The Transylvania Times -

By Park Baker
Staff Writer 

Martin Loves The 'Magical' World Of Moss – Brevard NC


Mossin' Annie Martin has released about her favorite subject - moss. The book, "The Magical World of Moss Gardening," has just been released by Timber Press Books. (Times photo by Park Baker)

Everyone's favorite local moss expert, Mossin' Annie Martin, has just released a new book, "The Magical World of Moss Gardening." The book has been highly praised, so much so that the Library Journal Review has given the book a gold star.

Martin said that gold stars don't come easily, but that she had put everything she had into this book and is proud of the accomplishment.

Published by Timber Press Books, the largest publisher of books in the country from experts in the fields of gardening, horticulture and natural history, the book has been described as a "go to" for moss gardening.

The 238-page book identifies nearly 100 different kinds of byrophytes, the scientific name for moss, informs those interested in becoming "mossers" and what best kinds of mosses would work best in any given situation. There are mosses that work best on rooftops, mosses for boggy areas, mosses for walking on and mosses for attaching to garden sculptures.

Martin claims that mosses are great solutions for steep areas with erosion issues.

She said that there is moss for nearly any given situation.

"Some mosses require lots of shade and extreme moisture, and some don't care," she said. "You can find the same species in the shade that tolerate sun, and you can find different ones high on rocks in the woods. They're a hardy bunch."

In her book, Martin tells readers that in the South the act of participating in cultivating or having anything to do with moss is called "mossin'."

"Since we don't pronounce our 'g's in the South," she said. "I spell it with an apostrophe and omit the 'g.' The person who practices any moss activities is a mosser.

"The nursery where I cultivate mosses is a mossery. You are on your way to becoming a mosser if you are reading this book."

For Martin, the appeal of moss is that it provides year-round green cover, and you don't have to mow it.

"I can't stand the sound of lawn mower or a leaf blower, or any of that," she said.

Martin claims that emissions from small engines are actually far worse for the environment than automobiles because they are not regulated in the same fashion. Moss, she said, can even be planted or transferred in the dead of winter.

Her book describes her favorite way of tending to moss: "Walk and Water, Walk and Water."

"There's nothing that feels better than moss between my toes," she said. "What could be simpler? The plant structures are bendable. Walking helps rhizoids of colonies and plant fragments to establish a connection with the soil."

Martin said that moss will grow on nearly anything, but that sometimes you have to get it "to stick" by pressing down on the moss every now and then, which is essentially the same as walking on it.

Martin will host a "Mossapalooza" on Sept. 5 at her garden at 100 Elks Club Road in Brevard.

Martin has been invited by many different neighborhood associations, friends, and businesses to remove moss in a given area, and she just finished a moss garden installation at Ira B. Jones elementary school in Asheville.

"I'll come to your house and take moss off your roof if you'll let me," she said. "People ask me why I ride around with a ladder in my truck. S ometimes, I'm driving around, and I see some moss on a roof and I may be able to get to it.

"I do rescues from roofs all the time. Lots of people want it off their house."

Martin is planning a "Mossapalooza" at her garden at 100 Elks Club Road on Sept. 5, where she will be giving tours and signing copies of her book.

For more information and to purchase a copy of the book visit:


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