Go with the flow and cre­ate your very own bog gar­den

The Herald Magazine - - ETC | GARDENING -

FED-UP with the in­ces­sant rain? Na­tional Gar­den­ing Week – de­signed to en­cour­age us all to get out­doors and em­brace all things plants and hor­ti­cul­ture – is al­most upon us but if the driz­zle and dark clouds are putting a damp­ener on things, it might be time for a new ap­proach.

In­stead of let­ting the wet weather get you down, why not go with the flow and cre­ate your own bog gar­den? It’s a par­tic­u­larly good idea if you want to add an in­for­mal edge to an ex­ist­ing pond or cul­ti­vate a per­ma­nently water­logged dip in your gar­den.

There are many plants which will thrive hap­pily in con­stantly moist soil and bog gar­dens are also a mag­net for an ar­ray of wildlife, in­clud­ing frogs, birds and ben­e­fi­cial in­sects.


To cre­ate a bog gar­den from scratch, ex­ca­vate your des­ig­nated area to a depth of 45cm. Cal­cu­late roughly the vol­ume of soil you will need to shift (length x width x depth) and, if this seems ex­ces­sive, con­sider re­duc­ing the size of the area.

Line the hole with poly­thene sheet­ing or Butyl pond liner (at least 0.5mm thick). Place bricks or stones on the edge to stop it shift­ing as you walk on it. Pierce the liner at 1m in­ter­vals with a gar­den fork. Lay a length of leaky hosepipe or por­ous pipe in the bot­tom and seal the far end. The other end needs to come up and out of the bog gar­den, so that it can be used to ap­ply wa­ter for ir­ri­ga­tion.

Cover the bot­tom and the leaky hose with a 2.5-5cm layer of coarse grit or gravel to pre­vent soil block­ing the holes in the pipe. Re­place the ex­ca­vated soil, re­mov­ing any weeds and large stones in the process. If the soil is low in or­ganic mat­ter, in­cor­po­rate com­post, leaf mould or well-rot­ted ma­nure. The soil level will now be higher than orig­i­nally but will set­tle in time. Only flat­ten the soil lightly, as heavy com­paction will re­sult in poor grow­ing con­di­tions. You’ll need to con­tinue to weed the soil as it set­tles fur­ther and, once it’s set­tled back to its nat­u­ral level, the bog gar­den is ready for plant­ing.

If you have an area of your gar­den that is nat­u­rally water­logged all year round, As­tran­tia ‘Ruby Wed­ding’ rel­ishes wet soils

you may not need a liner to cre­ate a bog gar­den. How­ever, be aware that bog gar­den plants do need some drainage and air around their roots. They will not thrive where the soil is so wet or com­pacted that wa­ter pools on it and lit­tle drainage oc­curs. Tempted? Here are some ideal bog gar­den can­di­dates...


This wa­ter-loving plant has fine del­i­cate foliage but of­ten toughs out wet sit­u­a­tions.


As­tran­tia have long-last­ing feath­ery flow­ers and foliage and rel­ish wet soils. A bucket of wa­ter ev­ery week in sum­mer droughts if the soil gets too dry.


Day lilies are re­mark­ably ro­bust plants, with trum­pet-shaped blooms in bright warm colours from mid­sum­mer.


Although mar­tyrs to slugs on oc­ca­sion, if you can keep the leaves whole­some, hostas can be ex­traor­di­nar­ily lush in sum­mer, even in shade.


Iris sibir­ica are very tol­er­ant of wet soil and sweat out dry sum­mer pe­ri­ods with ease, flow­er­ing for long pe­ri­ods in early sum­mer and re­tain­ing del­i­cate grassy foliage all sum­mer.


This tall plant, prized for the misty ef­fect of its flower spikes, is very tol­er­ant of wa­ter­log­ging in sum­mer.

Na­tional Gar­den­ing Week, April 30-May 6 na­tion­al­gar­den­ing­week.org.uk.


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