Do you have a spot in your yard that seems unsuitable for planting because it’s always a bit on the waterlogged side? At first glance, it may seem like that bit of marshy landscape is beyond saving, but you can actually make use of this space by starting your own bog garden in it. Of course, you don’t have to have an overly-moist patch of land to enjoy a bog garden. All you'll need to create one is a little extra landscaping or container gardening.
Preparing a Bog Garden
Besides moisture, there are a few other things you'll need to consider when picking out and preparing your site. For starters, you’ll want an area that gets about five hours of direct sunlight. All that light is exteremly beneficial for the plants that thrive in bog gardens. If you’re not sure how much sunlight a particular area gets, you can either use a meter to gauge it or just keep an eye on it during the day to get a basic idea.
Prepping the spot you pick is a bit more physically intensive than a lot of your other gardening chores. Begin by digging a hole that’s about two feet deep. You can make your hole as wide as you’d like your garden to be, but you must adhere to this depth. Once you've finished, use pond liner or a similar material to line the inside of the hole.
Since bog gardens rely on soil that toes a fine line between very moist and too moist, it’s essential to create some drainage holes in your liner. Only do this after you’ve got it perfectly in place. You'll find it best to put these holes about a foot below the top of the larger hole you dug. Be sure to space them all out evenly as you go.
Try to keep about a foot of the liner above the hole. This material will gradually start to slide down as your bog garden settles after planting. Plus, any excess that doesn’t get brought down into the hole can always be hidden in by nearby landscaping. Use rocks or mulch to cover it up and keep it out of sight.
Next, you'll put soil mixture into the hole. It may seem like a good idea to just use all the dirt you initially removed from the hole, but for an ideal growing environment, you’ll want to opt for some soil amendments instead. Try mixing coarse sand, peat moss, and compost into the soil you removed (wth an emphasis on the peat moss). This blend will give your bog garden the nutrients and drainage it needs to thrive.
Once you’ve gotten your bog garden ready for planting, you’ll want to leave it alone for about a week. During that time, all you'll have to do is keep it well-watered and let it settle. After the week is up, it’s time to plant some seeds.
Perfect Plants for Your Bog Garden
Your bog garden should be filled with plants that feel more at home in wet climates. The good news is that there’s a wide variety of plants out there that fit that bill. Iris pseudacorus, Rodgersia pinnata, Astilbe chinensis, Gunnera manicata, and Salix alba "Vitellina" are all excellent choices.
Carnivorous plants can be especially fun to cultivate in bog gardens. Kids and adults alike can get a real kick out of growing things like pitcher plants and Venus flytraps. Depending on the weather in your area, you may also want to grow these in a container bog garden.
As with any garden, you’ll want to try to layer your bog garden based on your plant's respective heights and growing seasons to keep it looking great all year long.
Mini Bog Garden
You may not have the space to create a large bog garden in your backyard, or you may not be up to the full preparation and maintenance of one. If either of those are true for you, consider starting a small container bog garden instead. Just about any container will work, but some may require the same pond liner you'd use in an outdoor setup. Potential containers include hard plastic wading pools, rubber tubs, and barrel planters.
A bog garden can make a fun and unique addition to any backyard, especially if a piece of it is already a little marshy by nature. Sometimes, making your yard work for you just takes a few extra steps.