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Fresh flowers are beautiful, but after a few days the bloom is literally off the rose. So we're swapping our vases of perishable lovelies for the entrancing and everlasting Mossaquarium centerpiece we recently discovered at Atwater Village's Potted gardening shop.

Mossaquariums are the brainchild of Potted co-owner and former set decorator Mary Gray. The water-filled cylinders hold marimo ("ball seaweed" in Japanese), natural free-floating algae spheres that live on other algae and sunshine. They're even entertaining: Photosynthesized air bubbles occasionally accumulate and lift the ball.

Mossquariums ($55 to $79) are shippable and arrive separated into the algae, component sand, glass mulch, decorative slag glass chunk, seashells and driftwood. (Gray suggests personalizing them with your own little figurines.) Marimo are easily cared for: Just change the water every week or so, and place in indirect light.

These little balls are found naturally in places like Iceland and Japan, where there's a romantic legend about how thwarted lovers ran away, jumped in a lake and turned into marimo so they'd always be together (the organisms can live up to 100 years or more).

No wonder marimo is the only algae we know that has its own Facebook page.

Potted, 3158 Los Feliz Blvd.; 323-665-3801 or

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