Edging around your pond. Shallow and Bog Gardening
By the Pond Lady
Edging your pond will give it a finished look. You can hang a picture on a wall by itself but put a frame around it and you have a masterpiece. This goes for your pond. Put an edge around it and it stands out and calls to you to notice it. Edging will also secure your pond liner beneath it.
There are many types of edging. Raised edging or tilting the edging slightly upward will help to discourage surface runoff from entering the pond. Your edging can be extended over the edge of the water by 1-2 inches to conceal the liner from the sun and your view, making it more attractive. Mortaring the stone or brick edging will provide a safe and secure edge. Brick or cut stones gives a formal look to your pond. A mixture of edging can create an informal look to your pond. Plants can be used to cascade over the edges to give a soft natural look. If you use plants, leave an area where you can walk close to the water. The use of plants can be inexpensive and easy to install. Place your plants far enough back from your pond’s water edge so that when they cascade over the edge they won’t cover too much of the water surface. Keep them trimmed back. You can grow grass up to your pond’s edge but keep it and all the clippings out of your water. Dwarf and low-growing conifers, evergreen ground covers and spreading broad-leaved evergreens make for a satisfactory edging for your pond. I have tall ornamental grasses growing behind my pond with smaller grasses toward the sides. This allows me to see my complete pond from the house and deck. The taller plants are used for a backdrop and are reflected in the water on sunny days. You will get ideas from visiting other ponds and you can see many ponds in one day by going on a pond tour.
When I hear someone talking about water gardening I immediately think of bog gardening. What is a bog garden? Mr. Webster describes a bog as: wet, spongy ground; small marsh or swamp; to sink down. Gardening is where you want to grow plants. For the people with a swampy, wet area all they have to do is plant any plant that likes water. People who do not have this kind of area in their yard can create one. A bog garden at the edge of your pond is an added enjoyment. A true bog garden provides very acidic conditions for plants. They are usually filled with a mixture of half peat and half sand. Since a bog garden is filled with soil, it should be separated from your water pond. There are two types of bog gardens. An Independent Bog Garden and Integrated Bog Garden. An Independent Bog Garden is where the bog garden is separate from the adjacent water garden. This is done with a soil berm (raised edge) under your liner. This garden must be watered separately. An Integrated Bog Garden will allow the water to seep slowly through a permeable layer between the adjoining pond and bog garden. This permeable layer could consist of stacks of rocks or soil between the two ponds. If the pond is kept full then your bog garden will stay moist. A bog garden is constructed just like a pond. You dig your hole any size or shape you want. Make your bog garden about 12 inches deep. Extend your water pond liner under the entire area so that the water will not seep out and create dry soil. You must poke very small holes though your liner so that aerobic conditions are not created in the soil. Add your soil and wet down. You can also make a bog garden with any shallow preformed container.
Darlene Jennings (pond Lady) President, Mid-Michigan Pond & Water Garden Club Advanced MSU Master Gardener