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A bog garden is one of two things;
Providing the area where you are going to plant bog plants isn't flooded, stagnant or smelly. It is really easy to select bog plants and create a bog garden. Most plants are the same marginals you see around the edges of garden ponds and I have listed a few lower down on this page.
Line the area with pond liner. Any old liner will do, as you are going to pierce it anyway.
Sandy soil lacks the nutrients for plants to thrive and will definitely need green matter mixed in.
Clay soil needs less organic matter added as it is already rich with the nutrients plants need too thrive.
If you are building your bog garden to add to an existing fish pond. Overflowing the pond when topping up will keep the area damp and wash nutrients from the pond into the bog garden.
When the bog plants start to grow in spring, feed them by adding more compost or other green matter to the surface, don't dig it in, the worms will take it down into the ground.
If the garden is part off or next to a pond with fish. Over flowing the water will take some of the waste from the fish into the bog garden soil, best of both world, filtering the pond and feeding the bog plants.
Sandy soil will need a lot more compost added than clay. Not sure what type of soil in your garden, visit my "what type of soil" page.
large area of boggy soil? It is a good idea to place stepping stones through the area. The steps will enable you to walk over the bog garden to plant and maintain your bog plants without getting covered in mud and compacting the boggy soil.
Planting bog plants in containers
A bog garden can also be created in a container, any type of planter that will hold water, plants, and soil will do.
Sleepers lined with old pond liner and filled with soil, look good and constructed to form a seat on top, have the added benefit of raised beds, if a bad back makes bending over difficult, constructing a raised bed is covered on this page of my website
Fill and water the raised bed or container and maintain the mini bog garden in just the same way as described above.
There is an important difference between bog plants and pond plants that grow in a pond.
Bog plants are; trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants that grow in damp, wet conditions beside water, not in water.
Bog plants are planted in permanently wet damp soil. "Reaching the parts of your garden, where less damp tolerant plants won't go" Adding interest and colour to an otherwise mossy, but bare waterlogged garden.
The flowering season for bog plants is short. However, a mix of early and late flowering plants will extend the season through from May until September. The range of foliage, shapes, colours and sizes, growing from just a few inches tall to over six feet, more than making up for the short season.
My favourite bog garden plants.
Hostas, Among my favourite moisture loving plants are Hostas. They come in a wide range of colours, blue, emerald green and yellow. Try to include some with variegated leaves.
Hostas grow to between 18 inches and three feet tall with flowering spikes of bell-shaped blooms in July and August. Slugs and snails love them though, which could be a problem in a wet garden.
Irises are another of my favourites in my bog garden, I have the native Yellow Flag planted beside my wildlife pond. Some of the cultivated versions such as the striking white and gold flowered Orchroleuca can add colour to a grey damp area. Another irises I like is Purple Glory.
Lobelias with showy flowering heads are popular too, because these tall plants with tpink or red flowers will stand out even in a busy planting plan. Most Lobelia, are not very hardy and may need protecting from frosts.
Primula. Candelabra Hybrids has stems with several whorls of flowers in many different colours from mid May into July.
Astilbe chinensis var. taquetii grows about 3½" high, with fluffy rich pink erect plumes of flowers in July & August.
Iris sibirica are popular irises for wet areas, available in a wide variety of colours with intricately marked flowers growing around 3-4ft High.
Ligularia dentata a large perennial with golden orange daisies in mid to late summer.
Persicaria bistorta is an easy plant for any soggy spot, produces several stiff spikes of clear pink flowers for most of the summer.
More unusual plants for a bog garden
I try to stick to traditional bog plants. However, if you want to try something different in your bog garden planting plan and have a lot of space, try these, Ostrich Feather Fern (Matteuccia), Giant Rhubarb (Gunnera) and Ornamental Rhubarb (Rheum)
The Ostrich-Feather Fern looks very delicate and adds a tropical look to the bog garden, with its tall feathery fronds growing up to 3ft, with a spread of less than half that, making for a very upright plant.
The Giant rhubarb plant, is one of those 'once seen, never forgotten' plants, with its massive, rhubarb-like leaves stretching out 5ft and growing up to 8ft. This bog plant needs a lot of space, so it's definitely not one for a small bog garden.
Smaller varieties include:
G. scabra which grows to a height of around 6ft.
G. magellanica grows to about 2 inch tall
Gunnera, Ornamental Rhubarb (Rheum) is worth considering It is less fussy about its growing environment, tolerating shade and slightly drier conditions.
Other plants I have tried and worth considering for your bog garden include:
'Candelabra primulas', especially Primula pulverulenta.
Creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia), for ground-cover.
Bog plants are planted in wet, waterlogged, damp and soggy areas, bringing interest and colour to parts of your garden, where less damp tolerant plants can't be grown.
The flowering season is quite short, but a mix of early and late flowering bog plants will take the season through from May till September and the range of foliage, shapes and colours and sizes, growing from just a few inches tall to over 6ft, more than make up for the short season.
Have a look at this selection available from amazon, just clck on the pictures
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