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Moss Garden in a kitchen sink !

Notes on setting up a moss garden for the Australian National Herbarium Open Days in August 2006

Photos can be enlarged by clicking

moss garden

Start with a kitchen sink purchased from a recycle depot for about Aust$20.

Paint it with bituminous paint.

Here half the sink has been painted.


Paint the whole top surface with bituminous paint.

Bituminous paint is sold for waterproofing tanks etc. A tin like this costs about A$15.

It takes about 10 days to dry.


Here the whole top surface of the sink has been painted with bituminous paint.

Masking tape was put on the sides to keep them free of paint.


River sand was poured onto the wet surface of the thick bituminous paint.

The sand was about 5 mm deep and pressed into the paint.


Here the whole surface of the sink is covered in sand.

Leave this for about 10 days for the bituminous paint to dry before brushing the loose sand off.


Trickle irrigation tubing was clipped in place along the back edge of the sink over the sand-bonded surface.

A small fountain pump (about A$10) was connected to this tubing.

sink pump

A series of equal-length smaller trickle irrigation tubes were connected to the main pipe at each end of the sink.

The pump pressure was found to be able to deliver water to about 5 of these small tubes at each end of the sink, ie about 10 trickle outlets.

The tube ends were just cut, no trickle irrigation heads were used.


Coarse river gravel was placed over the flat surface of each end of the sink to plant the mosses into.

A length of mossy rotting log was placed along the back length of the sink.

The small tubing was placed to deliver a constant trickle of water to various mosses. It was later buried in the gravel.


The final display moss garden was set up for two months prior to the Herbarium Open Days. It was put on a frame stand with castors for easy mobility.

It subsequently went on display in the foyer of the Australian National Botanic Gardens Visitor Centre for three months.




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