In the bog garden, we have attempted to replicate the conditions found in northern sphagnum bogs. Bogs are very acidic, very wet, low in  nutrients and devoid of mineral soil. The top several inches of a bog is dominated by living sphagnum moss which is underlaid with a bed of soggy and partially decomposed, dead sphagnum, commonly referred to as peat. Sphagnum dominates the bog environment by holding the water table up and by driving the acidity down to near vinegar.
 We constructed the bog garden in 1998-99 by digging an irregular shallow pond about 10 feet wide by 45 feet long by 18 inches deep, and we lined this with a thick rubber pond liner. For the saturated peat layer we substituted 16 inches of fine sand. Then we laid down a 4 inch layer of living sphagnum, collected in a near-by bog. The garden is watered by  rainfall and, from May to November, by a constant drip piped in from our pure water spring. Over the years, the sphagnum has proliferated and has formed dense hummocks and wet hollows, very much like a natural bog.
We have introduced numerous acid/wet loving plants to the sphagnum over the years but many plants have arrived and naturalized on their own, presumably from seed that came in with the original sphagnum.  The sphagnum mat provides superb growing conditions for many carnivorous plants including sundews, butterworts and, most notably, pitcher plants of the genus Saracennia. Volunteer offspring from the original half dozen pitcher plants are now uncountable.  Many members of the heath family also thrive here, especially wild cranberries, bog laurel, Labrador tea and leather leaf.
In wet, peat and sand, just outside the bog liner, we have a vigorous colony of the climbing fern, Lygodium palmatum, historically known from Vermont but now extirpated.
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Sarracenia purpurea, fully open flowers showing pendulous petals
Sarracenia purpurea showing the downward-facing, insect-entrapping hairs, inside the hood of the pitcher
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Cady’s Falls Nursery
Don & Lela Avery
637 Duhamel Rd.  Morrisville, Vt. 05661
802-888-5559    [email protected]
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 Sarracenia hybrid volunteers in the bog garden
Rhododendron canadensis, our native Rhodora in May
Southern pitchers, Sarracenia flava,  a southern species blooming in late June
Andromeda polifolia ‘Blue Ice’ in May
Pitcher, sliced open length-wise, showing trapped insects, partially digested
Bog garden in June with Saracennia purpurea, red pitcher plants in bloom
Menyanthes trifoliata (bog bean) with white flowers,  aggressively colonizing a patch of open water in the bog
 Sarracenia purpurea showing the backs of the dark red sepals
 Our native Kalmia angustifolia
Saracennia purpurea after the petals have fallen
Saracennia purpurea, new pitchers emerging among the old tattered ones, in June
Utriculaia macrorhiza, badderwort, the most recent carnivorous, spontaneous arrival in the bog pond
Sarracenia purpurea forma heterophylla, the rare, pure green form of the species
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