Moss in the Japanese Garden(苔)

Moss is one of the signature plants of Japanese gardens. Given the right conditions, it can cover large areas in a garden, it grows on stone lanterns, trees, garden stones. The Japanese climate fits perfectly to the plant’s needs: Japan is surrounded by the sea, which provides a general humid climate in spring, summer, and autumn. Between mid-June and early July, the rainy season drenches the naturally acidic soil.

The reason moss grows on nearly every available surface is in its biological structure. If the air humidity is 80% or higher, the leaves are able to absorb humidity and nutrients directly from the air. So what looks like roots are actually the plant’s holdfast. Moss prefers a nutrient-poor soil, too many nutrients can damage the plant. That is why it thrives in places where flowering plants have a hard time to survive. Moss is also an air cleaner. It absorbs pollutants like nitrates and ammonia.

Although Japan has a long rain season, rain isn’t actually necessary for moss to thrive. More important than the average annual rainfall is the air humidity. And even without rain, moss can also survive periods of drought. Although the leaves may seem dead, the plant is still alive and the leaves will return to their green color after watering.

Contents of the eBook
    • Moss in Japanese gardens
    • Introduction
    • Koke – Mosses and liverworts
    • Moss
    • Sugi-goke
    • Ōsugi-goke
    • Haihiba-goke
    • Kotsubo-goke
    • Hai-goke
    • Mizu-goke
    • Suna-goke
    • Zeni-goke
    • Ja-goke
    • Famous moss gardens
    • Saihō-ji aka Koke-dera, the moss temple in Kyoto (西芳寺、苔寺)
    • Gyokudo Art Museum, Mitake, Tokyo (玉堂美術館)
    • Nezu Art Museum, Tokyo (根津美術館)
    • Hakone Museum of Art, Hakone (箱根美術館)
  • Establishing moss in your garden
  • Moss Maintenance
18 pages
45 beautiful moss pictures

The eBook is delivered as PDF.

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Moss in the Japanese Garden Trailer
Watch the Moss trailer here

Customer’s Voice

This is a fascinating little book. I love visiting temples but my kids hate them so I don’t go very often. When I do go I just love the mossy sections so when I saw this book I decided to read it.

I had no idea there were so many varieties of moss and that it can grow in such varied conditions. To be honest I thought moss was some kind of naturally occurring thing but I’ve since learned it can be planted in the same manner as any other plant. I’m contemplating growing some moss in my own garden now!

The book is an easy but interesting read. Very detailed and clear photographs. Great explanations of the names in English and Japanese as well as the botanical names will make it easy to find these at my local garden centre.

I’m planning a trip to Kyoto later this month so will be looking to see which other books I can read. The gardens are most definitely my favourite part of a temple visit.