Kokedama - a Japanese word that translates out to - Moss ball. The first time I had seen these was back in January this year. I was given the gift of a ticket for the Snowdrop walk at Chelsea Physic Garden. What an ingenious idea to fill a moss ball with bulbs. I found them quite intriguing suspended there at eye level rather than peering down at them in the ground. On my way out of the garden I picked up the programme highlighting this years workshops - as an educational garden they run a variety of different workshops and events. There was a Bonsai and miniature garden workshop coming up in July, needless to say I swiftly booked myself on to it.
Time: 3 hours
Location: Chelsea Physic Garden
Teacher: Tom Wells
- Bonsai literally means - plant on a tray, it's not a variety of tree.
- It takes 8 years in Japan to train as a bonsai master
- Bonsai is partly about manipulation of scale, balance and artistic arrangement of objects -usually just a plant, moss and a rock.
- Using prime numbers particular 3,5 and 7 is a good guide when considering composition of your bonsai.
- When creating bonsai consider a variety of landscapes not just mountains.
- The best time to start making a bonsai is in the spring
- When pruning leaves remove the dead, damaged or diseased first
Forest moss sheets
John Innes number 3 compost
Cotton or nylon string
Tray of water
1. Choose a sheet of moss, remove dead moss being careful not to make a hole
2. Mix a couple of handfuls of compost with grit at a ratio of 3:1
3. Heap you compost and grit mix onto the moss with your plant on top
4. Bring up the sides of the moss around the mound of compost and plant and start forming it into a ball
5. Using a long length of cotton (still attached to the reel), keeping a length free to tie off at the end and start winding your thread around the ball.
6. Vary your angles to help pull the contents into a ball shape and hold it securely
7. When finished cut the string and tie it off with the length you left at the start
8. Place your moss ball into a tray of water to soak up the moisture
9. Either display your moss ball in a dish/tray - like a bonsai or you can hang it just make sure it's still easy enough to take down to water it.
I will definitely be trying this again . Inspired, I came home and started to create a Pinterest board of inspiration for future bonsai and moss balls. The course was enjoyable and easy to recreate at home. Everyone finished and took home their moss ball or bonsai. The class size was about 8 people leaving plenty of room to receive all the help and assistance I needed. I would definitely try a CPG workshop again in the future.
Here's my first attempt at a moss ball, I must admit carrying it home from the workshop wasn't so easy.