Bog Gardening

Bog Gardening

POND is not an essential feature of the bog garden, although its presence is to be desired when you can use the overflow to feed a marsh. It is essential, that the soil of the marsh garden be kept in a moist, swampy state through out year. The site of the bog garden must, naturally, be low-lying and where the surface drainage will naturally collect. If the subsoil is of sticky clay, a mere trickle of water will keep the ground in a sufficiently moist condition. Should the subsoil be light and well drained, a certain amount of excavation will be necessary before the bog garden can be made.

Constructing the Bog Garden

Dig out about two feet of the topsoil and introduce a little clay for a basis. Over this stretch a five-inch bed of rubble or large stones, and then a layer of coarse soil. Now fill the remainder, almost to the level of the surrounding land, with medium consisting of half loam and half leaf-mould or peat. Unless a natural flow of water is available, you need to provide an artificial trickle, just sufficient to keep the bog swampy. Sometimes in the summer, I would turn the hose on and let the bog flood. This process should last for several months depending on your climate. Bog plants should never suffer from drought, the marsh garden should be kept quite moist, but on the other hand must not become stagnant, and it is for this reason that slight bottom drainage is introduced. The bog should never be more than two feet in depth; its extent, of course, will depend on the space available and upon taste. Paths of rough stones or bricks should be made through the bog, and over these should be placed flat stepping stones, in order to make every part of the bog accessible. If these paths are made at varying heights, they may be used to divide the bog into shelving beds, the higher and better-drained of which will accommodate plants not requiring to much moisture, while in the lower-lying sites can be grown the real moisture-lovers.

Selecting the Plants

Provided is list of a few good marsh plants. Almost any moisture-loving plant can be used. They can be found at the margins of streams and ponds, even some of those which at times have six or more inches of water over their crowns; in fact, all plants growing freely in shallow water may also be grown in the bog garden. Be careful not to overcrowd the plants, rather group together three to five plants of the same kind, leave a space, and again plant a clump of subjects of different colour, type, and height. This irregularity and variety will please the eye, which would tend to become surfeited by a mass of the same color, size, and form. The actual marsh plants selected will depend upon the layout and size of the garden; the natural surroundings must also be very carefully considered. If the area is restricted, greater variety and beauty can be obtained by the use of small growing species; while among extensive surroundings full rein may be given to the free-growing plants, many of which are invaluable as a background where space permits. It is always necessary, however, to bear in mind the size to which the plants will grow in from two to three years’ time, and to arrange them accordingly.

Only a sound knowledge of the habits and rate of growth of the plants introduced and a clear visualization of the picture one is endeavoring to produce can ensure success in this exceedingly difficult matter of planting for future effect.

LYSICHITUM-Yellow Skunk Cabbage . Attractive and uncommon, though not too pleasant-smelling, hardy plants which are widely distributed, being found wild in eastern Siberia, Japan and northwestern America. They belong to the Arum family, Araceae. The name is from the Greek lysichiton, a loose cloak, and it alludes to the flower spathe, Plants for the Waterside. These plants, which are found wild in marshy or swampy districts, grow 18-24 in. high, and in April and May bear very handsome, pale yellow or white, boat-shaped flower spathes
in advance of the leaves. The leaves vary from 1-4 ft. in length and 4-15 in. in width, according to the locality and nature of the soil, reaching their greatest dimensions in deep, moist, loamy soil. They grow freely in moist soil enriched with decayed manure or compost, and are useful for waterside planting.

Propagation is by division of the clumps in September or October.

Two kinds are grown, and for a long time their names were confused. The yellow species, previously called L. camtschatcense, is now identified as L. americanum, and the less common white kind is L. camtschatcense, a native of eastern Asia.

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