A bog garden employs permanently moist (but not waterlogged) soil to create a habitat for plants and creatures which thrive in such conditions. It may exploit existing poor drainage in the garden, or it may be artificially created using pond liners or other materials to trap water in the area. Any such structure must allow a small amount of seepage to prevent the water stagnating. For instance, a pond liner must be pierced a few times. Typically a bog garden consists of a shallow area adjoining a pond or other water feature, but care must be taken to prevent water draining from a higher to a lower level. The minimum sustainable depth is 40–45 cm (16–18 in). Good drainage is provided by gravel placed over the liner, and the bog can be kept watered by using a perforated hose below the surface.
Creating a bog garden in your landscape is an enjoyable project that allows you to experiment with different plant species. So exactly what is a bog garden anyway? Bog gardens exist in nature in low-lying areas, or around ponds, lakes or streams. Bog garden plants love overly moist soil, which is waterlogged, but not standing. These marshy gardens make a lovely attraction in any landscape and can quickly turn an unused, water-logged spot in the yard into a wonderful scenic attraction.
Having a waterlogged or boggy bit of garden is not always inspiring and the immediate impulse may be to install drainage, but by working with nature it is possible to provide another really valuable habitat in your garden.
Do you have a spot in your yard which you despair of because it is poorly-drained and consistently moist? Why not consider turning a liability into an asset by creating an intentional wetland?
If you enjoy the antics of hummingbirds, be sure to include a few Baja red fairy dusters in your garden. Their bright red, tufted flowers provide year around color and nectar, although the showiest displays are from spring through fall. Baja red fairy duster has ferny green foliage, and an open irregular form that lends itself well to natural landscapes. Mature plants might reach a size of 4 to 6 feet tall and wide. Baja red fairy duster can be used in full sun or part shade, and is tolerant of most soil types. Temperatures below 20° F can cause some twig damage. Any shaping or pruning should be done in the late spring,but be careful not to overdue it, as heavy pruning will inhibit flower production!
Baja fairy duster (Calliandra californica) is a must have for the desert garden. There is so much to love about this shrub.
Welcome to Ramblings From a Desert Garden…
Calliandra californica (Baja fairy duster), is an evergreen, woody shrub which is native to Baja California, Mexico. In Spanish, the plant is also known vernacularly as tabardillo, zapotillo or chuparosa. The flowers, which appear in early summer, have clusters of red stamens. The shrub is usually between 0.6 and 1.8 metres in height and has bipinnate leaves. The leaves have been described as “fern-like.” Leaves close at night time.
C. californica is cold tolerant to temperatures of 22 degrees Fahrenheit, though its roots will tolerate temperatures as low as five degrees Fahrenheit. It grows best in full sun. C. californica is very drought tolerant, needing only 10 inches of water every year. However, additional watering will encourage C. californica to bloom through summer and again in the fall.
Propagation of C. californica is done through “acid scarification” or vegetative cutting. Seed pods from this plant look like “snow peas” and when ripe, they explode. The pods are flat and about 2 inches long. After ejecting seeds, the curled open pods remain attached to the plant for some time.
C. californica attracts both bees and hummingbirds.
Along with many other legumes and leadworts (Plumbago), it is a host plant for the Marine Blue caterpillar (Leptotes marina).
In landscaping, it is suggested that C. californica is used in borders or foreground plantings, as an island accent or even in containers.
As a member of the pea family, Baja fairy duster fertilizes itself, so no fertilizer or soil amendments are needed for this relatively fuss-free shrub.
Missing the heavenly fragrance of hyacinths or the brilliant hue of tulips in your garden? Even if you didn’t have time to plant bulbs last fall, you can still create pots of your favorite spring bulbs in an afternoon.
So, even if last fall’s bulb-planting intentions fell to the bottom of your to-do list, a container garden is only a day away!
Many nurseries and garden centers recognize that you often either don’t have the time to plant bulbs in the fall, or you might not have enough space in your garden to include them. To help you out, they offer a timely solution in the form of potted bulbs that you can take home and make your own.
Garden with cold frames. Providing a warm and protected space in your garden for spring seeds will allow you to get a head start on your gardening season. Cold frames, made of lumber or hay bales and old windows or glass shower doors, are the perfect way to control the climate in your nursery beds.
Make Your Own Coldframe
A coldframe is one of the easiest ways to extend your growing and harvest season.
A coldframe—simply an enclosed area with a clear top to let in sunlight—is one of the easiest ways to extend your growing and harvest season. All you need are a few basic supplies and your imagination.
Here’s what to do.
Fall-planted bulbs produce the first blooms of next year’s season. The bulbs spend the winter making roots and come up early in the spring.
- In the fall, you’ll find bulbs to purchase everywhere! Make sure you buy your bulbs from a reputable nursery, garden center, or catalog. Second-rate bulbs product second-rate flowers or don’t sprout at all.
