Backyard Wetland - It's a Bog, A Quaking Bog, A Swamp, A Fen, A Marsh!

The University of Illinois Extension Service posted a cool article about how to use those last-to-dry spots in the yard.

Called Coles County Yard and Garden, the author wrote, " A bog tends to be waterlogged soil without any standing water (and therefore not a mosquito magnet).

A Quaking Bog is a floating mat of thickly woven mosses, rushes, and shrubs that forms across the surface of shallow ponds and may shimmy or shake when walked on.

A fen is an area of waterlogged soil that tends to be peaty and is fed by upwelling water. The difference between a bog and a fen is the water source and the acidity of the site. Bogs tend to be acidic; fens are more alkaline. Water flows into bogs solely through rainwater and run-off, while fens are also fed by groundwater.

A marsh has standing water – either temporary or permanent – and hosts vegetation such as cattails.

A swamp is a wetland area with trees.

Wetlands are one of the richest biological habitats on Earth. Unfortunately, for centuries we humans have viewed them as a physical constraint and have drained them for use by the ever-growing population.

The eradication of wetlands is a global phenomenon, primarily for agriculture. In addition, people mine bogs for peat for fuel and a soil conditioner. Recently, environmentalists recognize bogs for their role in regulating the global climate.

Bogs are unique communities that can be destroyed in a matter of days, but require hundreds of years to form naturally."

Click over to the link above for tips on building a bog.

Here are a few recommended bog/marsh plants
Plants for acidic bogs - There are many colorful varieties of Pitcher Plants (Sarracenia) which can live up to 50 years, hardy Sundews (Drosera), and Venus Flytrap (Dionaea).
For non-acidic bogs - Astilbe, Bamboo, Lady's Slipper Orchid, Day Lily, Siberian Iris, Creeping jenny, Rush, Royal Fern, Phlox, May apple, Solomon's Seal, Primrose, Great Bulrush, Golden Rod, Periwinkle, Trillium.

More plant ideas at

Also, at the bottom of the Coles County Yard and Garden newsetter page, there is a link to their other articles - lots to explore there.


Unknown said…
This makes me seriously homesick for anyplace besides a desert. One more vote for leaving Phoenix!
Unknown said…
This makes me homesick for anywhere that isn't a desert. One more vote for leaving Phoenix.
Molly Day said…
Hi Ronn -
We have a couple of low places on our 2 acres slice of the earth.

A few months ago we asked our neighbor who had a borrowed back hoe to dig one down a couple of feet.

I'm hoping for a frog-attracting spot if we get enough moisture.

You could always visit water gardens near you in the meantime.

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