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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