Build A Simple Bog Garden
Bog plants are an interesting group that thrive in perpetually wet soil. Here is a project to create bog-like conditions for plants that thrive with their roots submersed in water. This will give you some ideas on how to create your own bog. If you can't find the container I used, use your imagination since many containers made for other uses can be used in this project.
This project takes not more than a few hours to finish once you have your container, plants and soil. The container I used I bought from a local nursery for $14.99. (prices in 1999) The plants—Sarracenia varieties—ranged from 7 to 10 dollars each. The peat moss I used to mix with garden soil was leftover from the previous owner. Spagmum moss, used to "mulch" the garden, hid the container's edge and cost a few dollars more. A rigid and shallow child's swimming pool may be used, although I don't know how long it would last in the garden.
The bog container is the width of a whiskey barrel and stands about one foot high. Choose a suitable spot for it, especially out of the way where people won't accidently step in it. Dig a hole at a depth and width to sink the container to its rim in the ground. Since I used sand I dug a little deeper so that I could spread sand down before dropping the container into the hole. I used a spirit level to make sure the container was level after it was sunk in the ground. I mixed approximately 1 part peat moss with 1 part clay garden soil and filled the container up.
Next step, plant the bog plants to the same depth as they were growing in the pots. Fill with water then take spaghmum moss and lay on top the potting mix letting the moss drape over the edge to hide the container. I went around the gardens and woods to find moss and placed it around the perimeter of the container.
Another option is to sink the container deeper in the ground and fill with your soil up to ground level effectively covering the container. Since I may want to move mine and prefer easier access to the container, I sink it even with the surrounding soil.
Tuck your bog garden in anywhere around the garden. Be sure to select plants that have the same light requirements. If you find you don't like where you placed it, transplant the container by lifting (with the help of another person, it is heavy) and placing in another spot. The plants hardly know they were moved. If you have a heated greenhouse you can select tropical bog plants and lift the container out to overwinter in the greenhouse. Be sure you check cultural requirements of your plants to insure your plants thrive in their new environment.
There you have it - a simple garden project you can do in less than a day. Then you can have fun spending the rest of the season refining it.
This bog garden contains three varieties of Sarracenia (pitcher plants)—Sarracenia rubra wherryi, Sarracenia flava x alata, Sarracenia leucophylla x purpurea.