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Carnivorous Bog Garden

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Project by syble posted 01-25-2008 09:23 AM 7450 views 1 time favorited 21 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This was my project for June of 2007? Technically we got started on it in the late summer of 06, but only got half way through. When I designed this project, I had in mind functionality not so much beauty. I wanted it easy to weed, easy viewing and photographing, and for future hybridizing efforts I wanted all plants easily accessable from the outside so the flowers can be hand pollinated. It’s located on the side of my main garden, betwwen the berry patches and the barn. I’ll have to go out and get some actual measurements, but it’s got to be around 15’ long and 4-5’ wide, and it’s about 2-3’ deep. I’ve learned a few things now that it’s been in operation for nearly a year, bu I’ll go over that later.

Back to the construcion. It was fiarly basic, chissle out my desired sized pit out of hard amherstburg blue and yellow cly (that hasn’t seen rain for most of the summer), I made it slightly deeper on the one end. Then we lined it with some heavy duty pond liner. Next step was to bring in some river rock and pit about a 4-6” layer (depending on grade). Thats where it ended till 2007 came along as i was wanting to set up a water circulation thing that was soley solar. I decided in 07 that i would press on and deal with that later, so for slightly easy access I laid a length of 6” Big-O from one end to the other right at liner level. Next it all got covered in a layer of geotextiles (i’m sure landscape fabric or something simular would work if you could get it big enough, but we had this left over from an errosion project at the back of the feild where we built a gabian wall). Once all that was done, it was time for the soil. Carnivorous plants come from sphagnum bogs, they like very acid soil, that is neutrient poor. A standard CP mix is 50/50 peat/sand or pearlite. I use a more peaty mix just because i want it to retain more water. I was going to use pearlite because up to this point I had not found a safe source of NON MINERAL sand, but didn’t want the green snow effect on top so the top 4” was pure peat till later in the year when i found silica sand. I think i used 14 big compressed bales of peat for the bog. Each one had to be completely loaked and worked over good before it was able to go into the bog, as you can imagine, this took quite a bit of time (most of a day if i can rememebr right!). I hand pressed this down some once it was all in and stacked it kind of tall. Once we had a good rainstorm to push everything down deep, if was finally time to plant!!! Most plants were comming from a dorment stage in the fridge, but a selection of adult pitchers were comming from my growstand and were in 4” pots already. I had no where for such a large asortment of full sized pitchers to harden up to the sun, so most ended up getting sun burnt :( but all the seedling plants did get aclimized, do sunburns for them.

I tried to orginize the bog based on species, (there are 8 species and a bunch of subspecies of pitcher plants) I figured this would be my best bet for keeping track of the plants. So I started with fubra at the deepend.
Rubra ssp. alabamensis
S. rubra ssp.alabamensis
The roubra group is an adorable set, they tend to be smaller in stature, but have great varriety in colour high pitcher density (more pitchers per growth point and more point then an average plant), and as an added bonus, the bright red flowers are lovely scented, best described as cherry kool aide. I keep all of the subspecies and several forms.
rubra
rubra of an unidentified form with great colour

Next set was the flava group. Depending on who you follow, there about 6 varieties, I choose to follow that they are varieties and not forms, there is quite some debate in this respect. I have finally managed to secure all 6 varieties. Flavas have big bright yellow flowers but they are a bit musky in smell. Best pitchers are produced in the late spring and early summer.
flava var. ornata
S. flava var. ornata – one of my favourite plants!
flava var. cuprea
S. flava var. cuprea
Next is my lone plant of psittaceina. Its a very odd shapped pitcher plant, only suited to catching small insects, but brightly coloured. It’s been known to make good crosses, adding hardiness and colour, but also adding some odd shapes. One of the red flowering pitchers.
psittacenia
-S. psittacenia
I keep My purpureas through out the bog, but the ssp. venosas are nearest to the psittacenia. This is a nother short or stature plant, but by far the widest ranging pitcher in the worls. with the species being as far north as thunder bay and as south as the florida panhandle. It’s actually New Foundlands provincial flower! I grow the 2 subspecies (ssp. purpurea(northern) and ssp. venosa(southern), aswell as any forms I can get my hands on!
purpurea ssp. purpurea f. heterophylla
S. purpurea ssp. purpurea F. heterophylla – completely lacks normal red pigment, a flourescent green
typical purp
S. purpurea ssp. purpurea – typical plant, smooth hood
purpurea ssp. venosa
-S. purpurea ssp. venosa – notice the oversized and ruffly hood?
Centered in the bog is the colourful leucophyllas which I find to be the most attractive hands down. These are classed with flavas and alatas as being some of the larger pitchers, there is nothing more traffic stopping then a mature leuco pitcher in the height of fall. To contrast with the brilliant whit pitchers, flowers are bright red. Best pitchers are in the late summer to fall. thers only one species but many forms, this is one of those plants I always try and get more of!
deer park
juvinile from deer park alabama, this is only a seedling from ‘06 I love the potential!
vigorous
vigorous form with better pitcher density
chipola river FL
After the colourful leucs comes alata, also called pale pitcher plant. This is another strong fall pitcher, with the largest pale yellow flowers. Also supposed to get some size once established. Looking forward to seeing them this summer as it was really beginning to take off late last year. They’re available in a varriety of patterns typically green or greenish yellow with various amounts of red veining, with some beter forms being red throated, or my personal favourite black tubes!
alata
S. alata typical
Next is oreophila, which looks simular to typical flava in manyways, but unique in its own right. I’m not overly fond of this species so far, but it is incredibly useful for crosses. Resulting offspring have increased vigour and are more cold tollerent. I plan to watch it a bit closer this season to truely evaluate it.
oreophila
S. oreophila
And last but by no means least is minor. This is a stand out pitcher with light windows and buttery yellow flowers. Most varrieties are 10-24” tall, but theres a giant form from okeefenoke swamp. Some have minimal or only trace amounts of red where as other have entirely red pitchers.
minor
S. minor
minor-red
S. Minor-red form

