Boggy Ground? Make the most of it!

Swamp Milkweed


Boggy Ground? Make the most of it!

Here in Northern Ireland I hear people moaning all of the time about not being able to grow this and that in boggy soil. I think they are missing out! Here are some of my favourite plants that really thrive in this unique part of the world.


For some spaces, yet more green just won’t do. Whites, pinks, and yellows are easily found in boggy areas. I like to plant for successional colour. These are my two favourite plants this year for a bit of colour:


Swamp Milkweed
Swamp Milkweed

Asclepias Incarnata aka Swamp Milkweed

This beautiful plant has groups of tiny pink/white flowers that drop like bunches of grapes and seem to float in the wind. I also like it because it’s a ‘go anywhere’ plant. Sandy soil, to moist areas, to bog-gardens, it is happy. You can plant it in full sun and it is fully hardy; plant one now! It flowers from July though to the end of September and can get to about 90cm high.

Marsh Marigold
Marsh Marigold

Caltha Palustris aka Marsh Marigold

The Caltha comes in a couple of different varieties. It is usually yellow, but can have the ‘fried egg’ look too. Varieties like Laeta will grow to around 10-20cm whereas Newlake Hybrids can reach 70cm. They all flower around March/April.

Green and spikey


If you are looking for green, I still like to look for something a little different. Some spikey green plants that are growing well for me this year are:

Palm Sedge
Palm Sedge

Carex Muskingumensis Oehme aka Palm Sedge

I love this one for the texture it brings to areas that could otherwise look a bit boring. As with many plants for boggy areas, they do look spectacular when the wind ruffles them. The Carex is claimed to attract birds, mammals, and amphibians. My garden is quite a haven for these animals anyway, but I guess more planting won’t hurt! The Carex grows well all around my garden – in both full-sun or partial shade. It’s also everygreen, so there is texture in my garden all year. It flowers from June to the end of August and gets to about 60cm.

Eriophorum Russeolum aka Golden Cotton Grass

I grow this one because I find it’s fluffy seed heads amusing! The thin and spikey leaves suddenly grow fluffy pets at about 40cm from June to August. They are just funny. I also grow them for their nitrate-removing properties.

Something a bit different

As I’m sure all of us gardeners are, I’m always on the look out for something a little different. One of the newest additions to my garden is:

Iris Ensata Blue Spritz

Now, don’t roll your eyes at me – this is really different and special! Forget the traditional-shaped Iris that your grandmother grew. It is new to the market and well worth the additional work to have this spectacular blue plant in your garden. If you are growing this as a marginal in an aquatic basket, you will need to lift in the Autumn and look after it over the winter. You will see the stunning flower show in June and July at a height of 60-90cm.

I hope that I have shown that there is some exciting gardening to be had even in the boggy areas of Northern Ireland. The variety of plant available goes on and on. The limit is your imagination!

Thanks to Peggy from Dungiven for inspiring us with what best to grow on boggy ground.

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