Plot on a plate: Zen mountain monastery

Last month we made our first plot on a plate for the Chelsea Physics Garden competition. I’d said at the time that I wanted to try and make a mini moss garden. My tulip pots had gone over on the display table so I thought it was time to get this finished. I had started it a few weeks back but the seagulls have been causing too much trouble knocking things over and pulling things apart. They seem to have calmed down now. So hopefully this won’t just be a zen statement on the impermanence of things when the gulls pull it apart within an hour.

The little building is a tea light lantern.

Along the edges of the buildings, I’ve added lines of moss scraped from my fence. These have been carefully glued in place. I’ve read that so long as they are kept moist they can still grow onto things when applied in this way.

The same was applied for the ‘mountain’.

For the path, I tried to find several nice round pebbles so we could make a nice curved path up to the building. The moss is for hanging baskets. So long as I keep it moist it should green up a bit further.

The fern I’ve placed in using the methods I used for making the kokedama. The soil was washed off the roots. They were then re-incased in a mixture of clay and bonsai soil that could be moulded down on the plate. The moss around it should help keep the moisture in so it can still grow.

Today is Gardens Day here in the UK. A variety of online events are happening and people are being encouraged to share their gardens across social media for the event. There are several live feeds on over the day with a mixture of talks, things to make crafts, and quizzes. It’s a perfect day to have a go at making a plot on a plate. It is blowing a gale out in my garden but I’m going to have to risk getting blown to Oz as I need to prevent wind damage for a few plants. Not idea weather for a garden party but hopefully it will cheer up. If not I’ll be looking at tending the houseplants. I’d like to take cuttings of a few. Enjoy your days!

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Plot on a plate

With the lack of show gardens as the garden shows are cancelled Chelsea Physic Gardens have set a challenge to create a plot on a plate. The general gist is to make a garden or a landscape on a plate. You can use any plate up to 35cm and 6cm depth. People can enter as many times as they like, so you can carry on making as many gardens as you’d like. These can become a bit addictive making. We may end up a whole load sat around a bit like my kokedama craze.

The categories are as follows:

  • General
  • The Professionals
  • Children aged 5-9
  • Children aged 10-15
  • Peoples vote (all entries)

Now, Alice is only 3 so she missed out on the children’s category so she may have to go in the pros instead. Alice had a plate left from a fairy garden she’d previously made that was in need of a freshen up. I scraped a section of mind-your-own-business up to use as the grass base for both plates. While some people see it as an annoying weed it’s quite nice for these projects. Alternatively, moss works well or you can sow grass seed into compost but this means you have to keep cutting it. It’s enough of a hassle mowing the lawn without having to take scissors to the fairy lawn as well.

The fairy house came with the set. We collected up a few glass beads for a path. Glass beads form a large part of Alice’s gardens. They are used much like fake grass but a lot prettier.

Our florist bits box was raided for some trees.

And a few Muscari were snipped for “trees”.

I drilled a drainage hole in a dish that’s been sat outside the back door for a good while as a plant saucer. I’d get in trouble if I claim a plate from the kitchen cupboard. I’m going for a basic landscape

A few slate chippings have been employed for a path.

I’ve snipped a few Ilex crenata branches to give me some trees. I put a bit of rooting hormone on. If I keep it moist I might get lucky and end up with some extra plants or some I can use for bonsai.

Gemstones have been employed for water.

I’ve tried to do it as a living landscape so it will need to be kept moist and shaded for the mind-your-own-business and to see if the cuttings can root. It was a nice little craft project. I may try another, maybe a little moss garden to place amongst the already mentioned kokedama. For those parents looking at something to fill the time during lockdown, it makes for a fun activity to do with the kids. Alice says hers isn’t finished so she’ll keep going back and adding to it and moving bits round for further entertainment.

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