How to make a bog garden
In fact, a patch of boggy soil should be viewed as an opportunity to grow a different range of plants that are well adapted to the demanding soil conditions. By choosing the right combination of moisture-loving plants, you can create an attractive and unconventional feature that’s the envy of your gardening friends and neighbours. Best of all a bog garden will look lush and fresh throughout the summer, just as more conventional borders are running out of steam.
Why make a bog garden?
- Transforms an eyesore into an attractive feature
- Extends the range of plants you can grow
- Looks great in late summer
- Attractive to wildlife
- Associates well with water features
- Less work
To appreciate the oasis of lush foliage and colourful flowers to the full, you will need to provide all-weather access. This can be in the form of stepping stones or log rolls, or a slightly raised walkway made from rot-resistant garden decking. This will also enable you look after the plants more easily.
Bog gardens look particularly effective adjacent to water features, such as streams and ponds - providing a seamless transition from marginal plantings in the shallows, to conventional garden borders. Alongside natural ponds and streams the soil is moist, making planting straightforward, but next to man-made water features, the soil is likely to be much too dry for moisture-loving plants. The answer, here, is to create a false boggy area using a flexible pond-liner
Creating a bog garden
- Mark out the outline of the bog garden using a garden hose and dry sand trickled from an empty wine bottle.Â
- Dig out a hole 30-45cm deep, placing the soil to one side.
- Line the hole with a flexible butyl pond liner and puncture it several times with a garden fork at the deepest point.
- Cover the bottom of the liner with several centimeters of coarse grit or pea shingle to prevent soil blocking the holes.
- Replace the excavated soil, mixing in loads of well-rotted organic matter to make it nice and spongy.
- Allow the soil to settle for a week or so and top up as necessary.
- Plant up the bog garden and water well.
- Lay leaky pipe over the soil surface to make watering easier during dry spells and disguise it with a layer of organic mulch.