjoy yours from afar.

  17. A lovely use of a birdbath! I can just see you furtively scraping moss off the side of a building, and watching over your shoulder as you bag your loot 😉 Too funny!

  18. Donna says:

    I love it…simple and yet so beautiful…the moss you used really makes the flowers pop…

  19. Sue Langley says:

    Donna, that is such a great idea! I could do it now( I planted a pansy container recently) and will try it as soon as it stops snowing. Thanks for a great post!

  20. Karen says:

    Donna, your arrangement is ever so much prettier than the store’s display. What a wonderful use for an old birdbath (I have one sitting around that could be put to good use!)

    Love the colors of your pansies, the whole planting just draws your eye to it and announces Spring is here.

  21. That’s really pretty – I love pansies and violas, but they do need to be in a pot of some sort, I always think they look a little odd just in a border. I love the idea of moss rescue too!

  22. I love love love this idea!!! It’s so cute!! I like your arrangement best. I have the top of an old dark metal birdbath stashed away in my basement. Hmmm…. Maybe I could do something similar! Thanks for the inspiration!! :o)

  23. What a beautiful idea! The pansies really stand out in the stone birdbath. I must try this…really stunning!

  24. Dear Donna, I like your arrangement better than the one at the store. But what a wonderful idea … one I intend to copy! P x

  25. This moss is just beautiful! Love the way it compliments the pansies. I have bags of spanish moss and reindeer moss that I plan to use as a table decoration for a wedding shower next weekend. After it’s over I hope to steal your idea and decorate my pots with it.

    Thanks so much for visiting my blog! I appreciate your thoughtful comment. You’re right–I enjoy design both inside and out, and I really enjoy blogging about them both. I’m honored that you recognized that! Thanks again.

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