Last weekend I hopped on the train and headed over to Bath for a kokedama-making workshop at Anthropologie, led by talented floral designer and gardener Jessica Smith. It was a wonderful morning, full of relaxed chatter and therapeutic mess-making with plenty of soil and moss.
You might have seen kodedama plant sculptures popping up all over Pinterest in recent months. A variant of bonsai, they consist of spheres of moss with ferns sprouting from within – in fact, the word ‘kokedama’ comes from the Japanese koke, meaning moss, and dama, meaning ball. They look beautiful dangling from hooks or dotted around surfaces, and can be clustered together to create a striking indoor garden. And, as I learnt from Jessica, they’re incredibly easy to make…
- Bonsai compost (available at most garden centres)
- Peat moss
- Dry sphagnum moss
- A small fern (there are hundreds of varieties to choose from)
- Floristry wire
- Gently remove the fern from its pot and tease as much soil as you can from the roots without damaging them.
- Mix a large handful of the compost with a large handful of the peat moss, and add water until the consistency is mouldable and almost dough-like.
- Start shaping the mixture into a ball large enough to hold the roots of your fern. Add a little more water as you go if needed.
- Part the ball in two and reform it around the roots of the fern.
- Cover the ball in the dry sphagnum moss, wrapping the wire around it as you go to secure it in place. When you’ve finished, snip the wire and poke the end into the moss to conceal it.
- Knot the string around the ball to secure it, then wrap it around however you want – you could completely cover the moss or leave some showing. You could even experiment with coloured string or macrame.
- Tie the string again to secure it in place, and poke the ends underneath to hide them. If you’re planning to hang up your kokedama, make sure you leave enough length to form a hanging loop.
Finished kokedama are fairly easy to look after. They tend to be happiest in bright-ish spots away from direct sunlight, and don’t require much watering. Just mist them with a spray bottle every couple of days, and once a fortnight or so place them in a shallow bowl of water for a few minutes to allow the moss to soak up moisture (let them drip for a while before hanging them back up over furniture or carpets!). You’ll generally have to re-pot them every year or two as the plant grows.
If you’re keen to learn more, keep an eye on Anthropologie’s events listings for details of future workshops run by Jessica.
All photography by Abi Dare