Garden Design 5: The Bog Garden | Vite Greenhouses
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January 26, 2020

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The Bog Garden
a collection of moisture-loving plants
If you have a perpetually damp place in your yard that you've always considered a problem area, don't despair. Whether it's an area that doesn't drain well, floods periodically, or borders a pond or stream, let that unique situation become an intriguing, one-of-a-kind garden spot (as well as a wonderful habitat for wildlife) by selecting plants that thrive in moist places. This plan will work best in a partly shaded area (at the edge of a woods, for example) but will also be fine in a sunnier place as long as the soil never dries out. Choose a site that remains moist but not soggy or flooded for extended periods. Before planting your new garden, decide where you should place a footpath of substantial flat stones that will facilitate gardening chores and leisurely strolls. Several of the varieties indicated here-the Lysimachia, Monarda, and Tradescantia in particular-will multiply rapidly and may need some reining in after a few seasons. In addition to the perennials and ornamental Grasses indicated in the plan, add a variety of Ferns and Hostas to your damp garden.

Plant in groups of three except where indicated.
a. Aruncus dioicus (1)
Height 4-6', Spacing 24-36".
j. Iris 'Dreaming Spires'
Height 36", Spacing 18-24".
b. Astilbe 'Snowdrift'
Height 24", Spacing 12-15".
k. Ligularia 'Desdemona' (1)
Height 36-48", Spacing 24-36".
c. Astilbe chinensis var. 'Purple Candles'
Height 42-46", Spacing 15-18".
l. Ligularia przewalskii
Height 5-6', Spacing 24-36".
d. Astilbe 'Ostrich Plume'
Height 36", Spacing 18-24".
m. Monarda 'Marshall's Delight'
Height 36-48", Spacing 18-24".
e. Bergenia 'Autumn Glory'
Height 6-12", Spacing 10-12".
n. Phalaris 'Dwarf Garters'
Height 12-15", Spacing 16-20".
f. Chelone 'Hot Lips'
Height 36", Spacing 15-18".
o. Tradescantia virginiana
Height 18-24", Spacing 18-24".
g. Deschampsia 'Northern Lights' (1)
Height 24-36", Spacing 24-30".
p. Trollius 'Gold Queen'
Height 36", Spacing 12-18".
h. Deschampsia caespitosa (1)
Height 36", Spacing 24-30".
q. Viola labradorica
Height 1-4", Spacing 10-15".
i. Galium odoratum
Height 7-10", Spacing 8-12".
This garden includes 60 plants of 17 cultivars. Substitutions of similar plants may be made if some varieties are not available.
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helpful hints
  • The bog garden is solution oriented. That low spot in your yard that is too wet to grow lawn can easily be transformed into an attractive perennial garden.
  • For best results, plant in a location of full to part sun where the soil never dries out.
  • If you're not fortunate enough to have a bog location, you can easily create one. Dig a shallow indentation in the ground, cover with plastic sheeting, poke drainage holes, and backfill.
  • Improve your bog soil by adding organic matter, such as compost and mulch, to the top four to six inches of soil.
Credits: Etera Perennial Guide, Vol. 1, 1999

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