Battling the Bog

Not a battle really, more a minor skirmish. I have just finished getting the rockery sorted and then went on to weed the back border between the garden and the woodland. I then thought that the next area to flower en masse for the next few months will be the bog garden at the right side of the circular lawn,  no time like the present, so I got on with it and made a start. I’ve done the easy bit, pulling out lots of big weeds and how satisfying it is to slide out huge plants of dock from the permantly wet soil!

This is the drier end of the bog where there is very much a contrast with the foliage of hostas, astilbes, and ferns.

The fern is Matteuccia struthiopteris and foxgloves seem to have decided that they like the extra moisture, so they are welcome to stay. Hostas are coming on nicely, hopefully the blackbirds and hedgehog are keeping the slugs away!

Further back the soil isn’t so wet and bluebells seem very happy. I’ve lots of astilbes by the bluebells, they should be in flower in a few weeks time.

This photo is starting to show the middle section. Lots of primulas are really happy here with their feet in water all winter when this section floods without fail! The primulas at the front are candelabra primulas, but further back where it isn’t so wet, Primula sieboldii, a woodland species, whose flowers look like snowflakes, seem to have settled in quite happily. There are more hostas in this section and Iris ensata are at the back.

This is where the big battle will be!  I’ve been told that this is Acorus gramineus Variegatus,  it has revelled in being flooded for months all through the winter. It has spread at an allarming rate so has to go as it is overpowering my astilbes, primulas and my very precious Rogersia! I am in the process of preserving  my swirling woodcarving which is usually on the plinth, hopefully it will soon be finished. The plant at the back is Euphorbia palustris which is a Euphorbia for marshland.

The view from the other side. The Euphorbia has very kindly split itself into 2 sections, one can be brought down to the other area that floods each winter, right over on the other side of the garden by the field.

We are now looking at the left hand end of the bog garden, the wettest part,  where there are lots of ferns, iris, astilbes, primroses, zantedeschia and hostas. There was another big clump of the Acorus at the bottom of the photo, you can still see a few bits sticking out. It was a real tug of war between the plant and me, I think I have almost won but there are some very tough roots to dig out, more a mat of rhizomes!

The iris are a combination of the wild Iris pseudacorus and its cousin Iris p. variegata. I have to keep the fern under control in this area as it tends to wander rather a lot into other precious plants.

I have to admit though, that at the moment my eye is always drawn to the combination of the rhododendron with bluebells, I think they look so lovely together and keep my interest going until all the candelabra primulas start flowering. Some are not far from it now, it won’t be long before there is lots of colour in this border that will keep going for a good few months.

I will try and get out with my big fork tomorrow, weather permitting, and make a start on the mat of very thick roots that must come out. Hopefully they won’t be as difficult as I anticipate otherwise I will have to hand over to the gardener who comes in the afternoon, I can see that good muscle power might be needed!

PS I have had a good go at trying to get rid of the Acorus, it is stronger than I am! My gardener says”no problem” he’ll have it out in no time!

PPS And he did too!

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8 Responses to Battling the Bog

  1. Denise says:

    I enjoyed your tour of the bog garden Pauline, it is lovely. I only have to think about light and shade in my garden lol. I can only agree with you, the bluebell and rhododendron combination is lovely. Nice to have that helping hand for the particularly difficult jobs. I don’t have a gardener…..but I do have a minidigger😊

    • Pauline says:

      It was good that the Acorus came out relatively easily Denise, I can now dig in a load of leafmould and then move some seedling primulas to the empty spaces. Is your minidigger your new puppy by any chance?!

  2. Jayne says:

    The bog is so interesting, most especially because of the primula. One of my former gardens had a stream where I tried over and over again to grow primula, but it wasn’t quite wet enough. Summers were hot and the stream all but dried up. A neighbor has a veritable River of primula along her stream. She is gone now, but I bet her primula continue…

    • Pauline says:

      Primulas seem to be rather fussy as to their moisture requirements Jayne. The ones that seem to enjoy being in water all winter when it floods are Primula japonica, but others seem to prefer it a bit drier so I plant them further back where they now seem happy. Your neighbours garden sounds delightful, I hope mine continue when I have eventually gone elsewhere!

  3. Frank says:

    I kept coming back to the mix of bluebells and rhododendron as well. All the sights in your garden look so wonderfully spring and it’s nice when plants settle into the spots they like rather than us struggling to find them a home.
    A friend gave me a large hunk of that same acorus and it’s currently divided into a few pots until it finds a home. Seeing how yours has grown I may consider giving a few away!

    • Pauline says:

      The Acorus has now all gone thank goodness! I still have some planted in dry soil and it has hardly moved at all in all these years, so don’t let yours anywhere near water, it should come with a government health warning! Plants are visibly growing day by day so soon everything should be filling out in the bog garden with lots of lush foliage.

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