safely in pots

Pitcher plants going crazy in the bog garden

Pitcher plants going crazy in the bog garden


The bog gar­dens have been look­ing really good this spring. Plants that I got as single-growth divi­sions are estab­lish­ing them­selves, and smaller seedlings are start­ing to approach their awk­ward but excit­ing teen years.

Magic Gopher Hole

Magic Gopher Hole

Com­pared to the rest of the garden–which this year has had the worst plague of gophers in recent memory–the bogs have grown up safe in their lit­tle green zones, insu­lated from the sub­ter­ranean hor­rors of the gar­den by four inches of con­crete. Appar­ently gophers aren’t great at chew­ing through four inches of con­crete. Who’d have thought.

Rather than drag you down the rab­bit gopher hole, let me show you some of this year’s suc­cesses in the bogs.

The bog by the upper waterfall pond

The bog by the upper water­fall pond

The plant­ing above the pond fea­tures mostly taller, green-tubed forms of car­niv­o­rous species like Sar­race­nia alata and flava. There’s isn’t easy access to this gar­den, so the tall, green plants read nicely from a dis­tance against the dark leaves behind them. This used to be a pond that leaked, but now filled with dirt and then plas­tic tubs buried up to their necks in the dirt and planted with the bog plants. The plants seem pretty happy.

The upper bog, closer up

The upper bog, closer up



Lower bog

Lower bog

Another failed pond mor­phed into this other bog, using the same plant­ing tech­niques as the upper pond bog. These plants share the same tub of grow­ing medium as five or six other plants. This bog you can walk right up to, so it fea­tures smaller grow­ing plants are almost eye level. This is where many of the small all-green plants go, along with species or hybrids that really need to be viewed up close to appre­ci­ate them.

Two clones of Sarracenia (courtii x Green Monster), Robert Co hybrids

Two clones of Sar­race­nia (cour­tii x Green Mon­ster), Robert Co hybrids



The bog bench

The bog bench

And then there’s this, the main grow­ing zone, a long seat­ing area that I built with an inte­grated wet bog. Basi­cally the bog is a long rec­tan­gle, built up with eight inch sides, and water­proofed with pond lin­ing. The plants each get their own pots and stand in a thumbnail’s depth of water.

This is where a lot of the big, splashy num­bers go. These are plants that look good from across the gar­den or bear inspec­tion from close-up while seated on the bench.

Up close and personal with Sarracenia flava var. ornata, Prince George County and Sarracenia excellens

Up close and per­sonal with Sar­race­nia flava var. ornata, Prince George County and Sar­race­nia excellens

Yah, it’s been a tough year, with life send­ing us net­tles and then gophers. But at least the plants in con­tain­ers are thriving.

7 thoughts on “safely in pots

  1. ricki

    I empathize with the gopher infes­ta­tion. It seems to come in waves, so we’re hop­ing it will begin to taper off soon. Your car­ni­vores are stunning!

  2. ryan

    The car­ni­vores are great. It seems like a pretty exten­sive col­lec­tion at this point. Too bad about the gophers. They’re really frus­trat­ing and make gar­den­ing no fun at all.

  3. Gayle Madwin

    Good luck with the gophers! But in the mean­time, the pitcher plants are fan­tas­tic. You’ve cer­tainly made the most of your con­tainer gardening.

  4. maggie

    Wow, James, what stun­ning pho­tos you take. Your bog areas are just beau­ti­ful and you cap­tured per­fectly the strange and ele­gant qual­i­ties of your car­niv­o­rous plants.

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