How to encourage moss + what under maple darkness?
- i'm developing three "and a half" contiguous microclimes of shade garden and could use some suggestions.
- The "half" area is not a bed but a moderate to high traffic area between the north verandah and my shade propogation bed, under an ancient dogwood. Currently, this area is mostly a lovely soft carpet of moss but is spotted with unsightly tufts of grass. Is there any way to discourage the grass? Hand weeding it takes a lot of time, as the moss gets dislodged and has to be re-set each time. Are there other plants which would take traffic better than the moss?
- The first main area is under a 20' dogwood. i'm currently using this as a shade plant propogation bed, as it's the classic "slightly damp but well-drained rich soil" with a range from medium shade to dappled evening sun, good for pampering shade plants. Thanks to GardenWeb trades, i now have shade plants and seeds to propogate!
- The second main area is a 100 x 50 area under massive maples. Their canopies form a dark green-lit "cavern" in the summer, although it is bright in winter. The soil here is sucked dry by the maple roots. The soil also seems compacted, and i'm afraid to loosen it up or aerate as i wouldn't want to injure the maples' roots. The narsissus here grow, but are not multiplying, so i think they're not very happy. The ground is mostly barren with just tufts fo grass. Can i loosen the soil at all without hurting the maples? Can i add new soil on top without smothering the maples' roots? Is there anything that would actually LIKE being planted here in dark, dry, compacted soil?
- The third area is a 100' x 5' strip between the north edge of the maples' canopy and the front pasture fence. This slope down to the north a bit, and is mostly shaded but does get winter sun and summer late evening sun. Right along the fence it is within reach of the horses, so i can't use anything toxic here (such as helleborus.) The soil here is moderately rich, well-drained, and not too dry. Tasty treats such as hosta will only work away from the fence. i'd like some 3'-8' plants here, as well as smaller ones, so as to screen out the road beyond the front pasture. Colour (other than yellow or orange)would be nice.
- Thanks in advance for your suggestions!
- Happy gardening,