Bowood Farms in St. Louis has built a reputation of knowing every arcane thing there is to know about gardening and sharing those secrets with its customers. A good example are two recently held classes on a Japanese gardening technique called Kokedama.
“Reservations pre-paid — an $18 fee,” says general manager Ellen Barredo. Each hour-and-20-minute session was limited to 10 people. “The classes were sold out in just a few days upon an eMail announcement. This could be alot of fun for other garden centers for a fall/winter activity,” Barredo says.
Barredo also writes for a local gardening magazine, The Gateway Gardener Magazine. She wrote an article about the gardening technique for the magazine’s October issue, which will help build Bowood’s reputation as the garden center with the latest trends.
What Is Kokedama?
“Kokedama is the Japanese art form of enclosing a plant’s root mass in moss. Kokedama means ‘moss ball,’” Barredo wrote for the magazine. “A current spin off of the Kokedama trend is String Gardening. The moss balls are suspended with string.”
In the article, Barredo explains that Kokedama originated through a combination of both Nearai and Kusamono bonsai styles. In the Nearai style, plants grow tightly root bound in the pot, and then are taken out of the pot to stand and enjoy. The root and soil maintain its shape when taken out of the pot.
The Kusamono-style bonsai features potted arrangements of wild grasses and flowers in unique pots or trays, Barredo says. Kusamono was originally used to show the seasons and were often presented with a moss gathering at the top of the soil.
Materials You Will Need
In her article, Barredo tells consumers which items will be needed, including structural and practical itmes like fishing line and scissors. She says the most difficult item to find is the right bagged soil.
“We used Perfect Play, which is a heavier soil,” she says. “Many bagged soils may work for Kokedama. The soil must be a heavier soil which may contain peat moss, peat, clay, a small amount of sand or perlite. Bagged Garden Soil comes to mind … perhaps mixed with an Indoor Potting Soil. A ratio we have seen is online is peat soil 70 percent and clay/garden soil 30 percent. Play around with different mixtures to come up with the best recipe that won’t fall apart.”
For a detailed description of how to lead a Kokedama class, you can contact Barredo at Bowood Farms.