Westerlay Orchids to offer kokedama plant workshop
The art of kokedama literally translates from “koke,” meaning moss, and “dama,” meaning ball.
This moss ball is experiencing a resurgence as a modern art form useful for uniquely presented plants and flowers. Instructions and classes on the how-to for this skill abound on the internet and in plant forums.
And in the Santa Barbara area, according to Paige Harman, who will be leading a “Hanging Kokedama Workshop” from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Aug.19 at the Topa Topa Brewing Co., 4880 Colt St., Ventura. She is the retail show manager for Westerlay Orchids on Via Real in Carpinteria, co-sponsor of the event.
Festivities begin with a social hour from 5 to 6 p.m.
“We did a similar workshop in July at the Carpinteria Arts Center, and it sold out. We donated the proceeds to the Arts Center,” said Ms. Harman. “Moss balls are a beautiful way to display orchids, and the workshop is an easy way to bring orchids out into the community.”
Assisting her is Mayra Romero, who provides the Spanish translation for the bilingual session.
Ms. Harman explained that “Kokedama is a form of Japanese garden art that is centuries old and tied into the practice of bonsai. It is an accent to that mode of plant display where a moss ball is the focal and supporting point for a sculpted tree or plant. The moss ball is fixed to a platform or suspended from string with the plant growing out from the sphere.
“Kokedama is the practice of taking the root ball of a plant and suspending it in a mud ball, which is then coated with soft green moss. It is a living planter as well as a distinctive display piece. It can be fixed to a piece of driftwood or bark, suspended from a string or nestled in a clear, attractive container. Hanging many of these as a kokedama moss garden is called a string garden.”
Although orchids will be used at the workshop, other plants can also be made into moss balls, according to Ms. Harman.
“Many tropical jungle plants are suitable as well as ferns, lucky bamboo or even ivy. Avoid any succulents and cacti, as the soil ball will remain too moist for these types of plants.”
The avid gardener said she has three of the plants hanging in her home in Ventura along with a backyard full of tropical plants.
Ms. Harman said all of the workshop’s materials will be provided for the maximum of 25 participants in the program, which costs $65.
Equipment includes scissors, string, water, a spray bottle, a bucket and newspaper or a tarp to protect the work surface.
“This makes it easy to do these workshops off site. The more complicated ones we do in the showroom at Westerlay, like the one we did on terrariums in June,” said Ms. Harman.
“We’re hoping to do more off-site workshops, possibly one a month. In October, we’ll be doing another one at the Carpinteria Arts Center, and we’re hoping to do another one with Topa Topa Brewery in Santa Barbara.”