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Bog garden soil

What type of soil mix should I use when making a bog garden.  We put a 5 cm layer of pea gravel at the bottom, now we have to fill it up.  It is approx. 2 foot deep. Can we just use top soil, or mix it with gravel or leaf mould? Any suggestions please?



  • treehugger80treehugger80 Posts: 1,923

    what are you planning to grow in it? if its carnivorous plants then peat only, if anything else a good mix of peat free compost and top soil mix

  • Fishy65Fishy65 Posts: 2,275

    Hi GD, I just refilled with the topsoil that came out. But adding some homemade compost wouldn't do any harm certainly. What sort of plants are you planning to have? I've got meadow sweet, ragged robin, geum rivale, purple loosestrife and snakeshead fritillaries. Other plants have self seeded and are happy there depending on preferred conditions.

  • I am planning on planting a small Gunnera and Lychnis flos (white robin) if they are available. Perhaps some hostas and geums too treehugger & Fishy - thanks for your replies.

      We have almost filled up the bog hole with some decent top soil (the original soil that came out of the hole was old (probably over 100 years old with grit, stone, and not at all nice and totally compacted). I have some fairly new leaf mould and manure which I can incorporate if needed.

  • LiriodendronLiriodendron Posts: 8,300

    If your "small Gunnera" is a baby big Gunnera (G.manicata) you probably won't have room for anything else in your bog garden soon...

    Council workmen in the west of Ireland are having to spray huge swathes of naturalised Gunnera with roundup.  It escapes from gardens and shades out all the native vegetation.  Beautiful but HUGE!

    But if you have G.magellanica it only grows about 6ins tall.  image

    Since 2019 I've lived in east Clare, in the west of Ireland.
  • It is Gunnera Tinctoria that I have ordered Liri which is approx 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 metres across in 10 years.  I wanted a large statement plant and I think this fits the bill - however if we are still here in 10 years time and find it has outgrown the area we will have a rethink.  I should still be able to plant a few smaller plants within a metre or so away from the Gunnera - we have them growing wild in Guernsey on the damp areas of the cliffs - where streams flow. I did look at G. magellanica but decided that was too small compared to the size of the pond & bog garden.

  • LiriodendronLiriodendron Posts: 8,300

    You've obviously done your homework, GD.  image  Glad you've got the space.  It just annoys me when garden centres don't label these lovely little plants with the eventual size... like monkey puzzles, cute little trees at 2ft in the garden centre but not so cute when poking spiky branches through the bedroom window.  image

    Since 2019 I've lived in east Clare, in the west of Ireland.
  • Oh dear - are you talking from first hand experience Liri? We have a M.P. which took about 20 years to really get going due to the amount of shade surrounding it.  However it is now about 15 foot tall (35 yrs. old). But you are right - all these plants look interesting in their 7 or 9 inch pots but the eventual size can be enormous and that is hard to visualize. Often the plants will grow too big for the normal semi detached garden.

  • LiriodendronLiriodendron Posts: 8,300

    Too true, GD.  I've never had a monkey puzzle but a friend has a problem with her neighbour's tree, now overhanging her garden path.  She knows she's entitled to prune it back, but doesn't want to spoil the look of the tree...  They're magnificent trees when given enough room, but they're forest trees in their native habitat.

    I had a bit of a battle when I worked in a garden centre, labelling plants, with those in the hierarchy who thought I'd be damaging sales by writing on the information card how big certain trees would get, conifers in particular.  Also advising the minimum distance to plant a weeping willow from your house!

    Since 2019 I've lived in east Clare, in the west of Ireland.
  • How helpful you were to your customers Liri - giving useful advice to prevent expensive planting mistakes.  I am sure customers would return time and again if they were able to receive helpful information.  So often at our GC's there are just students or weekend kids serving - it is quite often difficult to find anyone "in the know".

    Our MP has quite a good deal of room, it is in the centre of a round lawn at the front of the house. I have just realized that we don't have any daytime pictures of it - only the Christmas ones - it is an easy tree to decorate (my daughter's idea - it is her Christening present from her Uncle - all of 35 years ago)!image

    Last edited: 20 April 2017 23:18:11

  • I forgot to add that the Gunnera Tinctoria is unavailable - so I am looking for something bold and striking for the Bog Garden - approx 1 - 2 metres wide and perhaps a metre tall.

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