My bog plants

Many of you seemed interested in the half barrel bog that I posted a picture of in my introduction post so I thought I would share some more. I will try and post more pictures throughout the year whenever something is blooming or looking interesting. I will post pictures of the carnivorous plants in the bog in the CP photos section later. I plan on making a new half barrel and maybe some bog troughs soon so I will probably be posting some pictures of how I go about it. The plants I grow were from seed, cuttings, bought at a nursery or occasionally salvaged from road construction. If you plan on making something similar please do not wild collect whole plants or damage in any way the fragile ecosystems in which they grow. I am propagating many of the plants I will be posting and hope to have enough at some point to share if anyone is interested.

Kalmia microphylla. Note the catapult like stamens ready to spring out to dust pollinators.
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Dodecatheon jeffreyi (Primula jeffreyi) first bloom of the year.
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Andromeda polifolia
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One of my bogs as it looks today. Around 7 years from when I started it.
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H2O

Administrator
Staff member
I think this is what every west coast grower strives to have their bogs look like. Mine didn’t like this past winter and it looks like my jeffryi didn’t make it. I also have some Ontario stuff in my bogs so it maybe doesn’t count as a west coast bog haha
 
I think this is what every west coast grower strives to have their bogs look like. Mine didn’t like this past winter and it looks like my jeffryi didn’t make it. I also have some Ontario stuff in my bogs so it maybe doesn’t count as a west coast bog haha
One of my next bog projects is definitely going to be not so west coast specific. I am going to try growing Cypripedium parviflorum and Lobelia cardinalis in sphagnum. I have not heard of anyone trying but I think it might be possible. Just need to hit up Fraser's thimble for those at some point when I can justify spending the specialty plant premium. Gotta build a S. purperea focused mini bog at some point too.
 
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H2O

Administrator
Staff member
I just checked my large bog and the jefferyi is still alive! But no flowers this year.

Growing up in Ontario I do like many of their bog species, if you do a general bog, I have loads of Pogonia ophioglossoides and it’s a great species for Sphagnum bogs.

I would suggest trying Cypripedium reginae over C. parviflorum. C. reginae is naturally associated with Sphagnum and bogs back in Ontario and are often found on the perimeter of S. purpurea bogs! As where C. parviflorum prefers alkaline and well drained soil. One of the more interesting finds I saw back in Grey County Ontario were hundreds of C. acaule growing in a Sphagnum bog, but they ONLY grew within a foot of the base of trees in the hummocks of moss. So they were elevated above the water and C. acaule was loving the acid pH!
 
Great to hear that your jeffreyi made it! Mine don't flower every year either. Thanks for the great suggestions of sphagnum friendly orchids. I will definitely be looking to get some P. ophioglossoides , C. reginae and C. acaule to try. I was thinking parvifolium mostly because I have actually seen those in the wild and there is something special about growing plants that you can connect to a place you have seen. I have found them growing in peat in a fen with conditions that were bog like but you are right that the acidity associated with sphagnum peat is probably not going to work for parviflorum. Maybe a calcaerous fen container would work. There are so many other interesting plants associated with fens too.
 

stevebradford

Carnivorous Plant Addict
One of my bogs as it looks today. Around 7 years from when I started it.View attachment 5910
After 7 years I assume the peat you started with has decomposed/acidity has washed away. Is there anything you do to keep the acidity up? Is the dead moss on the bottom of the moss mat enough like a real bog? Your obviously not repotting and It looks awesome!

Thanks.
 
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Peat takes such a long time to decompose in the low oxygen low pH conditions of bogs that any decomposition that did happen would help to maintain the acidity. It decomposes so slowly in fact that the average 1mm per year of peat accumulation outpaces it (in bogs that are actively creating peat which not all of them are) The sphagnum itself also lowers the pH through cation exchange where it absorbs base cations and releases hydrogen ions that help to acidify the peat. I'm not totally sure I am recreating actual bog conditions in miniature but so far it seems to be working. I hope to keep it going as long as I can and am excited to see what happens over the next years.
 
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After 7 years I assume the peat you started with has decomposed/acidity has washed away. Is there anything you do to keep the acidity up? Is the dead moss on the bottom of the moss mat enough like a real bog? Your obviously not repotting and It looks awesome!

Thanks.
Oops I meant to post what I wrote above as a reply to you
 

steve booth

Seedling
The Sphagnum does increase the acidity by the production of hydrogen ions, however if you have no Sphagnum or in your case if the peat is 'exhausted' and reduced to a fine (ish) powder, as the peat degenerates and releases nutrientsas acidity drops, what you can do is what I do to reinvigorate it as its not just acidity that counts. Test the peat with a PH meter and add sulphur chips, about an ounce to the square yard for every drop of 1 on PH that you need and dig in either pine needles, pine wood chips, perlite and some new peat if you need to. The bulky materials reintroduce air/oxygen pockets into the medium, the sulphur and pine needles add acidity (and tannins from the needles) the sulphur working slower than you might think as it relies on warmth and bacteria. The bog is then reinvigorated the bulky materials once again adding oxygen and slowly degenerating adding nutrients as it does so, its not as good as new peat, but good enough if you aren't growing specimen plants.
Cheers
Steve
 
The Sphagnum does increase the acidity by the production of hydrogen ions, however if you have no Sphagnum or in your case if the peat is 'exhausted' and reduced to a fine (ish) powder, as the peat degenerates and releases nutrientsas acidity drops, what you can do is what I do to reinvigorate it as its not just acidity that counts. Test the peat with a PH meter and add sulphur chips, about an ounce to the square yard for every drop of 1 on PH that you need and dig in either pine needles, pine wood chips, perlite and some new peat if you need to. The bulky materials reintroduce air/oxygen pockets into the medium, the sulphur and pine needles add acidity (and tannins from the needles) the sulphur working slower than you might think as it relies on warmth and bacteria. The bog is then reinvigorated the bulky materials once again adding oxygen and slowly degenerating adding nutrients as it does so, its not as good as new peat, but good enough if you aren't growing specimen plants.
Cheers
Steve
Thanks lots for your advice! I will pick up a ph meter. If at some point it looks like the plants in my half barrels are not getting the acidity or nutrients they need what you have shared will definitely be what I do.
 
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