Planting advice for a Wet Garden – do you have a soggy bottom?
Good garden design should always focus on ‘working with’ rather than imposing on nature. If the ground in the garden drains poorly and stays waterlogged, identify the cause; before you start planting.
Is it due to natural causes, low-lying ground, a high water table or the proximity of an underground spring for example?
Or is it due to poor drainage, or is it caused by surface runoff collecting in an area?
There are 2 easy solutions here, firstly choose only plants that will thrive in boggy ground as shown below, and there are loads more to choose from. or build raised beds and plant into those – this will prevent the plant roots from rotting off in the wet soil.
Drainage can be improved by adding grit to the bottom of planting holes. Also, add a medium to the soil that will hold it more open. For example, a fibrous ground conditioner dug well into the soil will allow the water to freely drain through to the subsoil underneath.
Drainage can also be improved by planting plants that suck up a lot of water too. Large shrubs and small trees will help improve waterlogging. Incidentally, with some shrubs and trees such as willow be careful where you plant. Willow roots seek out water voraciously and can travel many metres to find it. You should not plant a Willow tree closer than 100 ft (30m) from your house. Willow roots can break through drain pipes or burrow under foundations.
If in doubt visit an Arboretum and get specialist tree advice if you need to plant near your house.
Once again, water runoff is not a problem unless it cannot drain away quickly, so in this case, installing soak-away drains (essentially gravel-filled holes) or underground drainage pipes that carry the water away elsewhere should resolve the problem permanently, a cheaper solution, however, would be to use raised beds and or pots to lift the planting away from the standing water.
So there you have it, I hope this helps with some of the issues in planting a wet garden, but if you have any queries; drop me an email