By Brookelynn Morris
The first time I saw a kokedama string garden was right here, on Craftzine. Being a bonsai and ikebana enthusiast, I was captivated by yet another amazingly beautiful Japanese gardening method. I’ve hung my kokedama outdoors, where it sways a bit in the breeze, and I couldn’t love it more.
The steps are simple, with the most important aspect being the mixture of clay and soil. Try to achieve a blend of mud that clings together well. When encasing the plant, you will feel a bit like a sculptor, and in essence, you are sculpting the earth into something fairly impossible — a perfectly round hanging garden.
Heavy clay mud, or bonsai soil
Step 1: Mix a few generous handfuls of clay with an equal amount of potting soil.
Step 2: Pull your plant from it’s container. To trim the roots, tug at them gently, breaking them apart, without breaking them off. Rinse as much of the growing media from the roots as you can.
Step 3: Hold the plant with one hand, and with the other, pat the clay mixture all around the roots. I started at the sides, worked to the top, then pressed the clay into the bottom of the plant last. Mold the clay into a round ball, making sure that the mud is against the base of the leaves.
Step 4: Firmly press moss all over the clay ball. The soft moss should stick right to the mud.
Step 5: Cut at least 3 yards of twine. Lay the moss-covered plant onto the center of the twine, then wrap and twist, wrap and twist, wrap and twist until the entire garden is bound.
Step 6: To finish the wrapping, draw one of the ends of twine up the side of the ball. Weave it over and under the wrapped twine, knotting as you go. Then repeat with the other end of string, on the opposite side of the ball. Getting a nice balance is crucial, especially with an upright growing flower.
Step 7: Hang the kokedama where the conditions are suited to the plant’s needs. To water it, hold a container of water up to the wrapped ball to submerge the roots. Because the plant is not in a solid vessel, it will require waterings that are a bit more frequent than other plants in your garden.