Gardening Magazine

Goodbye Bog Garden

By Patientgardener @patientgardener
The better side of the Bog Garden - still not that great

The better side of the Bog Garden – still not that great

I had a lie in last Sunday morning, an unusual event recently but well overdue.  The only problem is that it meant my mind was wandering around (I had been woken by my mad cat demanding to be let out at 6am so was wide awake!).  I started thinking about Bog Garden which really isn’t very boggy and is one of those parts of the garden that I walk past averting my eyes.

The bog garden was originally created to solve the problem of the pond which itself was created in the large hole left by a very large inherited conifer.  The pond was alright to start with but people always under-estimate how much work is involved in maintaining a pond and I do believe  that in order to have a good and healthy wildlife pond you need one of a good size not the small one I had.  So the pond was filled in, with the liner punctured first to improve drainage.  The idea was that this would provide the ideal conditions for my Ligularia and other plants which had been around the pond.

The bog garden from the shady end - in need of work

The bog garden from the shady end – in need of work

It turns out that this was not the case.  I suspect I was over enthusiastic in puncturing the liner since the bog garden has never been that boggy.  The Ligularia in particularly looks great in spring until the slugs attack but it soon declines and is obviously suffering from a lack of moisture, this was even the case last year when it was very wet.  I have decided to take the approach I took with the Cottage border and to remove everything apart from the shrubs.  Some plants I will discard, such as the Ligularia and Rodgersia, and other I will pot up until I can decide where they will go.

I need to have a more cohesive approach to the border and this, as well as the lack of moisture, has caused a real headache.  I have until now treated the border as two  separate borders, an approach that was destined to fail.  On the far side is the bog garden and on the side nearest the house is a drier area with a large Prunus incisa ‘kojo-no-mai’.  I have some Phlox and Monarda in this area but they look a little lost so they will be lifted and probably incorporated into the Big Border.  The whole border is very shady with only the far corner nearest the shed in any sort of sun.  So I have decided that this is going to become an extension of the ‘woodland/shade border’.  I think the planting will be predominantly ferns, hostas, primulas and maybe meconopsis if I can get them established but I need to do some research to find the right varieties for the deeper shade and for the drier areas.

Woodland slope - also in need of an overhaul

Woodland slope – also in need of an overhaul

Then there is the slope behind this bed.  It is quite a small slope behind the bed but gets higher the nearer the shed you go.  At the shed end I have my asters which need sorting out.  They were bunched up here when the shed project started but now I can see which one is what I can reorganise for a better effect.  The lower bit of the slope is much shadier and I want to clear this and use it for more of my woodland bulbs and smaller plants.  As this is one of my areas of growing interest making extra space for these plants is a real boon and makes me very happy.

It has taken me a while but I have finally realised that I can’t have everything and anything that I take a fancy to.  Not only do I not have the space but also I don’t have the right conditions for everything.  Therefore, I am focussing on my real passions and not whims and amazingly, instead  of feeling like I am being denied something, I feel liberated and able to really focus on my burgeoning passions. And I love a project to get my teeth into!

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