My friends call me a recessionista....and my property has become my shopping mall. If you enjoy creating garden art and would like to add a little spice to that shady space in your yard where nothing grows then this instructable is for you.
Thank you for viewing.
Step 1: Step 1: Supplies
You will need:
• Sense of Humor
• Box O' Moss
• Wire cutters
• Needle nose pliers
• Zip Ties
• Chicken or poultry wire
• Burlap (nice to have but not necessary)
• Cedar log for base of mushroom
Optional: Moss Milkshake Ingredients
• 1 can beer
• 1 tsp sugar
• Additional Moss clumps
Step 2: Step 2: Turn Umbrella Inside-Out
Think windy day. I’ve found, through much trial and error, that the umbrella will hold the weight of the moss & chicken wire when you open the umbrella and turn it inside-out.
So FLIP your umbrella inside out and move on to step 3.
Step 3: Step 3: Cover Umbrella with Burlap & Beer (optional)
This is an optional step: Covering your inside-out umbrella with burlap will help keep the moss in place and reduce the likelihood of the chicken wire shredding the umbrella fabric before you finish. Also, to encourage additional moss growth I like to make a moss milkshake and pour it over the burlap.
Moss Milkshake Recipe:
• 1 can beer (cheapest, nastiest beer seems to work better than $$ brands….)
• 1 tsp sugar
• Moss clumps
Clean dirt, bark, bugs off moss with water. Crumble moss into blender. Add beer and sugar. When it looks like a thick smoothie or milkshake you’re done. Simply take mixture and pour over burlap.
Step 4: Step 4: Cut Chicken Wire & Cover Umbrella
I highly recommend wearing gloves for this step. If you have a small umbrella or a wide piece of chicken wire, cut wire to cover entire umbrella and allow for 3 – 5 inches of overhang.
For larger umbrellas it’s much easier to cut two pieces of chicken wire. Start on one side of the umbrella and simply drape the chicken wire over the umbrella. Roll the overhang wire under the edges of the umbrella as this will prevent the moss from sliding off. Repeat the process with your second piece of wire.
Important: Do not secure the two pieces together at this point. You want a large opening to easily stuff moss between the umbrella and chicken wire.
TIP: As you begin to unroll the chicken/poultry wire it’s helpful to place a heavy object on the edge of the wire as this will prevent the wire rolling back up when you cut the other end.
Step 5: Step 5: Place Moss under Chicken Wire
Use the moss you’ve collected and begin placing under the chicken wire, working your way around the perimeter of the umbrella. Continue adding moss until entire surface is covered. Use zip ties to secure the two pieces of chicken wire together.
Use your fingers or needle nose pliers to pull moss through the chicken wire. Add additional moss as needed to cover the wire. You can use different types of moss (ex: long stringy moss will sway in the wind when hung around outer edge).
TIP: Hang the inside-out umbrella handle (it will be sticking up) on a sturdy hook while stuffing the moss. You’ll be able to better shape and secure any loose chicken wire while ensuring even coverage of the moss.
Step 6: Step 6: Mushroom Base
The sturdiest, rot resistant base I’ve found, besides concrete, is cedar. In this example I used part of a large cedar branch that fell down during a recent storm. The size of your umbrella (aka moss mushroom) will dictate the height and girth of your base.
If you have used a large umbrella to make a massive mushroom, it will need support. Locate four metal rods (rebar, bars from old shoe rack, etc) and drilled four holes, approximately 6” from the top of your base. Be sure to check the perimeter of your umbrella. Your metal rods need to support the outer edges of your mushroom without impaling curious garden guests.
TIP: Leave the umbrella handle sticking out of the moss, ask a friend or significant other, with strong biceps to help lift your work of art while deciding if it should be higher, lower, no there, wait - over there, how about here?
Step 7: Step 7: Place Moss Mushroom on Base
Drumroll please……place magnificent moss mushroom on your sturdy base. If you fear the wind, squirrels or juvenile delinquents may run off with your crown jewel, you can use tie wire to secure the metal rods to the chicken wire.
Step 8: Step 8: Relax
Well done! You can now host an impromptu “Alice in Wonderland” party, have bragging rights at the next homeowner association death-by-committee meeting or simply sit back with the smug satisfaction that you can create a work of art with materials found in your back yard.