Wildlife Gardening

How Bog Gardens Add Nature Appeal

Bog gardens are an excellent addition to any garden especially if you are keen to increase your connection to nature.

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Yellow Iris

By Annette J Beveridge

If you are trying to make your garden more welcoming to nature, think about adding a bog garden. There are so many beautiful plants that thrive in bog gardens and you can make it both beautiful and dramatic. They are perfect for attracting bees, butterflies and other insects. If you have an existing damp area in the garden, this is ideal and if you have a pond, consider adding a bog garden as a feature at the side. They are easy to create and so worth the effort forming a connection between ecosystems.  Here is everything you need to know….

Planning and preparation

Before you rush out to create a bog garden, take a look around your garden first. Where is best to place it and what size will suit your needs? Soil type is also important. If you have clay soil, this will work well but if not, you can still create a wonderful bog garden by using a butyl liner. Just add in some top soil. Bog gardens can also be created by using large plastic plant pots so there are many options – large and small. Measure the required space with rope and check that it is level. Avoid anywhere with overhanging trees.  

Bog plants thrive in soil where there are high nutrients so ensure you have a good amount of organic matter.  Dig a hole approximately 12 inches deep and add a butyl liner. Make some drainage slits and then, replace the soil, mixing in organic matter as you do so. Remove any weeds that may be present. Water thoroughly with rainwater preferably. Note if you can only use tap water, it is important to let the water stand for a few days. Let the soil settle for a week prior to planting.


There are many plants suitable for bog gardens including:

  • Meadowsweet
  • Yellow iris
  • Caroline yellow-eyed grass
  • Marsh marigold
  • Snake’s head fritillary

Buy plants of varying sizes. Think tall plants for butterflies or damselflies and short plants for ground cover. Choosing plants that come into flower at various times of the year and this will help those all-important pollinators and you will also reap the benefits of an appealing area throughout.   

Always water plants in thoroughly with rainwater to help them become established. They prefer wet soil but drainage is important.

The best time to plan and create your bog garden is in the spring but always check the requirements for each plant – just because you like them does not mean they will thrive in your chosen spot. By considering all options, you will be able to have a colourful and beneficial feature in your garden.

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