I have been looking for a thistle type plant to add to my garden, in memory of my cousin, Mindy, who passed in January. We shared Scottish blood and family roots and a wonderful trip to Scotland with her son William last August. It seemed very fitting to grow thistle in the garden for her. However, I’ve looked everywhere for this elusive plant and have not found it in the Joplin area.
This afternoon I seized the opportunity, during a trip to Arkansas to visit Greg’s dad, to enlarge my search parameters. I asked Greg if we could return to Joplin via Bentonville, AR, so I could stop by a large garden center there, Garden City Nursery. With high hopes, I asked the first sales person who approached if he had any thistle or thistle type plants available. I was disappointed when the answer was no. I decided to look around anyway before we left, hoping I would spy something else that I could use.
As I was wandering about, I saw a display of beautiful, mossy plants. These typically wouldn’t have caught my eye, but I have been reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s book, “The Signature of All Things”, and the main character, Alma, is a bryologist, meaning she engages in the scientific study of mosses. As I admired the velvety plants, I thought Alma would love these. I noticed suddenly that the emerald green plant was called Irish Moss. Oh my! My heart beat a little faster. If only there was a Scottish Moss as well. There was a golden green plant next to the Irish Moss. I turned the container so I could see the name of the plant. Scotch Moss, which is also called Scottish Moss.
I was so excited! I bought one of each. If I ever find a thistle plant, I’ll purchase it too. However, I was quite pleased with my discovery, thanks to Alma! On the drive to Joplin I mulled over where I would plant the mosses when I got home and had a plan when I arrived. I have two fountains that I purchased the year before I started my backyard garden….great bargains at the end of the season. Greg is preparing to run electricity for me along the edge of the Japanese Garden so I can install one or both of the fountains.
Tonight, I carefully set up the larger fountain, between a Japanese fern and burgundy Calla Lilies that are just pushing up through the mulch. It was a perfect fit. The new plants, which aren’t true mosses but behave and spread like mosses do, earning them the name, hug the ground and put out tiny star shaped white blooms briefly in the summer. They can bear foot traffic without being crushed or destroyed. I planted the mosses in front of and on either side of the fountain. I even poured a bucket full of water into the fountain, watching as the water cascaded from pool to pool, collecting at last in the reservoir at the bottom. I love it. I can’t wait until I can sit in the meditation area and listen to the sound of trickling water nearby. How soothing and uplifting that will be.
As I stood looking at my work, I laughed and thought, Well, I’ve muddled up my Japanese Garden by adding Irish and Scottish Moss. I decided to be okay with that. This was in honor of Mindy. I thought she would approve of my eclectic gardening. As I was preparing to write my blog, I looked up the plants. Scrolling down through the articles Google brought up, I noticed several that stated that Irish and Scotch Mosses are perfect around pools and fountains, tucked between stepping stones and rocks, and for JAPANESE GARDENS.
I love these reminders of how life flows and everything is connected. I had come full circle in my thoughts because I was back to Liz Gilbert’s book, The Signature of All Things. The central theme of the story is the connectedness of all things and how nature has the signature of the Divine coded within it, offering proof of our Creator’s love. I believe it. I can’t believe otherwise when events happen as they did today, leading me ever onward if I am willing to follow. When I am aware, when I am paying attention, I am rewarded with glimpses of the Divine everywhere…even in my search for a plant to honor my cousin. There isn’t anything in my life, in all of our lives, that is too insignificant, or that does not matter. I will remember that, and dear Mindy, every time I look at my Irish and Scottish Mosses.