Garden Diary - July 2012

Wednesday, 25 July 2012
Build-a-Bog at Aquascapes

As well as their focus on whoesale production and sale of aquatic and wetland plants, Aquascapes Unlimited offers a few workshops and events. With advance notice, they will even schedule one for different groups such as our Tohickon Garden Club. Following our scheduled lecture and tour, about half of our group had signed up for a build-a-bog workshop, while the rest of us watched in fascination. This was a little more involved than the recent Martha Stewart Living magazine article where you just plop a water hyacinth or water lettuce in a water-filled container, but not by much.

Randy had everything set up befor we arrived - pots, liners, potting mix ingredients and mixing tubs.
And the plants. This is a great deal because each participant gets three sarracenia, two sundews,
a Venus fly trap, a ladies tress orchid, and a couple of other bog plants. Definately an excellent value.

The bog pot must have a drainage hole. The liner, remarkable enough as Randy told us,
is easily sized if - for a bowl - you trace around the rim. Doesn't work for a standard pot
though. Push the liner down into the bowl while trying to keep the extra material even.

Bog plants want low pH, good drainage yet water retentive potting mix. Here we're using
equal parts dampened sphagnum moss and perlite, with a handful each of charcoal
and long fiber sphagnum moss. Pick out any woody bits from the latter, then mix well.

Fill the bowl, making sure that in the beginning you keep the potting mix inside the liner
and not allowing any to get between the liner and the side of the build-a-bog bowl.

Plants lined up, cafeteria style. Each bog builder received one of each and their labels.

Where to plant this? Well, it depends. Do you want a bowl planted to look well from
one particular viewpoint - tallest plants go in back. Another choice is tallest to the center.

Interestingly enough, even with identical bowls and the same plant options each one was unique.

The final touch. Randy recommends topping the bowl with long fiber sphagnum to disguise the perlite.

A bog in a bowl. Keep in sunlight. Keep wet, using distilled water, water from an air conditioner or
dehumidifier. Municipal water has chlorine, well water, even bottled water is often higher in minerals
than these plants tolerate. Winter in a cold garage, just above freezing. And enjoy for several years.

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