Q&A: Getting Bogged-down

Question:
I’m looking to add some interest to my garden. A friend has turned what used to be a murky pit where rainwater collected into a beautiful bog, with intriguing plants. I wish to introduce these bog-loving plants to my garden. Only thing is—I’m not so fortunate to have a soggy pit to start out with. How can I create my own swampy bog without leaving my hose on all day?

                                                                                                      —M.K.
Eastern Michigan

Answer:
Even though your land seems to not have any drainage problems, you should still be able to swamp-up things a little bit in order to support moisture-loving plants with a do-it-yourself bog.

Lay down a 30-mil pond liner in a shallow hole (the overall dimensions should match your ambition, but the hole itself should be about 8-12 inches deep). Bring the liner to ground level and drape it out about 6 inches onto the soil surface. Where it bunches, just fold it flat. With a utility knife, make 8-inch long slits every 3-4 feet in every direction in the bottom. Don’t pull the slits apart. Fill your bog with good, humusy soil, then cover the pond liner at the soil surface with soil and stones. Water your new bog to the saturation point. Water will slowly leak out through the slits in the bottom, but conditions will remain constantly moist for weeks. If the soil seems dry, simply run the hose until it’s wet again. Although you won’t have to run up the water bill every day, you will need the assistance of your hose.

Artificial bogs are best placed out of the way of foot traffic, unless you like muddy shoes.

Strange growth, no blooms or are you wondering the best way to transplant? Just ask, and the Horticulture editorial team will take a stab at answering your ailment or query. E-mail edit@hortmag.com

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