Mid-American Gardener

DIY: A simpler take on the Japanese moss ball, Kokedama


Jen joins us in the studio this week to share how she creates her own version of the traditional Japanese ornamental moss ball, Kokedama. We also visit with Professor Emeritus Kimiko Gunji to learn about the history behind the cherry blossom trees at Japan House on the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign’s campus. 


While Jen’s version of Kokedama is not directly true to the tradition, she finds that this technique is very easy to adapt, no matter your crafting skills. Plus, Jen suggests using low-maintenance plants for easy care. She also adds a handle to these moss balls, so they can be hung inside or outside!



All you need is sheet moss, some packing paper, string, aluminum wire, and a little creative spirit! It never comes out the same way twice, but that’s the beauty of it! Follow along with Jen’s tutorial, and make sure to send us a picture if you give it a try!



This year we also spent some time at UIUC’s Japan House, patiently waiting for the cherry blossom trees to bloom. Cherry blossoms hit their peak anywhere from late March to early May, depending on weather conditions. Once the flowers hit peak bloom, they typically last anywhere from three to eight days before shedding their petals. Typically, sakura happens in Urbana sometime during the first half of April, a couple of weeks later than peak bloom in Washington, D.C. Although the trees didn’t bloom this year due to adverse weather, Professor Emeritus Kimiko Gunji teaches us about the history of the trees and the Japanese worldview known as “wabi-sabi,” or the acceptance and appreciation of transience and imperfection. 




If you’ve got any questions for our panelists or suggestions for gardens or greenhouses that we should visit, please send us an email at yourgarden@gmail.com com, or you can find us on Facebook and Instagram.


Episode 1301 - July 13, 2023

Air Dates and Times

Channel Day Time
WILL-TV, Urbana Thursday 7 pm (live)
  Saturday 11 am (repeat)
WTVP-TV, Peoria Saturday 11:30 am
WEIU-TV, Charleston Sunday 1:30 pm
WSEC-TV, Springfield Saturday 11 am
WQEC-TV, Quincy Saturday 11 am
WMEC-TV, Macomb Saturday 11 am
Lakeshore PBS, Chicago/Northwest Indiana Friday 1 pm

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