An Invitation to Create…

Our ‘Invitation to create’ today finds its source in the natural history section once more with ‘British Mosses, their homes, aspects, structure and uses’, by Frances Elizabeth Tripp, printed by Bell and Daldy, in 1868.

A field guide for the amateur for the correct identification and collection to British mosses.
A first edition, with intricate and microscopic illustrations of which the author drew herself. Working from live specimens she etched each one of the illustrations on copper plates. Later editions featured hand coloured plates that were completed by the printer.
The pages describe an apt situation with.

“The study is emphatically a winter pursuit. Winter days, without a doubt, often hang very heavily. All the neighbours are too far off to visit or be visited in short light and rough weather, new books do not come in as fast, and as dullness feeds upon itself, those we do get we do not wish to read. Stories about winter we have in abundance, but they mock us with descriptions of clear blue skies and frosty air ; and at this present time our sky is grey, our air damp, for it rained yesterday, and it will probably rain tomorrow.

And perhaps, kind reader, if you open this book on a winter day you may hail gladly some measure of relief; and find it you will in beginning the study of mosses. Something which can be carried on in winter, and, in fact, is best done at that time of year, which in the course of one fine day will bring occupation in the house for many wet ones, and has the excitement of a pursuit and the novelty of a fresh hunting ground, is not without its advantages, and all these conditions are fulfilled in the study of mosses; so you had better be a moss – trooper”.

This brings us to our invitation today to create your own miniature garden / fairy garden. Bring nature indoors and give your self a boost with an indoor garden.

Follow the instructions below to create your own miniature garden. Begin by collecting a small selection of moss, twigs etc but remember to take very small amounts, if all from the wild. It’s particularly easy to find at this time of year as it washes from the roof tops readily with the winter rains.

Most of the moss in the demonstration has been collected over a few days, so keep an eye out. I’ve also used some fern moss which is from the garden.

The materials you will need:


Twigs, bark, gravel, soil, a container to make your garden in, a glue gun or strong glue, scissors, tin foil is handy for building up structure. I also used some thin wire when making my ‘tree’ to help fix in place. I collected up a few possible containers from around the house and garden and settled on a broken plant tray.

Start by thinking about how you want the layout of your garden to be, you could sketch this out now or try out different options.

Glue any larger pieces down.

Add a little gravel for drainage and a some compost or garden soil, and start landscaping your garden with your materials. Think about what you want in the garden and what you could make.

Once you have you all the elements in place, complete your garden with the moss and any plants you have and any accessories…

Keep somewhere slightly cool, out of direct sunlight and with a good mist of water everyday or two and enjoy.

“Glasses he had, that little things display,
The beetle, panoplied in gems and gold,
A mailed angel on a battle – day;
The mysteries that cups of flowers enfold,
And all the gorgeous sights which Fairies do behold”



Stephanie Beddoes, Saturday Activities Coordinator