Walls make the spot a destination
River rocks offer a place to put your feet when stepping into the bog for occasional gardening chores.
Photo/Illustration: Danielle Sherry
Many gardeners out there have faced the same challenge that I faced with my mucky spot. You may not have a large stone wall to work with but a shallow depression in the yard or a dip at the bottom of an elevated spot. Any place where water does not have a proper channel in which to flow and drain can become a muddy, soft spot and, in turn, a delightful bog garden. But the first step to take before filling the space with plants is to build a wall or two to make the spot a destination.
Walls in a garden clearly define a particular space. They can simultaneously create a sense of mystery and privacy. But they are exceptionally important in a bog garden because they make you ask, “What’s over there?” instead of saying, “What’s that muddy spot?” A wall is also a four-season focal point, which is essential because not many evergreens tolerate wet feet, with the exception of hemlock (Tsuga spp. and cvs., USDA Hardiness Zones 3–9). Walls also create microclimates by blocking winter winds and by reflecting and holding in heat. This enables you to use plants in your bog garden that ordinarily might not be hardy in your zone.