Welcome to the Kentucky Native Plant and Wildlife Blog.

Welcome to the Kentucky Native Plant and Wildlife Blog.
The purpose of this blog is to provide information on using native plants in the landscape, issues related to invasive exotic plants, urban wildlife management, and wildlife damage management. It is my intention that this information will assist you in deciphering the multitude of information circulating around the web and condense in some meaningful method as it relates to Kentucky. In addition, I hope to highlight a native plant that can be used in the landscape.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Greating a bog garden

Yellow Pitcher Plant and Flower
My last posting on grass of parnassus raises an obvious question if you are going to use this plant in the landscape, and that is: "How do I create a bog garden?"  It is not all that difficult and some attention to detail must be adhered to, such as:
1) never use tap water (contains minerals and chlorine harmful to the plants);
2) the soil medium must be kept continually moist to wet;
3) It is best to use live sphagnum moss (available from Carolina Biological Supply Company) if possible;
4) never fertilize the garden because bogs are naturally low in nutrients (hence that is why there are carnivorous plants living and thriving in them);
5) the bottom must be lined with heavy, unbroken mat of plastic or rubber such that there are no holes or seams for water to escape from;
6) there should be some form for drainage in the very upper reaches so that the crowns of the plants do not rot;
7) use a mixture of 50:50 or 75:25 of sphagnum moss to coarse (not child's play) sand that has been cleaned;
8) locate the garden so it gets full sunlight and it fits into your existing landscape design;
9) if you don't have space to put one in the ground, use a half-whiskey barrel or planter or even an old child's wading pool (it only needs to be about  2' deep).
While rain gardens are all the rage, why not put in a bog and use the rainwater to fill the bog and then have the excess run-off into a rain garden?  This would be a wonderful way of creating diversity in the landscape and allow for additional opportunities to use some other unique native plants.  Once a site has been selected you can begin the excavation process.  Bog gardens do not necessarily need to be deep and a minimum depth would be about 2 1/2 feet, and deeper is probably better.  If you have mole problems then I would recommend placing 1/2" hardware cloth down with some soil on top to prevent them from entering and destroying the bog. Next place the liner down and place a bit of soil or the created soil medium in several places to hold it down and let the liner settle.  Then fill the bog with the soil medium and trample it down as you go to make sure that the liner settles in well and fits the contours of the excavated hole.   Put your drainage pipes or holes in at this point.  Now fill the garden with water, distilled or rain, and make sure the entire surface of the garden is level and even.  Wait several weeks for the system to stabilize and add water as necessary.  Now you are ready to plant and some of the most interesting plants you can use in a bog garden are pitcher plants, sundews, some easy to propagate orchids (make sure they are nursery propagated not just nursery grown),  cranberry ( this will vine over the top), iris, cardinal flower and great blue lobelia, and any species that likes to keep its roots constantly moist.  Once established the only maintenance is weeding, keeping the bog from drying out, and mulching in the late fall with pine straw.

No comments:

Post a Comment