Marsh Gardening! A Perfect Solution for Swampy Soil
Marsh garden, also known as a bog garden, is a marsh area where the soil is swampy, and a shallow stream or trickle runs through it. The primary criterion for marsh garden is to keep it moist and in a swampy state. For this reason, marsh garden can be made at low lying site where surface drainage water will collect naturally in a sticky clay subsoil.
Steps for Developing a Marsh Garden:
- The area intended to be formed into marsh garden is dug up to a depth of 60 cm.
- A thin layer of clay, 10-12 cm deep, is placed at the bottom to form a base of the marsh garden.
- Then a 12 cm layer of rubble or large stones are placed over this to ensure that water in the marsh does not become stagnant.
- The rest of the hollow is filled with garden soil & compost in the proportion of 1:1 and the level is made up of surrounding land.
- All parts of marsh garden are made accessible by laying paths of rough stones or bricks, winding around the marsh and putting stepping stones over them.
- A plantation of marsh garden plants follows this.
Marsh Garden Plants:
A marsh garden can accommodate any moisture loving plant, those which are found commonly growing on the banks of streams or ponds. However, it must be noted that all marsh plants need water but in varying degrees. Accordingly marsh plants can be categorized into three broad groups.
Group I: This group belongs to plants which love 5-10 cm of standing water and termed as ‘swamp dwellers.’
Plants: Sweet flag (Vekhand), Bog Arum, Screwpine (Ketaki), Pink morning glory, Typha indicia, Cyperus sp.
Group II: This category includes plants which live on or little above waterline, with their roots standing in waterlogged soil.
Plants: Dwarf bamboo, Asplenium fern, Cotton grass, Osmunda (Royal fern), Giant cowslip, Canna indica.
Group III: This group consists of plants which grow above the saturated soil but near enough to send their roots in search of water.
Plants: Alocasia sp., Giant Reed, Daylilies, Filipendula, Cassia alata.
Planting Tips for Marsh Garden:
While planting, the main point one should bear in mind is not to overcrowd the bog.
It is better to plant one type of plant in a group of 3 to 6 allowing sufficient space in between before another group with different colour, texture, size and height is planted.
In a small area, it is advisable to create a greater variety by growing the dwarf marsh plants.
In a vast area, the vigorous growing ones should be used more freely, especially to create background effects.
Note: Although a pool is not essential for marsh garden, one of the effective ways of creating marsh is to incorporate a pool design into it. Marsh garden can be developed in the broad surrounding area around the pool.
Read More About Best Plants for Water Gardens.