My Creative Workbook

Christine de Beer - effortless floral craftsman

Mossy “Moss” Pebble… in the snow

To craft this design we have three options:
A single use option by simply balling up the moss inside the container and using that as your mechanic. The water in the moss will then hydrate the cut flower stems. Enjoy the design while it looks pretty and use the container for something else once done.
Or as a slightly longer lasting option you can add the entire flower bulb into the balled up moss design so that the flowers continue to grow and maybe the moss as well.
My preference, for this design at least, was to focus on and protect the moss. It is a bit more of an effort to create a moss habitat but I would love to add it to my terrarium after the flowers have faded. To do that I need to quarantine my moss before I design with it. That is what I am telling you about this week in our email. If you are not receiving a weekly email (always on a Wednesday morning at about 8, Vancouver time) from me you can sign up below this post. The email is for us to connect. I write to you about something I found interesting about the design to make sure you get the most possible out of the teaching. And you can then reply to the email if you have questions or a comment.

Step one is always to get good quality moss

Step one when designing with moss: always to get good quality, sustainably grown and harvested moss. It actually should be so valuable that you do not want it to die. Once cleaned, groomed and quarantined you are ready to design.

My number one rule is to ALWAYS make sure you have permission to forage anything from anywhere. Yes, even in the forest. Yes, even on the side of the road. Rather leave it there for all to enjoy. If you go through the effort to ask for permission you value it enough to research how to take just enough and then give it the best possible chance to thrive well beyond seeing it just as a mechanic.
Better yet, if it is not growing in your garden source your moss from someone who is an expert.

Prepare a display surface

Prepare a display surface. For my design I am using an upturned vase that has a convenient ridge on the base that creates a little water dam.

Use a sharp knife to cut into a fake moss pebble

Use a sharp knife to cut into a faux moss pebble.

You can buy these from craft stores or even amazon.

Cut out the shape you want to fill with moss

Cut out the shape you want to fill with moss.

Lift out the cut piece

Lift out the lid piece.

Gather a sheet of heavy duty lining plastic in your hand

Gather a sheet of heavy duty lining plastic in your hand..

Open up the plastic to line the inside of the pebble

Open up the plastic to line the inside of the pebble.

You can skip the lining if you prefer. I line mine because the polystyrene inside was not as dense as I wanted it to be and I am worried that water might seep into it at a later stage. Better do a good job early on than having to discard the moss because I did not line it.

Cut away the plastic

Cut away the plastic.

Secure the plastic to the pebble using hot glue

Secure the plastic lining to the pebble using hot glue.

Design note: Next we choose what is the best habitat and substrata for the particular moss we have. The bag was labeled as step moss (Hylocomium splendens) but it looks like there might also be another type of moss in the mix. But mostly step moss is the most commonly found moss here in the Pacific Northwest. It grows in a variety of habitats on diverse substrata, such as decaying logs in the forest, the forest floor itself, cliff shelves and tree trunks. So giving it a little tree trunk should feel a bit like home.

Using tree fern to grow the moss on

Cut the tree fern into the shape you need to fit into the pebble. Notice the label?

This is the most sustainable tree fern you can buy. Look for "from New Zealand" on the packaging to make sure.

Use fishing line to tie the moss to the tree fern shape

Use fishing line to tie the moss to the tree fern shape.

You can also use green thread but make sure it is polyester to prevent rot.

Soak the fern shape in room temperature distilled water

Soak the fern shape in room temperature distilled water.

Place the shape in the pebble and adjust the moss to create a design

Place the shape in the pebble and adjust the moss to create a design.

Pretty just like this

Pretty just like this... but to finish the design...

Pour out some artificial snow in a shallow container

Pour out some artificial snow in a shallow container.

I get mine from Crate and Barrel but most craft stores sell a version of this snow.

Hold a bamboo skewer under your hot glue gun to catch a drop of glue

Hold a bamboo skewer under your hot glue gun to catch a drop of glue...

Dip the glue in the snow

Dip the glue in the snow...

Reach in under the moss and place the snow on the very edge of the pebble

Reach in under the moss and place the snow on the very edge of the pebble to conceal the glue line.

Make sure not to glue the moss.

Move all the way around the pebble and give it a snow covered edge

Move all the way around the pebble and give it a snow covered edge.

Sprinkle snow over the moss

Sprinkle artificial snow over the moss.

Still want to add a bit more?

Add in two tiny water tubes into the moss.

You can use moss as a mechanic to keep the flowers hydrated but because my moss is going to be in quarantine and I want to continue to grow it I want to avoid introducing any bacteria into the design. When adding flowers make sure to give them a separate water source. Add in two tiny water tubes into the moss.