The hybrids
Through out the bog are various hybrids, crosses and cultivars, I’ll just highlight some of the best!
alatax minor
S. alata x minor
tarnok
S. leucophylla ‘Tarnok’ – not only dose it sport impressive pitchers it is double flowering
Dixie lace
S ‘Dixie Lace’
judith hindle
S ‘Judith Hindle’ early summer, fall below
judith hindle in fall
hummers hammerhead
S. ‘Hummers Hammerhead’
Mardi Gras
S. Mardi Gras

Theres such a varriety out there that I could go on forever, but I’ll try not to bore you guys. Atleast you can get an idea of whats out there to be chosen.
Thanks
sib ;)



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syble

126 posts in 3648 days

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21 comments so far

View GrandmaT's profile

GrandmaT

5389 posts in 3719 days
hardiness zone 9

posted 01-25-2008 09:48 AM

WOW … can’t wait to see pictures of the actual garden. Beautiful plants!!!

-- "A beautiful garden is a work of heart" --

View Greenthumb's profile

Greenthumb

2290 posts in 3661 days

posted 01-25-2008 10:52 AM

lovely

might I ask where you are located?

Where do you live?

-- just one more rock, and the garden is done ; )

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

14694 posts in 3841 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 01-25-2008 11:24 AM

oh how wonderful!!

yes, keep the pictures coming

-- - Debbie, SW Ontario Canada (USDA Hardiness Zone: 5a)

View syble's profile

syble

126 posts in 3648 days

posted 01-25-2008 01:13 PM

thanks everyone. I’m about to do a second block to hopefully bring this project to a close (with the hopes of uploading the construction photos when i get home). I’m in amherstburg, Ontario, just outside of windsor a bit. I keep all these plants outside and just mulch them in with a layer of pine needles because we don’t really have consistant snow cover or anything near it.
Thanks
Sib ;)

View GrandmaT's profile

GrandmaT

5389 posts in 3719 days
hardiness zone 9

posted 01-25-2008 02:15 PM

OUTSTANDING … Great pictures!!! I don’t think you could bore us with any of this. This is so out of my “box”; am finding all this very fascinating.

Again, this is what is so GREAT about this site … so much to learn (and appreciate) from one another.

-- "A beautiful garden is a work of heart" --

View syble's profile

syble

126 posts in 3648 days

posted 01-25-2008 02:24 PM

Exactly. The Pitcher plants are only one aspect of the bog also. Theres hardy sundews, venus flytraps, butterworts and various annual additions. These same plants can be added to a peaty raised shelf in a pond, Done in planters… lots of creative ways. And as a huge bonus they are natural insect controle, loving all our pesky insects. One of the best things is Watching all the butterflies that come to the bog for the moisture and neutrients all summer long, particularlly those hot sunny days.
Thanks
Sib ;)

View syble's profile

syble

126 posts in 3648 days

posted 01-25-2008 02:26 PM

Exactly. The Pitcher plants are only one aspect of the bog also. Theres hardy sundews, venus flytraps, butterworts and various annual additions. These same plants can be added to a peaty raised shelf in a pond, Done in planters… lots of creative ways. And as a huge bonus they are natural insect controle, loving all our pesky insects. One of the best things is Watching all the butterflies that come to the bog for the moisture and neutrients all summer long, particularlly those hot sunny days.
Thanks
Sib ;)

View XploreOrganics's profile

XploreOrganics

1393 posts in 3720 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 01-25-2008 04:59 PM

Your plants are beautiful…I Have a massive bog behind my house…Well where I live is all rock and bog :)

There are thousands of Sarracenia purpurea as well as Cypripedium acaule, Rubus chamaemorus L. Blue Flag Iris and lots more bog life.

