Qs for Fred/Fredsbog

njbiologyMay 17, 2005

Hi, Fred. this was part of a previous posting on a thread that will probably be gone soon so i posted it here. I have a few questions about bog gardens:



Love your bog garden, it looks excellent!

1. I live in New Jersey - my area is supposedly zone 6b; however, i know that these zones are sometimes misapplied. Would you say that you are in a colder zone then I am?

2. When we say that iris and orchid have their rhizomes in the upper 3 to 4" of earth, as definitely seems to be the case in the field, then how would greater depth then 10" help these plants thrive and to overwinter?

The only two advantages to extra depth that I can think of would be: greater water/moisture retention in the growing season and less water per soil ratio in winter so that the roots are not frozen in solid ice [mud].

3. I think my frostline might be 18" - i was thinking of making my bog 24", so that its well beyond the frost line. However, since I'm only going to have mostly the types of bog plants that you have [orchid, iris, hardy carnivorous plants, etc], is that a waste of liner - since the roots will not be going down that deep - and maybe wont even go deeper then 10"? [keep in mind that I wont be having any sort of cattails or very large plants that might have enormous root systems?

4. Do you think that I can go 50% peat and 50% dirt - or will that go bad - in which case is sand much better? I would think that sand and peat will insulate less then would dirt in winter.

Thanks Fred,


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1. Ohio is decidedly colder than New Jersey!

2. consider this, put two identical plants in two pots. One is 6" by 4" deep the other os 6" by 6" deep. which will have less extremes? most likely the larger pot. Less drying and slightly less temperature changes over short periods. The depth of the bog only stabilizes the moisture and temperatures. Is a bog that is 10" deep more likely to dry out than one that is 18"? probably. Remember Freezing solid depends on how solid freezing is. Some plants, as I've said before can take more cold than others. I've seen iris in zone 3 with their roots at or near surface...that's frozen!

3. Go 10" if that is what you can do, I suggest 18", more than that for a bog is a waste of time and is back breaking work.

4. I do not recommend dirt. It can add nutrients and impurities that will not be good for a bog (I know I made a similar mistake with crushed oyster shell). I use peat, sand and pine needles. Quit worrying about insulation! If a plant is rated for your zone it'll be fine in your bog, cripe I have plants rated zone 7 that have been thriving in my bog for years and I'm zone 5 borderline 6.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2005 at 10:26PM
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Thank you very much for the info. So, then I will make my entire bog surrounding my 32x20 pond to be 18", and ignore the seemingly pointless advice that some sites say in recommending 2.5 feet depth - maybe they are talking about some sort of enormous bog plant that i wont be having. Since all those plants survive year after year in your bog, they will, i assume, survive the winter also in mine.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2005 at 12:26AM
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in zone 6b or 5, would 14" be risky in winter?

    Bookmark   June 23, 2005 at 11:46PM
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