 Fill the tubes with water and place your flower stems.

Fill the tubes with water and place your flower stems. I also added a few rosary vine succulent leaves into the design... just make sure to seal the cut ends with floral glue.

Want to add even more?

Press a bamboo skewer into the tree fern base

Press a bamboo skewer into the tree fern base.

Cut the skewer at a sharp angle

Cut the skewer at a sharp angle just above the moss...

And spear a mushroom over the skewer

And spear a mushroom over the skewer to hover just above the moss.

Is my favourite mushrooms to add into a floral design

Shiitaki mushrooms are my favourite mushrooms to add into a floral design. They look pretty just like this out of the container but also dry wonderfully. You can read more about these mushrooms on page 123. For more information about my book: The Effortless Floral Craftsman

But to get you started also see the Tutorial below. Add in a few dew drop crystals and scatter in some more snow to finish off the design.

Keeping the moss pebble humid

Design update: I did not have much hope for the moss because it was in the bag from well before Christmas. But I washed and groomed it and tied it to the tree fern. For the most part it still looks green and healthy. I am still rinsing away tree fern dust (you can see it draining out of the upright tree fern) but hopefully that will also clear up after a few washes. If all goes well I will place the moss in tiny mossarium designs by next weekend.

Exciting... right?

Every week I add a new design with related tutorials. Be sure to subscribe to receive an email notification with design inspiration.

Tutorials

13 April 2012 Drying Mushrooms for Floral Art

I use edible mushrooms in my designs. To preserve them I press a tiny stake into the base and let them air-dry.

4 January 2011 Drinking straw "test tubes"

When you need to keep a tiny stem hydrated this is just what you need.

8 July 2015 Using a pin to place tiny dew drop crystals

It's sometimes difficult to place a tiny crystal or bead exactly where you want it.

7 February 2012 Moss Heart

Biodegradable copper mesh makes the perfect shape to fill with moss to grow tiny stem plants

31 August 2016 Everlasting succulent and moss display

Glue snippets of moss and succulents to rocks as a long lasting table-scape display

20 November 2012 Green Trick Floral Wings

Glue gypsophila sticks, green trick carnations, Star of Bethlehem, passion fruit tendrils, jasmine foliage and string of pearls succulents to create floral wings

29 July 2020 Foxtail in a bud vase forest floor

Create a sturdy platform from bark to design an entire forest floor on a single foxtail fern frond

2 November 2016 Driftwood base for a floral foam pebble design

The flat surface of a piece of driftwood creates a base to design on

15 March 2017 Wedding welcome and direction sign

Hang a twig and wood mobile at your weeding as a direction board

19 August 2015 Bark pod for growing a Pearl Oyster mushroom mini farm

Glue bark to a Papier Maché and wire frame to create a pod shaped armature

6 January 2016 Moss Colombina inspired mask

Cover a mask shape with moss and succulents for a long wearing mask

Favourite Flowers

Lentinula edodes

Shiitake Mushrooms

Related Designs

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A glimmer is the opposite of a trigger... a little uplift. For this design I am lifting up my happiness by starting a tiny mossarium... but enjoying it as a design while it is in...

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11 May 2011 It's Tulip Time!

Tulips continue to grow once the stem is severed from the bulb. More often than not you can use this growth to create an ever changing design. But sometimes you want that tulip...

31 August 2016 Leftovers

Using bits and snippets to create an everlasting moss and succulent design

20 November 2012 there’s a feeling

Glue snippets of dried green stems and Green Trick Carnation to make tiny floral wings for Christmas

11 April 2011 Kitchen Garden

Kitchen Garden Design. South African Horticultural Society Show 2009

13 April 2012 Spring Has Sprung!

The sprouts are sprouting and the bees are being and the birds are birding. Tempting as it is new growth is hard to condition. Hard, but not impossible

29 July 2020 Tail end of the story

Craft a bark platform to design on in a foxtail fern frond.

2 November 2016 Pick your poison

A Fun Halloween design with "poisonous mushrooms" tucked between the moss and petals

22 January 2013 It's High Time for Tea: from craft to art, taking a delicious floral journey with veneer techniques

This was my second two designs for my It's High Time for Tea Floral Craft and Art Demonstration at The Capilano Flower Arranging Club meeting.

15 March 2017 Wedding Welcome

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19 August 2015 Growth Medium

Design a bark and moss pod for a mushroom mini farm

11 October 2023 Plenty Glow to Harvest

Glow and sparkle bark armature to celebrate the first signs of Autumn

1 January 2014 It's the moment you recognize the greatest source of strength in something... oh, so fragile

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6 January 2016 Hey there

Moss and succulents cover a mask shape to create a woodland inspired mask