Would this be a bog?

vegangirl(z6 VA)March 29, 2005

At the back of our property, there is a little wet area that comes from the neighboring field. It's the outlet where the owner ditched his pasture. Spring and early summer it actually has moving water, flowing toward the creek and later in the summer it becomes just wet. Many years ago I transplanted some skunk cabbage there and it has slowly spread. White turtlehead appeared on its own and has made a nice sized clump. Would this be considered a bog? what else can I plant there..shrubs, perennials? Any bulbs? It gets a mixture of sun and shade with a bit more sun in the afternoon.

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If you simply pile up mulch so that the top will not be setting in water, hosta will do very well. Pulmonaria, sorrel, sedge, ajuga, daylilies. Or mound hardwood mulch down from the dryer area and plant, those mentioned have done well for me. Particularly pulmonaria and hosta. Hosta will not want the crown under water but they have done well about 3 or more inches above the water table.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2005 at 8:10PM
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vegangirl(z6 VA)

wilddog, thanks for the ideas. I'm happy to hear about the hostas and daylilies because I have several.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2005 at 1:39PM
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hi. i would like to know how to make a bog garden. can i do it by my pond? i,m new to this thanks in advance.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2005 at 7:52AM
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Mary_in_CA(Calif (zone 9))

Pondlady 48, absolutely you can put a pond and bog together! I have bog with and without a pond. Get a book because it pays well to do your homework. My DH dug our small pond which was horribly hard work, but it is the showplace of my garden. I now have 4 bog areas, all thriving.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2005 at 7:14PM
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nancyBinCC(6b/7a MD)

First post to this group.. WOw! Lots of great info here...

I, too have what I consider to be a "natural" bog..it is in a field and looks like it may have been the start of a pond attempt at some point. Challenge is that it is near a stream.. It supports skunk cabbage and some clumps of grass. It is covered with about 2-3" of water spring-time and is soggy wet all year, even in drought. My concern is in planting anything that could spread to the stream and then cause a problem..

Specifically, as part of a trade, I know I am getting both regular and miniature cattails.. I know these can be a challenge.. Anyone with expericence in containing them.. They seem a "natural" for the area. But, I do not want them spreading all of the place..

WOuld this be a good place for water iris?

thanks for any advice.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2005 at 9:17AM
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donna_stevens(z7 TN)

Mary how did you go about making you bog by your pond, I have been thinking about doing that but just can't quite figure it out.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2005 at 10:48AM
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Every now and then I take a look at this forum and I think people confuse wetland or moist woodland gardens with what a bog is. Of course some people would call a bog a swamp and that is wrong. Bogs have specific plants and trees that grow in them. They are filled in ponds or on the edge of lakes. Bogs can have slow moving streams flowing through them. A great deal of true bogs are seep bogs. The seepage comes from a fresh water spring on the edge of a hill or coming up from the earth.

This is Websters wording of a bog:

wet spongy ground; especially : a poorly drained usually acid area rich in accumulated plant material, frequently surrounding a body of open water, and having a characteristic flora (as of sedges, heaths, and sphagnum)[end]

I think it was a bad choice of words using "rich" in accumulated plant material. It gives one the impression that the earth is rich and good for plants of many kinds. But in the same sentance Websters used the word "acidic". There are alkaline limestone bogs. Michigan is a state where many akaline bogs can be found. In a typical bog that is acidic the pH is between 3.5 - 5.5, thats a bog. In a akaline bog the opposite, pH 7.2 > thus unique plants grow in the bog set up for the land or wetland they grow in.

Bogs are not shaded areas, though with time hardwoods move in an the bog habitat in nature changes with shade killing the bog plants out. Most bog plants are sun lovers, they are not shade growing plants. The skunk cabbage could be found on the upper borders in the shade as the hardwoods slowly move in toward the wet center of the bog. Another plant you could use with the skunk cabbage if filtered light is the Jack-in-the-pulpit. As well skunk cabbage can adopt to sun conditions, it isn't a plant I would use in the bog itself other than a border plant due to the size of the leaves shading out the plants that should be in the bog.

Think Cranberries in NJ or MA, blue berries line the bogs in the mid-Atlantic and northeast. Rhododendron's or Azalea often occur above the real wet area as they enjoy acidic soils.In Florida the acidic bogs may have blueberries and unique Azalea along with a plethora of other acidic shrubs.
Trees common to bogs are Pine, many types. In the south the long leaf or slash pine. In some areas pond pine. You will not find pitch pine. In the north you have spruce and other evergreen trees along with a couple pine species.
All over you may have cedar trees growing slowly in the bog.
You may find the Bald Cypress tree in southern bogs, however they are not a bog tree. Often they invade into the wetlands and are suitable. The pond cypress is a more proper bog tree along with lobbolly Bay, or sweet bay.

Sphagnum moss species are the common ground cover, very thick and many carnivorous and other very acidic plants cover the grond. Hat pins, bog buttons, various orchids, but not Hosta or canna lillies. They are not bog plants.

However why I have briefly described some true bog traits anyone is allowed to call things whatever they want. I for instance have started calling cars, tractors. While both are motorized vehicles like the marsh or moistwood to the bog.

Take Care,


    Bookmark   May 2, 2005 at 4:25PM
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vegangirl(z6 VA)

Mike, thanks for the very informative post! I think then, that I don't have a bog, I just have a wet area:-) However I would still be interested in plants and shrubs that would be happy there with my skunk cabbage and chelone.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2005 at 9:27AM
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