Create a planting area near the pond to stay wet or damp:
Build a ‘bog garden’ or ‘stream edge’ to the pond or moving water area that will act as an extended habitat for wildlife to keep them protected. It will also give you a visual backdrop to your water area.
If this area can maintain damp conditions then it imitates the edge of natural water that gets progressively drier as you move away from the water source and replicates the emergence zone that amphibians use as they enter and leave the pond at various stages of their lifecycle.
Method of ‘bog garden’ construction:
1. You can create an area that can be kept either moist or permanently wet.
Dig out 2’ of soil in a straight sided shape and line the hole with cheap lining material like builders damp proof membrane.
2. Add 3” depth of gravel to the base for drainage and then puncture the membrane with a fork.
The amount of wetness you keep within this structure can be controlled by the number or size of the punctures you make.
Check which plants you intend to plant in this area before you puncture the liner. More holes will make it better drained and planting will be moist plants and fewer holes will retain more water and require plants.
3. Refill the lined hole with top soil and humus rich compost and cut the liner off at the top of the hole so the area can blend into the rest of the garden.
If the area is to remain permanently wet with shelf planted in it then multi purpose compost should not be used as it contains peat.
4. The finishing edge of the prepared planting area is vital to disguise the detail of the work you have done. You want it to look natural so hide the edges of the liner with rocks or logs. Although this ‘bog garden’ area appears to meet the water area next to it they are in fact both enclosed in their own separate linered sections. The water from the pond or stream does not travel to the soil area but is kept within its own liner.
The historic method of allowing the water to overflow to water the ‘bog garden’ does not work well and should be avoided. The pond is fullest in Winter when it rains but the ‘bog area’ is also wet from Winter rain and does not need to be flooded further at that time of year. The ‘bog garden’ needs extra water in the summer when the plants are growing but this will not be available from the pond as this will be evaporating in the warmer weather and so not overflowing.
5. The area for planting can be kept as wet as you need by watering from a porous or leaky hosepipe that has a stopper at one end so that it will constantly drip when attached to a tap or water butt and dampen the soil at root level as required. Using a hose and sprayer will often send water over the leaves of the plants that will then not reach the roots.
Leaky hose is a product made from recycled car tyres that leaks along its length under low pressure. It is better than a hosepipe with holes in it as they soon become clogged up with soil and get block.
This ‘bog garden’ will provide protection for wildlife species in the emergence zone as they leave the pond and become vulnerable to predators and you will find that by encouraging frogs to the area they will protect Hosta and Ligularia species often eaten by slugs.