2021 spring wildlife pond project # 2 : Subsoil shelf and early planting. Bog garden creation.

3 months have swept by and things have moved along nicely.

I now have a fully filled pond with a subsoil shelf at between 5-10cm and a stone and soil lined “well” 60cm deep. I’ve put in 4 species of plants so far: water spearmint (mentha cervina) on the shallow shelf (white, 3 plants), iris laevigata (white, 3 plants) in the shallows (15cm), nuphar japonica a small specialised water lily in the middle depths (yellow flower, 2 plants), and my pride and joy, nymphaea ellisiana, a beautiful water lily with reddish variegation on the leaves and later, a small pink flower. This is at 50% of its final depth currently and due to descend fully in a week. I have just ordered a few more plants and will be planting again next week. These include 2 Reed varieties, and several bog garden plants of which some will also be planted as pond marginals on the subsoil shelf at 5-10cm. Can’t wait! More on these later.

I have sowed my south facing banks of red subsoil with a wildflower seed mix, just beginning to germinate after about 2 weeks, held back by lots of cold nights, with no prospect of them ending as of April 21st . The flip side has been sunshine day after day!

Here is a sequence of pictures, including the start of the bog garden, on which, more later.

In brief the bog garden has a single lining of offcuts from the pond liner which I’ve punctured with the garden fork. I’ve made it 2 feet deep at the far end (where a Gunnera will be going) and tapering to 6 inches at the shallow end. I’ve buried a perforated hose and protected this with rubble and left over pebbles from the pond “beach”. I dug in 3 bags of “horse compost” to enrich the soil and returned all the removed soil before soaking the soil via the buried hose. If the pond gets overfilled I’ve fixed an overflow area under the pebble beach which will allow drainage into the bog garden. No sign of that happening after nearly a month without rain. So far I have an iris and an acanthus (bear’s breech) and more to come including cuckoo flower I’m growing from seed.

I’m trying my best to be logical and artistic in my choice of plants and the planting layout. I’ll write a bit more about that in a separate post.

Thanks for your attention and feel free to send me any queries; I’d be delighted to help others undertaking a similar project.