HOW TO CREATE A BOG GARDEN

A Bog Garden can bring an entirely new range of plants species to your yard, many of the wildflowers in New Jersey are perfectly suited for this.

Some of us may be lucky enough to have a natural damp area in the yard. Before planning on placing your bog here, be sure it is damp all year round. Many of us have a damp area in the Spring and late Winter but it dries out during the late Spring and Summer months. If this is so, this will not work naturally for a bog. It must have moisture year round.

But if you have a spring or damp area year round, perfect. Skip the portion below on Constructing a Bog section below, your lucky and we are green with jealousy.

CONSTRUCTING A BOG GARDEN

To construct a bog you can create one on its own (which this page will focus on) or part of an existing pond. The latter creates an area that looks perfectly at home near the pond and blends the two habitats that would be common in nature into a balanced habitat in your yard. However if you want a bog as part of the pond area, this should be part of the original ponds plan, keeping the entire area as part of a single liner.

If placing the bog next to the pond or as part of it during the ponds construction is not something you can do. Do not worry, a bog on its own is fine and just as rewarding.

The construction is the same as a pond, only we will fill the liner with organic material. The size of the bog is based on your preference. Larger bogs with centers that are difficult to reach will need means in which to remove weeds so plan that accordingly. A bog that is 6' wide with the ability to be reached on all sides is generally the easiest in regards to maintain as it matures.

The location should be sunny but shady or semi shady bogs with extensive ferns is also nice. But a sunny location will allow you the best choice of plants. It also attracts the most butterflies, insects, birds, etc.

As in a pond create the shape of your bog by removing the dirt from the location you have determined. The difference between a pond and a bog is that we recommend one depth. 2' to 2' 6" is best. Ensure that nothing is going to puncture your liner, lay in sand and then liner. Remove as many folds as possible, ensure its level on all sides leaving enough around edges to cover with dirt, rocks, etc.

EXAMPLES OF DAMP LOVING PLANTS FROM OUR OWN YARD

Japanese Primroses

Blue Eyed Grass

Ligularia

Great Lobelia

 Impatiens capensis

Swamp Milkweed

The Bog must be damp at all times or the plants living there may die. In order to ensure that there is water to your bog, many use perforated plastic pipes. Use a larger perforated pipe with a smaller perforated pipe inside it. Fill the gap between the larger and smaller pipe with pea gravel. The smaller pipe will have a garden hose placed in it. The pea gravel minimizes the force of the water from the hose. Another solution is a soaker hose and some people use the gutters from their house with a direct connection to the bog using perforated drain hose directly connected to the exit spout at the bottom of the gutter drain. In any case, maintain the water.

Once you have figured out the water delivery method to your Bog, fill with organic matter. Add the water and then allow the organic matter to settle. Some people recommend waiting for 24 hours, but like us, most people want to complete the project and enjoy the Bog as fast as possible.

So now that your Bog is filled and water is in place, the next thing to do is plant it.............that is the fun stuff!

There are many non native plants that you can add to your Bog Garden as well. Some of our favorites are the Primroses. We have a path leading to our small tree frog pond that remains damp most of the year and is lined with hundreds of pale pink, pink and white Japanese Primroses.

In 2011 we are adding additional primrose species to our bog and damp areas of the yard and hope to offer them for sale should they do well as plants from many species are not readily available.


Acidic Bogs - Carnivorous Plants and Orchids


There are also Bog Plants that require an acidic mix to survive, this includes many orchids and most carnivorous plants. This requires a mix of 50% Peat Moss and 50% Sand. And depending on your area, you may need to fill this with rain water or depending on size, distilled water as many of the carnivorous plants are sensitive to minerals in the water.

If you create this type of bog, you can also add live Sphagnum Moss to your bog.

With this acidic bog, you will want to wait up to one month for the PH to balance. Once this has been completed, there are several Sundew Species and the Purple Pitcher Plant that are native to New Jersey along with many Orchid Species that are at home in a bog such as this.

Please note that most of these are rare in their natural environment and should never be collected from the wild. Always purchase from a nursery where they are not collected from wild stock unless they are rescues. Most of the other plants noted above will also live in this bog as well. Lay in your selected plants and then add the sphagnum moss. The moss will grow slowly, surrounding the plants.

Special Notes

When placing the plants in the Bog Garden, do not push the plants crown below the surface of the bog. As strange as this sounds, the crown may rot in the winter. Allow the crown to stay above the moisture or water line of the bog, the roots will do the job of finding the moisture. In this way, your plants will flourish and multiply and you will enjoy this garden for years to come.