Those of you who have read my articles in Hort Journal Australia may well know my feelings on artificial plants by now. I must admit that those strong feelings extend to not only fake, but also preserved mosses. What is the point if the plants are not alive? Therefore, when I saw a ‘living’ moss wall promoted on Facebook I was intrigued. Is it for real?
You know how it is. It is late afternoon, but not late enough that you can justify ‘clocking off’. You’re stuck in your office, wherever that may be, trying to finish one or two more tasks on your computer. You would much rather be somewhere else, i.e. with your plants. Your mind drifts, you get distracted and cannot focus. If you are anything like me, you may think “I will just take a quick moment to check out what is happening on Facebook”.
And so it was that I checked out what American interior plantscapers were up to on the ‘Interiorscape.com – for Plantscaping Professionals’ Facebook group. There I saw video and photos of Jim Mumford from Good Earth Plants showing off the new living moss wall he had installed. I wanted to know more. A few clicks later and a lively question and answer session with Jim started to occur via email. The wonders of the world wide web! Here is what I found out …
Jim Mumford, Good Earth Plants
Jim has been in the industry for several decades now. Having bought a flower shop in 1977 at age 20, he then started doing what the Americans call ‘interiorscaping’ in 1980. Jim’s business Good Earth Plants design, install and maintain living and replica potted plants, living walls, moss walls and green roofs. Jim started looking at green roofs in 2005, got serious about them in 2006. He built one on his corporate headquarters in March 2007, claiming it was the first permitted green roof in San Diego. He then moved into living walls and to date has installed well over 100 of them indoors and outdoors, mostly in southern California but also across the United States.
“I’ve recognized that over the past few years we’ve been considered the “go-to” guy when an architect, designer or developer has some wild new never done before idea with plants,” says Jim. And no doubt liking to stay ahead of the game, Jim was only too keen to trial this living moss wall.
“This is the ‘Verdure’ system developed by Al Benner and Jim Fucetola of Moss Acres in Pennsylvania. It is the only interior living moss wall system currently available, and we’ve got one at Good Earth Plant Company in San Diego, California,” says Jim, “It’s a stainless-steel waterproof cabinet with a moving irrigation misting bar, LED lights and a water basin. It mists for about a minute every three hours, several times a day.”
Misting system: Click here to watch it in action!
Jim says that while he is experiencing no overspray from the mist, it does raise the humidity in the room it is situated in, and smells like the woods!
My partner who is French tells me that ‘verdure’ loosely translated means ‘greenery’.
Bryum caespeticium is growing on the vertical portion of Jim’s wall and Leucobryum glaucum (Cushion Moss) atop the basin. Jim says that the ‘nickname’ for B. caespeticium in his part of the world is ‘Sidewalk Moss’ because it grows everywhere. Despite this propensity for growth, Jim and his team are considering going ahead with only L. glaucum in the future.
Mosses: Click here to see the mosses and the system up close.
Jim claims that the maintenance requirements for this wall are minimal: “Refill the water tank every week. Watch for fungus gnats or mould (this is just a guess). No pruning, cleaning or mulching. No fertilizer, the moss gets nutrients from the air.”
This brand-new system is only just coming onto the American market, so seeing how it holds up over time in a rough and ready real-world environment remains to be seen. However, gathering by the response Jim has received from other American interior plantscapers, the Verdure living moss wall will quickly become a hot item.
If you want to know more about the technical details, pricing and lead times, I recommend that you contact the manufacturer directly through its sister company: Moss Walls.
Gabrielle Stannus / Inwardout Studio
IPA Board Member