- Plant anytime before the ground freezes. In the lower South, where you may not have hard freeze, early November is a good time to plant.
- See the chart below for type of bulbs by hardiness zone. In the warmer South, note that some bulbs need to be treated as annuals instead of perennials (e.g., tulips); they’ll bloom once and then they’re done. Still, they are a beautiful sight to behold and worth it! Other bulbs (e.g., daffodils) will act as perennials and come up year after year.
- For inspiration, visit our Flower Guides which include many common bulbs.
- Ideally, plant your bulbs soon after you purchase them.
- Select a site with lots of sun and well-drained soil. Work a few inches of compost in the soil.
- Plant bulbs generously in case some do not sprout. And plant them in random order and spacing for a more natural appearance. If you love groves of daffodils and blanketed landscapes of tulips, be prepared to buy and plant a large quantity of bulbs!
- In general, plant bulbs at a depth of three times the width of the bulb.
- After planting, apply fertilizer low in nitrogen, such as a 9-6-6 formulation. If your soil’s sandy, plant bulbs slightly deeper; in clay soils, slightly shallower.
- Water well after planting. Apply mulch to keep the weeds down and hold in moisture.
- Do you have voles or chipmunks? Consider planting your bulbs in a “cage” fashioned with chicken wire.
Claytonia virginica (L.), the Eastern spring beauty, Virginia spring beauty, or fairy spud, is an herbaceous perennial in the family Portulacaceae. Its native range is Eastern North America. Its scientific name honors Colonial Virginia botanist John Clayton (1694–1773).
Spring beauty is found in the Eastern temperate deciduous forest of North America. It is noted for its abundance throughout many parts of its range, especially in forests. The plant can be found throughout many different habitat types including lawns, city parks, forests, roadsides, wetlands, bluffs, and ravines.
This plant has been used medicinally by the Iroquois, who would give a cold infusion or decoction of the powdered roots to children suffering from convulsions. They would also eat the raw roots, believing that they permanently prevented conception. They would also eat the roots as food, as would the Algonquin people, who cooked them like potatoes. Spring beauty corms along with the entire above ground portion of the plant are safe for human consumption.
Our most widely distributed early spring flower. Flower stalks bear several flowers branching from the main stem; flowers with 2 sepals that fall off as the flower opens; 5 petals, white (sometimes pink) with distinct pink veining; 5 pink stamens. Blooms February–May. Leaves 1 or 2 basal and 1 opposite pair on stems, narrow, lanceolate, tapering to a sessile base, dark green, sometimes purplish, fleshy. Root a rounded corm.
Height: about 5 inches during flowering; about twice that tall later.
Habitat and conservation:
Found, often in abundance, in open woods, fields, valleys, suburban lawns, and sometimes rocky ledges. This species is also called the Virginia spring beauty, picking up on the scientific name, as well as “fairy spud,” for the edible corms, which resemble tiny potatoes.
Distribution in Missouri:
This well-named plant provides a bounty of beauty in the woods as well as in open areas and yards. The potato-like corms (“fairy spuds”) and the leaves are edible, and naturally Native Americans knew this well before today’s wild-foods enthusiasts.
This and other tender plants that emerge in early spring provide a welcome dietary boost for many animals, from insects to birds to mammals. Other plants in the purslane family include the garden favorite “moss rose,” and the bitterroot flower of the Rocky Mountains.
Cultivation: The preference is dappled sunlight during the spring, moist to slightly dry conditions, and a rich loamy soil with abundant organic matter. This wildflower will adapt to semi-shaded areas of lawns if mowing is delayed during the spring. Both the flowers and foliage fade away by mid-summer. The easy way to start plants is by obtaining their corms, although these are expensive to buy from nurseries.
Range & Habitat: The native Spring Beauty is a common wildflower that occurs in every county of Illinois (see Distribution Map). Habitats include moist to dry deciduous woodlands, savannas, thinly wooded bluffs, city parks, old cemeteries, and lawns (particularly near trees). Less often, this species is found in mesic prairies, but it is primarily a woodland plant. Spring Beauty can survive more environmental degradation than most spring-blooming woodland species, including occasional grazing by cattle and partial clearing of trees. This is one reason why it is still common.
The Spring Beauty, also Springbeauty, is a longtime standard for foragers. They are abundant in some areas, rare in others. Thus forage with some local consideration. True to its name the attractive wild flower is a sign of spring and easy to recognize from other spring blossoms. The white to pink petals have pink stripes, sometimes pale, sometimes bright, but pink stripes nonetheless. Each blossom also only has two sepals (leaves right under the blossom.) Lower leaves are strap-like varying in size and width. The plant grows small roots that remind people of tiny potatoes, hence the nickname “Fairy Spuds.” At least one botanist said you can eat them “but their small size makes this rather impractical.” Famous forager Euell Gibbons clearly would disagree.
Planting butterfly and hummingbird wildflower gardens is a great way to embrace a current cultural shift happening all over the world.