Creating a Bog
Many water gardens contain an associated bog area. While a water garden tends to have clear, moving water to allow fish and other aquatic life to prosper, a bog is an area of soggy soil which is more stagnant. The bog area tends to be very shallow, often on a ledge near the main pond. This bog area allows plants that like a soggy-but-not-pond environment to grow and bloom.
In the water garden shown on the left, the bog area is to the lower right. The bog is shallow, and is separated from the main pond area by a wall of felt. That felt barrier allows the water to slowly move in and out, but prevents the dirt bog base from flowing out into the pond.
While having an attached bog can be lovely from a visual point of view, it is often good to keep a bog completely separate from the pond. This is because the bog plants tend to enjoy heavy fertilizer. In nature, a bog is usually made up of lots of rotting vegetation, bringing rich nutrients to the plants which thrive here. Re-creating this dense nutrient situation would be bad for a pond, though, because it would promote algae growth.
There are many interesting plants that enjoy a bog environment. This includes Lobelia and bog Iris varieties. Also, there are many types of animals and insects which thrive in a bog environment but not in a standard water garden environment.
It's a lot of fun to expand your horizons and work with different kinds of habitats in your water garden area. If you haven't considered creating a water garden bog before, definitely do some research and look into the options. You want to set it up properly, so that it does not become a stagnant sludge of decaying matter. If you take the time to create your bog properly, it can bring you years of flowering beauty and interesting wildlife. Enjoy!
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