When we moved here 25 yrs ago, I didn’t know much about gardening, it has been a very steep learning curve and I’m still learning. We discovered that part of the garden never dries out, even in the summer when we occasionally have a drought. I soon learnt from talking to people in the village, that the farmers field, that is now our garden, was very wet in one corner.The farmer wouldn’t risk his new tractor there, so out came the horse and plough instead. So many people told me to drain the land before planting, but I tend to take the easy way out. Thank goodness I bought Beth Chatto’s books about her garden, there was all the information I needed, how to plant a bog garden.
All the information I could ever want was there, which plants to buy for flowers and which plants to buy for foliage, then of course they have to be planted up to make an harmonious group! It appears that we have an underground stream in this part of the garden, so there is always moisture, but the water is passing through and therefore never becomes stagnant. All we had to do was add some compost to open the soil and since we planted it up, the plants have revelled in it.
I think my favourite foliage plant has to be the Rogersia, even though it is now changing its colour already, turning green. After that, it has to be the hostas, some of them are making sizeable clumps now and stand out from the divided foliage of the astilbes and the ferns.
The candelabra primulas are providing most of the colour at the moment, some have still to flower. A few of them need splitting already, so I can fill any gaps with them when they have finished flowering.
Primula Inverewe is one that I saw on holiday in Scotland, we couldn’t find one to buy at Inverewe Garden, but managed to find one in a Devon nursery up on Dartmoor! This one is now ready to be split, it is sterile so doesn’t set seed, so next years clump should be a nice size.
I have sown my own seed for a few years now and have some lovely colours emerging, I really like this peachy one. The yellow/orange flower at the back is Primula bulleyana and top left is a new flower of Zantedeschia aethiopica.
My camera doesn’t seem to like this magenta primula, Primula Millers Crimson, the colour never reproduces properly. My hosta behind has had a huge chunk taken out of a leaf, has the pheasant been around? I think I’ll have to move the hosta as its being swamped by primulas and it doesn’t have enough room to expand. In the background are the flowering stems of Euphorbia palustris, yes, there is a Euphorbia that likes damp soil!
I have grown quite a few of Primula Apple Blossom from seed and put them in the woodland, they have yet to flower.
Primula Postford White contrasts with the blue of Hosta Halcyon. This hosta is now a lovely huge clump, this used to be where the path came through the border, I decided to move the path as I didn’t want to disturb the hosta! Later, when the astilbes are flowering, they are joined by the hosta flowers.
Iris Sibirica forms nice verticals behind all the other flowers, I must get some more colours and plant them at the back of the bog.
I think the most beautiful flower in the bog at the moment, for its sheer classiness and understated beauty, is the Zantedeschia aethiopica which is just starting to open. It has architechturally beautiful leaves, they are quite huge, and the most gorgeously elegant, pristine white flowers. You might have guessed that I like it rather a lot!
There are lots more plants still to flower, the Astilbes to start with and Iris Ensata which flower in July. I have just bought a new pink ensata iris which can join the blue and white ones that I already have. Thanks must go to the undergardener for weeding 90% of this border while I was dealing with the makeover of the sunset border, there are only a few weeds for me to remove now.
If any of you have a piece of garden which is soggy, boggy all the time, do not despair, you never know,it could become the prettiest, most colourful part of your garden. It is just the matter of finding the right plants for it, there are so many plants that like their feet in permanently wet soil, the list is so long, I doubt if anyone has the room to plant them all !