How Bog Gardens Work

Bog Garden Maintenance and Container Bog Gardens

The type of maintenance your bog garden requires will be heavily dependent on the sort of bog garden you have. A non-specialized bog is fairly simple to maintain. If you have created specialized bog garden, however, the maintenance is a bit more involved.

Once a non-specialized bog garden is established, it's not all that difficult to maintain. The very conditions that make bog gardens inhospitable to non-adapted plants also make the habitat undesirable for many of the weeds that plague "regular" gardens [source: Burrell]. Give your bog garden the once-over every so often and pluck any weed and tree seedlings before they get established. If freezing is a concern, consult with local professionals about how to winterize your bog garden. Watering is the biggest concern with bog maintenance, so make sure you have a watering plan in place.

A natural bog forms when sphagnum moss decays, slowly choking a low-lying, soggy area with acidic peat. These are the conditions you'll have to duplicate to create specialized bog garden at home. Because a specialized bog must be watered with distilled or rainwater, be sure to implement a watering design. The depth should be no more than 2 feet (.6096 meters), and it should be filled with a mixture of sand and peat moss. Ideally, you would and top a specialized bog with a layer of living sphagnum moss, which can be difficult to come by. Consult your local garden center for help.

Let your specialized bog settle for at least a month before planting. Failure to do so may damage new plants. You'll also want to wash the roots of your plants before you to install them. Once plants are in, you will begin an ongoing game of cat and mouse with your bog's pH. It must stay highly acidic in order for plants to thrive [source: Burrell].

Bogs are the perfect habitat for egg-laying insects. Some of these, such as butterflies, may be desirable. Others, such as mosquitoes, are a terrible nuisance. Fish in an adjacent pond may help to keep insect populations down. Insectivorous plants will also help rid the garden of pests. Mosquito dunks made with a microbial larvicide like Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis, a bacterium that occurs naturally in soil, are safe and work for up to thirty days [source: Environmental Protection Agency].

Still have questions about how bog gardens work? We answer a few of them in the next section.