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Moss Lady – Guest Blogger Answers Mossy Questions

January 06, 2009

In February of 2008 I enjoyed a tour of Norie Burnet’s beautiful mossy garden in Virginia. Recently, an anonymous reader found my post about my time in Norie’s garden and wrote in with questions for Norie. Generously, Norie agreed to answer them as a Garden Help Guest Blogger so that all readers will have the chance to learn from her. Enjoy everyone & thanks Norie!

Question: (I) toured the lovely garden of Nori Burnett…(and) want to create somethiing similar. ..Is winter the time to blow the leaves from under my trees so moss can grow better or should I wait for spring? I bought the electric leaf blower as she suggested and it is great but want to expand the moss area-so when do I remove the leaves??

Moss & Lichen on a Seattle Tree

Moss & Lichen on a Seattle Tree

Norie’s Answer: First of all, let me say how delighted I am that you continue your interest in these little bryophytes. I’m glad you purchased that electric leaf blower, which is the best way to remove leaves and woodland debris from the moss. Yes, winter is a fine time to do this because moss needs light and air circulation in order to flourish. It languishes when covered too long by leaves or debris. Also, the exposed ground will encourage the tiny spores and bits and pieces of moss to grow as well. Raking is not a good idea, because it disrupts the tender growth. Mosses, as you know, are non systemic and have no roots, just little rhizoids that help it cling to the soil and often rocks or logs too. Any time of the year is good for blowing off the moss, because trees and winds constantly tend to deposit al sorts of offerings. Caring for moss can be as labor intensive as grass,but the results are so much lovelier and also in sync with Mother Nature. Hope this answers your question. Norie Burnet “Moss Lady”

If you’d like to take a tour through Norie’s Garden, I suggest checking out HGTV’s Gardener’s Diary, which featured Norie’s garden and will “Mad About Moss” occassionally. Looks like January 22, 2009 at 7am is the next scheduled airing, so set your DVR now!

If you have a moss-related question, please feel free to submit it here, and we’ll do our best to provide useful answers.


  1. sydna julian says:

    Nori and Robin-Thank you so much-great info-will pass it on and look forward to trying to find HGTV Gardener’s Diary-also any future tours she offers. Thank you-soon as the wet clears from this great rain will be out and about with my best tool-leaf blower. Sydna Julian

  2. Joe Lunchbox says:

    Hi Norie,

    Your tour on HGTV was really enjoyable, wish I would have known it was coming on I would have recorded it.

    I’ve always had an interest in moss but have never seen a program as informative as yours. You sure have become an expert and do so nicely at sharing your enthusiasm and know how. I had no idea you could make usable walkways and paths of such beauty.

    But mostly, I had a wonfderful time taking a stroll with you through your garden. You are so easy to listen to and so pleasant to hear talk.I could almost smell the earthy fragrance and freshness as we meandored through your garden, you pointing out many of the highlights. Your sons must love their mom, such a nice lady you are.

    Thank you for a pleaant memory to reflect back on, a half hour vacation.

    Best Regards,
    Joe Lunchbox
    In Colorado

  3. Paulette Ansello says:

    Thank you for all of your valuable information, Nori. I would like to schedule a visit to your garden with a small group (about 10) of Chesterfield Master Gardeners. How do I get in touch with you to do that?

  4. rhaglund says:

    Paulette, to get in touch with Norie, please fill out the Gardenhelp form here: http://www.gardenhelp.org/contact-the-garden-mentor/ and she’ll get in touch to discuss options. Thanks for reading and for writing in!

  5. Norie Burnet says:

    A tour for the Chesterfield Master Gardeners has been scheduled through Lisa Koger on Friday, October 2, 2009 at 1 pm. Hope to see you. Norie Burnet

  6. […] Moss Garden: Today I am looking forward to a spring tour of Nori’s Moss garden. It was fantastic when I saw it a couple of years ago in winter; I can’t wait to see it in full mid-spring glory! […]

  7. Danielle says:

    Please do share what you see when you return to Nori’s Moss Garden! Take plenty of pictures!

  8. […] Moss Garden: Today I am looking forward to a spring tour of Nori’s Moss garden. It was fantastic when I saw it a couple of years ago in winter; I can’t wait to see it in full mid-spring glory! […]

  9. John Livanos says:

    Hi, I have lichen growing in my moss garden. Everything I’ve seen on google that will rid my moss lawn of lichen will also be harmful to the moss. Any suggestions on how i can treat for and remove the lichen without harming my moss lawn?

  10. John, Lichen is awesome. It is partially made up of moss & partially algae (or a bacteria). If you have a moss garden, it’s probably something that’s evolved from what the space needs to be. So why remove it?

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