-- Xploreorganics, 5b Canada, LFD 06-20 http://colorfulcanary.blogspot.com/

View syble's profile

syble

126 posts in 3648 days

posted 01-27-2008 08:55 AM

I’ve often thought about adding some other bog loving plants in there like orchids, but always worried they wouldn’t like my condidtions. Now that bog is nearly full (amazing what can happen in a year ;) ) I will probably build another of equal size almost a continuation. In there I will have a bit more space and my be able to try some other non CP companion plants.
Thanks
Sib ;) Edit on a side note I finally got home to upload the construction photos

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

14694 posts in 3841 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 01-27-2008 11:05 AM

that almost looks easy?

you probably answered this already, but I’m asking anyway… is this in a full sun area?

-- - Debbie, SW Ontario Canada (USDA Hardiness Zone: 5a)

View syble's profile

syble

126 posts in 3648 days

posted 01-27-2008 11:18 AM

It’s not that hard, no harder then any other proper gardening, just need to know the requirements. That is in a full sun area for sure! Pitchers love the sun, but they can handle a bit of shade.
Thanks
Sib ;)

View Greenthumb's profile

Greenthumb

2290 posts in 3661 days

posted 01-27-2008 02:37 PM

Amhertsburg….............the banana belt of Canada.I have a brother betwwen you and Lasalle. Nice spot

Would those plants survive in my neck of the woods. 1 hour due North of Toronto?

-- just one more rock, and the garden is done ; )

View syble's profile

syble

126 posts in 3648 days

posted 01-27-2008 06:56 PM

For sure some would, I know of a few people bog growing in st. catherines, and niagra falls area, and theres a guy much further north, although the location exscapes me! Biggest key is that you have more consistant snow cover then me. So the snow and mulching would work good together for strong insulation. Whats hard on the plants down here is our brutal freeze thaw cycles. Already had a doozy early to mid january and will likely have a few more in feb/march…and then a false spring…. theres the curse of being in the banana belt.
Thanks
sib ;)

View Greenthumb's profile

Greenthumb

2290 posts in 3661 days

posted 01-28-2008 08:12 AM

very interesting thread. I tried in vain, to convince my FIL that planting a bog, like yours, next to the pond, to act as a filtration system for the pond, would be the healthiest, least expensive in the long term, and prettiest way to ensure a healthy pond….................but what do I know?

Instead he put in a hoecky pocky pathetic looking fountain and once again it looks like pea soup. His artistic prowess stops at a circle and a square. Thus why I started my own ponds on my side of the Berlin wall. Maybe put in a bog this year?

I would love to see full pictures of the bog too

-- just one more rock, and the garden is done ; )

View syble's profile

syble

126 posts in 3648 days

posted 01-28-2008 09:16 AM

I should have some full pictures once spring hits (hopefully there will be lots of flowers too!). As you can probably see from the construction pics, it was build comepletely for functuality and not so much for looks. Not that it looks bad, it’s just a rectangle.

For filtering your pond, is it a fish pond? if so CPs might not be your best bet as they don’t appreciate nutrients. You can make a ledge of the ppond for cps, but to actually use them for filtering (I asume like a bio falls idea?) probably not the best method?
Thanks
sib ;)

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

14694 posts in 3841 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 01-28-2008 11:14 AM

TreeFarmer has a 2-stage pond and he doesn’t use any mechanical filtering system.

-- - Debbie, SW Ontario Canada (USDA Hardiness Zone: 5a)

View Eklectic's profile

Eklectic

1824 posts in 3641 days
hardiness zone 5a

posted 01-29-2008 01:04 PM

Well, you sure got me going. We have a big piece of land about (100’x100’) that is flooded until the end of June usually. Full of frogs, and tadpoles and mosquitoes and wild irises.
Last fall, I started building some low “islands” using the lasagna method and was wondering what to do with it all.
You sure got me thinking.

I love this site!!!

-- Eklectic, Follow my Bliss, South East Ontario 5a

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Eklectic

1824 posts in 3641 days
hardiness zone 5a

posted 01-29-2008 01:06 PM

Oops, I forgot.
You sure have put a lot of work in sharing all of this. It is very much appreciated!!!!

Thank You!!

-- Eklectic, Follow my Bliss, South East Ontario 5a

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

14694 posts in 3841 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 01-29-2008 03:32 PM

perhaps we need a blog on how to do the “make lasagna”—inquiring minds will want to know

-- - Debbie, SW Ontario Canada (USDA Hardiness Zone: 5a)

View jroot's profile

jroot

5121 posts in 3471 days
hardiness zone 5a

posted 07-22-2008 05:36 PM

Bog gardens are so much fun. I had one at the last home. Thanks for sharing.

-- jroot ....... Southern Ontario .......... grow zone 5A ...................."Gardening is an exercise in optimism." ....... . . Author Unknown

View rosewood513's profile

rosewood513

420 posts in 3191 days
hardiness zone 6b

posted 04-25-2009 05:27 PM

Thanks for the lovely pics, you did NOT bore us. I have always wanted to grow one of those, sadly I probably never will. So do a good job so those who can’t will enjoy yours.

-- If you always do what you always did, then you will always get what you always got!...Lanoka Harbor, NJ 6b

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