If you have a stubborn area of your garden that is constantly soggy and waterlogged, you might have ummed and ahhed over the costs of installing some decent drainage (see one of our earlier posts for our guide to drainage!).

However, there is an alternative. Part of being an ecologically friendly gardener is working with everything that Mother Nature has ‘blessed’ you with. It’s also about providing a variety of habitats for wildlife. With all this in mind, have you thought about planting a bog garden? No? Then read on…

Bog plants come in huge variety of colours, shapes and sizes, and thrive in nutrient rich soil.

Creating a bog garden is a little bit of a cross between preparing for a pond, and creating a bottle garden – both of which are topics we have covered in previous articles so check back for more info.

Preparation
If you already have a soggy patch in your garden, preparing to transform it into a bog garden really won’t be that difficult. The biggest decision you need to make before you get started, is what size to make your bog garden, and where to locate it.

What you will need:

• Pond liner
• Spade
• Organic material
• Plants

Firstly, avoid low-hanging trees to prevent leaves contaminating your bog. Then, dig a hole about 30cm deep, line it, cut a few holes in the liner for the plants, re-cover with a layer of course grit then replace your damp soil and LOTS of organic material. To finish it off, water really thoroughly with rainwater and leave it to settle for about a week before you plant it up.

If you live in a drought-prone area, it might be worth sinking a leaky or purposefully punctured hosepipe around the edge before you fill your bog garden. Once connected to your mains hose tap, you can make sure your bog area doesn’t dry out – do remember that any hosepipe bans will apply to your bog garden too.

You may also want to install some stepping-stones into the arrangement to make accessing your bog garden much easier.

Planting


Varieties of bog, or marsh, plants that like moist roots include specific varieties of primula, marsh orchids, and iris. You can get really creative with a bog garden as bog plants are so varied – there are tiny plants, huge grasses, ferns and everything in between so go crazy with your planting scheme and make the most from a sore spot.

Wildlife
Because bog gardens occupy the space between wet and dry, they quickly become and much used habitat and resource for a wide variety of wildlife. If you’re lucky, your bog garden will become home to a whole host of creatures and fauna that like a soggy bottom.

Any amphibious animals love bog gardens as places of shelter, and great places in which to forage. Look out for newts, dragonflies, butterflies, and mosquitos.

So, a bog garden can be a fantastic way to make the most out of the worst features of your garden. If you want to give bog planting a try, why not use a planter — like one of our collectors trough planter — and re-create some boggy conditions of your own?